Witney News - Top honours at awards evening

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Top honours at awards evening

West Oxfordshire District Council's Chairman's Award for 2008 has been made posthumously to Mr Tony Cripps in recognition of his Outstanding Achievement for Chipping Norton Rugby Club.

The award was presented to his wife Kaye at the Council's Annual Awards Evening this week.

In a moving tribute by Cllr Roger Curry, Chairman of West Oxfordshire District Council, Tony Cripps was described as, “quite simply the embodiment and heart of Chipping Norton Rugby Club and the true memorial to Tony is the young people he inspired and who will remember him”.

Cllr Roger Curry, went on to say, “Tony was the Club's founder member and responsible for transforming it to the fantastic community club it is today, catering for all age ranges. He was a dedicated volunteer and could be found at the Club most days. From 1975 he held numerous committee positions including club captain, chairman and treasurer. His achievements include County Coach for the U18 and U20 and RFU Youth Chairman for the South West Division.”

The following Awards were also made at the awards evening:
Sports Person of the Year
Coach of the Year
Sports Club of the Year

Steve Deeley was awarded Sports Person of the Year. His commitment and continuing support at all levels within Charlbury Town Football Club was recognised as being exceptional.

Steve became involved with the club in 2001 as a parent on the sideline when his eldest son started playing football. He volunteered to help and rapidly became the under 7 team manager and gained a coaching qualification. In 2004 Steve was elected Vice-Chairman and by 2005 was managing 3 teams. This involved not only coaching all 3 teams but arranging all of their matches as well as marking out the pitches. Steve would also make sure if there were no fixtures for one of his teams he would arrange a friendly match so the children were not disappointed that there was no game that weekend.

Steve has also taken on the responsibility for the clubs plans to build a new sports pavilion to replace the existing facility. He spends many hours attending various meetings with the Oxfordshire Football Association and has completed the clubs development plan. In recognition of his dedication Steve was elected Chairman of the Club in December 2007.

He was delighted to receive the award and said, “This is a complete surprise. I have 3 boys and it's all because of them I became involved – it's something I enjoy and it’s a real honour to receive this award.”

The Coach of the Year Award went to Gareth Lewis, Witney Rugby Football Club's Director of Coaching. Gareth has been playing and coaching at the Club since 1967. He has coached County Champion teams at several levels: Under 10, U15, U16 and U17, runners up as U13s and U17 across the Oxon, Berks and Bucks 3 Counties League also became runners up.

In his time as Director of Rugby, the Witney 1st XV team have been runners up in their league for two years and finalists in the Senior Knock-Out County Cup.

Commenting on his award Gareth said: “I'm very proud to achieve this award and thank West Oxfordshire District Council for their support over the years. On behalf of Witney Rugby Club, I’d like to mention in particular the support we've had for coaching development, which helps both the Club and the young people involved.”

A new award category for 2008 is the Club of the Year and this went to Chipping Norton RFC. It was received by Ian Rumble, the Club’s President and he said, “Winning the award is a complete surprise, but this has made it all the more pleasurable. I'm delighted for everyone at the Club, both past and present and I'd like to pay tribute to all their hard work over the years. I particularly want to mention Tony Cripps – who was the founder member and who has laid such a solid foundation for the Club to be what it is today.”

In addition to the above 41 Sports and Arts Achievement grants were awarded covering a range of activities such as: athletics, weight lifting, badminton, cricket, kick boxing, synchronised swimming, skiing, music, art and drama.

Of the 41 award winners, 3 were recognised as achieving excellence:
· Atlanta St John from North Leigh holds a regular senior place in the Great Britain rowing squad and is aiming to reach the 2012 Olympic Games.
· Lena Beardsell is from Clanfield and her sport is Flat-water Spring Kayaking. She recently finished 6th in the marathon section at the European championships and 5th at the World Cup.
· Lucy Pearman from Over Norton is pursuing a drama career and has a place at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts.

A full list of Achievement Award recipients and their details is attached. During the interval talented guitarist and songwriter Rhys Lewis, one of the Achievement Award winners, delighted the guests with a performance of his own music and was accompanied by fellow musician Chris Barker.

Cllr Hilary Biles, Cabinet Member for Health, Leisure and Tourism presented the awards. She said: “It has been an immense pleasure for me to present these awards and recognise the vast amount of talent we have in West Oxfordshire.

“West Oxfordshire District Council chooses to present these awards to encourage and enable talented young people to pursue their goals in their chosen art or sport, and to give public recognition to individuals participating and showing great promise in art and sport in West Oxfordshire. We want to encourage our future generations with their goals. Many of our winners wrote about achieving their personal best, and the support and inspiration given to them by their parents, teachers, coaches and their clubs. I congratulate everyone involved. It really is a team effort even if you compete as an individual.

The event marked the 10th anniversary of the Achievers Awards with more than 650 awards paid out by the Council since 1997.

Posted : 14/03/2008 10:15:10

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