A host of British Gymnastics community heroes have been recognised and celebrated this evening, as they received a number of prestigious accolades at the 2019 British Gymnastics National Awards.
The awards, held at Birmingham Town Hall, acknowledge the outstanding achievements made by gymnasts, volunteers, coaches, clubs and community members across the country. Winners and recipients from grassroots to elite level were presented with their awards at the ceremony, which was hosted by the face of BBC Breakfast sport, Mike Bushell.
The Outstanding Athlete of the Year went to artistic gymnast Dominick Cunningham from City of Birmingham and tumbling gymnast Elliott Browne, from Wakefield Gym Club. Dom shared the spotlight with his personal coach Lee Woolls who was recognised as Outstanding Coach of the Year along with Glen Wharton who also received the accolade for his work as the personal coach of tumblers Shanice Davidson and Rachel Davies, who both had success in 2018.
Acrobatic men’s group, Lewis Watts, Conor Sawenko, Charlie Tate and Adam Upcott received two accolades, the prestigious John Atkinson Award recognising their achievements as world champions and they were also inducted into the British Gymnastics Hall of Fame alongside tumbling world champion Rachael Letsche.
Celebrating individuals at all levels, Amber Turner was awarded the National Young Volunteer Award for her commitment to the sport. At just 15-years-old, Amber is an essential part of DC Gymnastics in Berwick-on-Tweed and volunteers 10 hours a week at the club where she also trains, inspiring the next generation of gymnasts in the North East. The National Volunteer Award went to Michael Gevaux who was recognised for his invaluable efforts at Gatwick Flyers.
Recipients also included members who were recognised for their outstanding contribution to education, safeguarding, equality and inclusion, ensuring best and leading practice, embodying the high standards and values of the sport.
The National Award for Equality & Inclusion was won by Woking Gymnastics Club who have worked consistently in the community, providing additional opportunities for underrepresented groups.
Gary Kirby was awarded the Education Award for playing a crucial role in the delivery of coach education throughout the North West and Jenni Harris received the National Safeguarding Award for regularly going ‘above and beyond the call of duty’ in the East Midlands.
Host Mike Bushell, said: "It’s been a fantastic evening and wonderful to see so many people being recognised for their hard work and contribution to the sport. It’s a real privilege to meet and celebrate the success of the inspiring people who make gymnastics happen all over the country."
Long service was also celebrated with 22 members receiving honours on stage. The Award of Merit was presented to 12 people, recognising outstanding service to British Gymnastics and the gymnastics community for a minimum of seven years, with Katherine Boden, Kirsty Burt, Siobhan Divers, Judith Brand, Olivia Bryl, Deanna Jefferies, Gail Brady, Rick Brady, Dexter Millen, Jayne Armitage, Stephen Wood and Lynda Tee the recipients.
Ben Murphy, Anne McNeill, Elaine May, Helen Potter, Nicola Preston, Rachael Wright, Andrew Morris and Kathy Webb were recognised for 10 years of service to British Gymnastics and the gymnastics community, by becoming Nik Stuart Honorary Life Members. Nik Stuart MBE was a former European silver medallist and nine-time British men’s champion.
Christine Still - who has been involved in gymnastics for 44 years and continues to be a fantastic ambassador, as well as a well-known commentator on TV - was awarded the Frank Edmonds Trophy, presented to individuals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty.
Matt Neville, who joined the Board of British Gymnastics in March 2011 and became Chairman at the end of 2013, was recognised for his outstanding service with Honorary Life Vice Presidency. Matt will step down from his role as Chairman in March, after serving the maximum Board tenure of eight years.
British Gymnastics’ Patron, The Rt Hon Sir John Major KG CH, who also attended the awards said: "Gymnastics has the perfect combination of grace, charm and athleticism. But the heroes of the sport go far beyond the remarkable skills of our national gymnasts. Behind every gymnast – whether famous or unknown – are the local heroes: parents, coaches, fundraisers, grass-roots helpers – and many others, who pour their time and enthusiasm into promoting a sport that captures an ever-growing audience year upon year."
Jane Allen, Chief Executive of British Gymnastics said: “We want to congratulate all of the nominees, winners and recipients. Across the country, our members dedicate their time, skills and enthusiasm to ensure gymnastics thrives.
“It’s our privilege to host many of these people tonight and show our great appreciation. We have celebrated achievements which span grassroots to international medal success, and importantly also focuses on the integrity, standards and values our sport is known for.
“The quality of experience people have is absolutely key and we are so thankful for all the hard work that takes place in the community. We have great confidence in the offering of British Gymnastics member coaches, clubs and those providers and officials who are part of the wider British Gymnastics family.”
Full list of award winners and final nominees:
National Club Award
Winner: Pegasus Gymnastics Club
Nominee: DC Gymnastics
National Volunteer Award
Winner: Michael Gevaux, Hollington DMT
Nominee: Sandra Crowe, Waveney Gymnastics Club
Nominee: Su Killeen, SuKi Aerobic Club
National Young Volunteer Award
Winner: Amber Turner, DC Gymnastics
Nominee: Alice Corden, Bedwas Gymnastics
Nominee: Bradley Walsh, AAAsports
National Award for Equality & Inclusion
Winner: Woking Gymnastics Club
Nominee: Kelly Morrow, Club GymFun
Nominee: Nuneaton Gymnastics Club
Winner: Gary Kirby, North West Workforce
Nominee: Paddy Levelle, Andover Gymnastics Club
Nominee: The Preschool Panel (Jane Sims, Mary Wright BEM, Arleen Smith & Sine Rance)
National Safeguarding Award
Winner: Jenni Harris, Hinckley and Burbage
Nominee: Michael Gevaux, Hollington DMT
Nominee: Christine Cason, Richmond Gymnastics Association
Outstanding Athlete of the Year (Olympic discipline)
Dominick Cunningham, City of Birmingham Gymnastics Club
Outstanding Athlete of the Year (non-Olympic discipline)
Elliott Browne, Wakefield Gym Club
Outstanding Coach of the Year (Olympic discipline)
Lee Woolls, City of Birmingham Gymnastics Club
Outstanding Coach of the Year (non-Olympic discipline)
Glen Wharton, Durham City Gymnastics Club
The John Atkinson Award
Acrobatic Men’s Group (Adam Upcott, Charlie Tate, Lewis Watts and Conor Sawenko), Spelthorne Gymnastics
Frank Edmonds Trophy
Christine Still, Park Wrekin Gymnastics Club
Award of Merit
Gail & Rick Brady, Brumby Gymnastics ClubJayne Armitage, Coventry
Katherine Boden, Loughborough
Judith Brand, Coalville
Kirsty Burt, Glasgow
Siobhan Divers, Farnborough
Olivia Bryl, Vale of Glamorgan
Deana Jefferies, Pontefract
Dexter Millen, South East Gymnastics, Canterbury
Stephen Wood, City of Salford Trampoline Club, Salford
Lynda Tee, Portsmouth Trampoline Club, Portsmouth
Nik Stuart Honorary Life Member
Anne McNeill, London
Ben Murphy, Sidcup
Elaine May, Bristol Hawks Gymnastics Club
Helen Potter, Bristol Hawks Gymnastics Club
Nicola Preston, South Durham Gymnastics
Rachael Wright, South Durham Gymnastics
Kathy Webb, London
Andrew Morris, Swansea
Hall of Fame inductees
Tumbling world champion Rachael Letsche
Acrobatic world champions Adam Upcott, Charlie Tate, Lewis Watts and Conor Sawenko