Borough celebrates its sporting heroes

Published Tuesday, 31 January 2023
A group of people stand smiling, with the centre two holding an award

The Hinckley and Bosworth Sports and Health Alliance Awards celebrated local sporting heroes at their 16th awards ceremony, held at Hinckley Rugby Club.

The awards, which recognise the impact that sport can make to the lives of residents across the borough, were presented by Mayor of Hinckley and Bosworth, Councillor Dawn Glenville, and the Vice Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire, Col Murray Colville TD DL.

This year’s award winners were: 

• Adult sports person of the year: Harry Bell

Harry has been a member of Hinckley’s tennis club since he was just five and has had an exceptional year. In 2022, Harry represented the county in the 18 and under county cup, despite being just 14 years of age. He also represented Leicestershire in the twelve counties 16 and under event, winning the regional finals and competing at national level at Wimbledon.

• Club of the year: Desford Lawn Tennis Club

Desford Lawn Tennis Club is welcoming to everyone who passes through its doors. In 2022, they became even more inclusive by offering ‘relaxed tennis’ sessions, which are aimed at those with autism. The club also offers two weekly sessions for people with learning disabilities, as well as sessions for the over-50s or those with medical conditions. There is also a weekly session for those with mental health conditions.

• Disabled sportsperson of the year: Tarell Atkinson

Tarell is a talented 15-year-old autistic student from Hinckley’s Dorothy Goodman School. He has continued to develop as a boxer at the Heart of England Community Boxing Club, winning all of his junior bouts. He has also been selected to be part of the Leicestershire Talent Program for the second year running, and even won gold in his categories in the National Disability Athletics in 200m, 400m and 800m.

• Coach of the year: Matt Chilvers and Neil Bacon

Matt and Neil were joint winners in this category. Neil is a coach at the Market Bosworth Couch to 5k group and organises different running activities for people of all abilities. His sessions inspire many and he provides ongoing training and fitness plans for athletes.

Matt is a tennis coach who is passionate about offering opportunities in tennis for those with special needs. Being autistic himself, Matt understands how important sport can be and the benefits that can arise from this. Based on his own experiences, Matt has established inclusive, autism-friendly tennis sessions at Desford Tennis Club.

• Lifetime achievement: Nick Griffin

Nick has been involved in boxing for around 40 years, coaching in the borough for 20. Nick helped to form Heart of England Boxing Club in 2003, which has a healthy contingent of carded boxes. He is also involved with England Boxing and has dedicated much of his life to supporting the junior, youth or adult boxers who come through his door from all walks of life. 

• Active lifestyle award: Peter Magee

Through sailing and instructing, Peter has turned his life around. His physical health has improved and, by giving back to the community, so has his mental health.

• Active business award: Hastings High School

Hastings High School’s Parkrun was launched in 2022, offering a free opportunity for the community to run or walk a 5km course. It is helpful in encouraging residents to take up a healthier lifestyle and provides a friendly, no-pressure atmosphere to achieve that in. It would not be possible without its dedicated team of volunteers.

• Unsung hero award: Brian Kinsella

Brian set up regular table tennis sessions at Market Bosworth’s Sports Club around six years ago, with the sessions proving highly popular from day one. Brian purchased all equipment himself and continues to provide day and evening sessions for around 100 enthusiasts from across his local community. 

• Volunteer of the year: Charlotte Sinclair

Charlotte took on the challenging volunteer role as chairwoman at Hinckley Running Club, dealing with each challenge in a caring and positive manner. Charlotte has also become a coach, recently achieving her Level 2 coaching qualifications. She regularly coaches at running clubs, and she has also helped to keep Hinckley Running Club Juniors going thanks to her determination to find volunteers, funding and a new venue.

• Senior club of the year: Leicestershire and Rutland Youth Sailing Seniors Group

The club was formed to help elderly and retired people to overcome loneliness and isolation. Since the club began four years ago, their members have increased, with their health gradually improving. They have also formed their own racing team and, in winter, volunteer to help to repair boats and equipment.

Executive Member for Culture, Sport and Leisure, Cllr Keith Nichols said:

It was a pleasure to recognise the amazing talent we have across our borough. Yet again, judges have had the most difficult task picking winners in each category. The sheer number of worthy nominees is inspirational – they all deserve our warmest congratulations and appreciation.