Schools need to act to save sport awards

HIGH ACHEIVERS: Winners from this year's Hambleton and Richmondshire Sport Awards with former boxer Amanda Coulson

HIGH ACHEIVERS: Winners from this year's Hambleton and Richmondshire Sport Awards with former boxer Amanda Coulson

First published in News Darlington and Stockton Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter (Richmond)

ORGANISERS of what could be the last sports awards ceremony for youngsters in Richmondshire and Hambleton have called for schools to support children in sport.

The 28th Hambleton and Richmondshire Sports Awards was held at Risedale Sports and Community College in Hipswell, Catterick Garrison, to celebrate achievement of young athletes in a variety of disciplines.

The awards, part of the North Yorkshire and York Schools’ Sports Association, normally receive a central grant from the county council but earlier this year funding was stopped.

The council instead paid money directly to schools, but the association – which ran county-level teams in football, athletics, basketball, cricket, cross country, hockey and rugby union – said talented youngsters would miss out if schools chose not to contribute to its voluntary work.

Guest speaker was GB boxing coach Amanda Coulson, of Hartlepool, who spoke of how she struggled to find a club that would take a girl and how she then became a three-times European silver medal-winner, and twice international gold medal-winner. Now retired, she is a GB boxing coach.

She said: “When I was trying to find a club one man said no and put the phone down on me. I owe that man a lot because that gave me the determination to succeed and changed my life forever."

Chairman of the North Yorkshire and York Schools’ Sports Association Martyn Coombs said that for the first time in 40 years, the organisation was not going to receive a central grant from the county council and must rely on individual schools for funding, but added that the response so far had been poor.

He said: “This wonderful organisation which has facilitated opportunities for young people across the county to fulfil their sporting dreams and aspirations is no more.”

He said the individual sports would have to go it alone to raise funding.

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