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Stanton-under-Bardon Parish Council

Borough Celebrates its Active Heroes

Added at 09:00 on 02 February 2024


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


The awards, which recognise the impact that sport and keeping active can make to the lives of residents across the borough, were presented by Deputy Leader of the Council, Cllr Mark Bools.


This year’s award winners were:


  • Active School Award: Hinckley Parks Primary School


Over the last 12 months new PE lead, Miss Cross, has reignited the passion for sports across the school. Miss Cross, fellow teachers, and administrative staff have worked hard to get sport back into school and the children excited about representing their school in the community with great success. The school have gone on to reach the county final for gymnastics, the area final for basketball and narrowly missing out on county football places. The love for sports and activity has well and truly been reignited within the school and it is amazing to see.

  • School Team of the Year (Primary): Mercenfield Primary School, Markfield

The year 5/6 Dodgeball team have trained and played in all weathers and made the final in the British Primary School Dodgeball Championships and unfortunately lost in sudden death. Their dedication is remarkable.



  • School Team of the Year (Senior): St Martin’s Catholic Academy, Stoke Golding

The Year 10 Netball team has excelled for a number of years, winning the Hinckley & Bosworth area title and County Championships four years in a row. In the summer of 2023, they were invited to compete in the Netball World School Games where previously they had finished 3rd ahead of many UK private schools and finishing behind two teams from Dubai.


This group of girls have shown great maturity but also taken on the role to aid younger students develop their netball skills resulting in the creation of a development team which is now also successfully competing.


  • School Wellbeing Award: Brookvale, Groby


The staff are very proactive in terms of what they do to support students with their mental health wellbeing and is a high priority across the school. Positivity Ambassadors lead a Wellbeing Wednesday group, there is a Buddy/Mentor system and students can drop into any of the pastoral rooms to receive support. Students also have access to one-to-one counselling from a team of Emotional Literacy Support Assistants, pastoral team, and year heads. They also run a weekly mindfulness group for sixth form students, host a LGBTQ+ club and students can benefit from a range of mental health workshops and health school roadshows led by external organisations. This school is a wonderful example of best practice.


  • Junior Club of the Year: Dynamix Martial Arts and Fitness, Hinckley


Owners Ian and Jackie Merricks work tirelessly to ensure that martial arts are made available to everyone and not just those that want to compete. They have created a community where people feel safe to develop their skills without judgement but also nurture new friendships.


They look to ensure that new members feel included from the moment they join, and existing members don’t feel intimidated. It’s never about how many medals they can win, and always about how they can help their students achieve their own personal goals. They support their students by giving them opportunities within the club, joining the Junior Leadership Programme, or by providing free sessions to those most in need.



  • Community Group of the Year: Green Towers, Hinckley

Green Towers have a dedicated team who volunteer every night to provide activities for over 2000 local children at their youth/ sports centre. The team provide over 60 hours per week between them to provide for all the children’s mental and physical well-being needs. They play a huge part in the community, not only do the children get to undertake a variety of sporting activities they also get to come to a safe place where they can be free to be just children.

  • Sports Group/Club of the Year: Hinckley Kids Basketball Club

Hinckley Kids Basketball club was formed and run by two amazing and dedicated coaches Mark Szymkowiak and Adam Russell.  They have secured funding from Basketball England to ensure that they can provide a first-rate club to the young people of Hinckley. The inspiration for this club has come from their love of basketball and promoting the sport in a way that is inclusive and accessible to all. Mark and Adam are both inspirational leaders and coaches who deserve to be recognised for their dedication and passion, building a club on a purely voluntary basis and in their own time. 

  • Team of the Year: Hinckley Ladies FC

Hinckley Ladies FC are the longest running ladies’ football team in Hinckley, fully inclusive no matter of ability and just a great bunch of ladies.

  • Matt Hamson Lets Get Moving Awards Inclusivity Award: Shelby Academy of Performing Arts

Coach Sarah Young has worked in the education and health sector for 30years and is a qualified dance teacher holds weekly special educational needs lessons for individuals interested in dance and the arts from the age of eight upwards. Students benefit from building self-confidence, performing skills and making friends in a safe and welcoming atmosphere.

The group take part in performing at lots of local events such as Snap Dragon Family Festival and Friends of Hollycroft Park fun day.

  • New Group Award: Relaxed Inclusive Autism Friendly Tennis Group at Desford Lawn Tennis Club

Over the past 14 years this club has supported and run inclusive sessions however it was recognised that there was a need for a specific session for young people who love tennis but find the club’s junior session overwhelming. Sessions have been developed customised to a day and time when the club environment is quiet, and participants can attend at a time to suit them and include the introduction of dedicated Easter and summer camps.  Working with parents and carers to tailor individual support for each participant, building a positive atmosphere.

  • Young Hero: Thomas Hucknall


Thomas,12, is neurodiverse and until three years ago had never taken an interest in a sport or hobby. However, he was introduced to sailing and this is now his passion, progressing very quickly to become an advanced sailor and racing sailor.


In 2023 he won all four of the Mayors Trophy Regatta Series, competitions organised by Leicestershire Sailing Association, and he was presented with the Mayor’s Trophy, awarded to the winning novice sailor. He also took first place, from a group of 30 other sailors in the Northampton Youth Series.


His instructors and coaches have long wanted him to accept the offer to join the Leicestershire Youth Racing Team, which he has now accepted. He is a willing volunteer and will always give a hand with the younger less experienced children.


  • Young Sportsperson: Niamh Dunbar


Niamh Dunbar,15, started her swimming journey with Hinckley Swimming Club (HSC) as part of the ‘learn to swim scheme’ at Hinckley Leisure Centre. She has improved so much that she is now the Regional Champion for her age group in all of the breaststroke categories of 50m, 100m and 200m which is an amazing achievement that not many swimmers achieve.


She regularly competes for Hinckley & City of Leicester Swimming Club training up to nine times a week including three early starts in Leicester at 5am in the morning and also helps teach the younger swimmers of HSC in her spare time.


In 2023 she qualified for the National championships which is incredibly hard in swimming and made finals as well whilst achieving personal bests.


  • Inspiring Instructor: Amy Taylor


Amy has been playing golf since she was five at Hinckley Golf Club, as soon as she was old enough, she joined the Junior section and quickly gained a handicap, represented the county and decided that this was going to be her career.


Qualifying as a PGA professional Amy set up her own academy for juniors teaching children from the age of four and in the short time her academy has been running has managed to field two teams for interclub competitions for the last couple of years.


Amy regularly fields two teams at Leicestershire junior golf competitions, with huge success and works with Love.Golf to introduce more women into golf i.e. providing free taster sessions at Hinckley Golf Club and has a focus on introducing Muslim women to golf. In addition, she works with Golf in Society taking sessions for the elderly, proving respite for their carers for a short time.


  • Outstanding Contribution: Clive Blewitt


Clive Blewitt moved into Sheepy Magna in the mid-1990s and immediately made an impression on the parish, quickly identifying the need for a local football team and the Sheepy Old Boys were formed with Clive as player manage. The team was not established to play in a league, but it was formed to play games against like minding mature teams to raise funds for local charities and events.


Around the same time the playing field, football pitch and surrounding areas were in disrepair and Clive quickly become the Chairman of the Playing Field Committee who are responsible for maintaining the open space area. The football pitch was improved along with changing rooms a children's play area and a glade which now has established trees, benches, walks and a mature wildflower patch and recently with the help of Sheepy Parish Council an outdoor gym has been installed for parishioners to use.


For over 25 years Clive has managed the Sheepy Old Boys and has been the Chairman of the Playing Fields Committee, his hard work and dedication has seen year on year improvements to the playing field and a few hundred players from 14 years old up to 70 years old have graced the Sheepy Old Boys raising thousands of pounds for local charities and causes.


  • Most Improved of the Year: Hannah Shannon


Hannah, a resident of Hinckley, found horse riding a great way to improve her mental health and wellbeing entering competitions with her horse Jimmy. In 2023 she fractured her spine whilst riding but remarkably just after three months recovery she was back riding and in November 2023 received the overall riding veteran champion award from her riding club, South Kilworth Riding Club.


  • Volunteer of the Year: Kirby Roberts


Kirby has been volunteering for Green Towers for three - four nights a week for the

past 10 years. Kirby started off as a young volunteer and worked her way up to eventually becoming a leader. Although she works full-time Kirby plays a crucial part within the club and has great insight into what the young people want or need, mentored hundreds of children, some of whom have gone on to be young volunteers themselves. 


  • Judges Special Recognition Award: Mark Harvey


Mark started volunteering 30 years ago as a youth worker at the Hinckley Old Boys’ Club which with council and lottery funding has become Green Towers. 


Mark plays a crucial role as Finance Director in keeping the club financially secure and fully legally compliant. Mark has developed and trained staff to be successful leaders and kept the club open for thousands of children over the years. He has played a pivotal role over the years for the community and continues to volunteer around 20 hours per week.


Deputy Leader of the Council, Cllr Mark Bools said: “I would like to congratulate all nominees and the individual award winners. Yet again, judges have had the most difficult task picking winners in each category. The sheer number of worthy nominees is inspirational.

It is vital that we recognise those individuals across the borough who go above and beyond. Keeping active and helping others to do the same and pursue dreams or even just take up a new hobby for physical and mental health should be celebrated and from the stories I have heard tonight we have a wealth of experience and talent in Hinckley and Bosworth - they all deserve our warmest congratulations and appreciation.”