After a quick turn-around from work and a trip down the A19, we took up our seats at this year’s BBC North East Sports Awards last Wednesday. Fantastically hosted by Look North’s Jeff Brown and BBC Newcastle’s Anna Foster, the ceremony celebrated the very best of North East sport in-front of a packed crowd at the Silksworth Community Pool, Tennis and Wellbeing Centre.
In a year in which both Newcastle United and Sunderland’s mens’ sides have had very little to cheer about, it was left to England women’s captain Steph Houghton to claim the biggest award of the night. Houghton was awarded Sports Personality of the Year for her efforts in this year’s Women’s World Cup, in which she lead them to their first ever semi-final and later third place finish in Canada.
The Newcastle Eagles have the difficult task of finding space for their Team of the Year award in their already packed trophy cabinet. Player-Coach Fab Flournoy was on hand to accept the award, alongside Eagles owner Paul Blake, who advised the North East’s football teams that when you get the right the manager for the job, the rest will follow.
However, it was not only the professionals that were picking up awards. The late Hexham farmer and rugby player Stuart Ridley was awarded 2015’s Sporting Inspiration, for his charity work with Stay Strong Stu. Stuart, who played for Tynedale, sadly passed away in July after he was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour.
Netball volunteer Liz Wisniewski was also recognised for her commitment to the sport, picking up the Unsung Hero award. Liz was presented not only with the award, but with a personalised video message from Gary Lineker, who she will have the chance of meeting in person at next month’s BBC Sports Personality Awards in Belfast, as she is in the running for the national Unsung Hero Award.
- Sports Personality of the Year – Steph Houghton
- Jackie Milburn Award – Jonathan Edwards
- Disabled Sports Award – Gemma Collis
- Special Achievement Award – Stephen Miller
- Junior Sports Award – Amy Tinkler
- Sports Inspiration – Stuart Ridley, Stay Strong Stu
- Team of the Year – Newcastle Eagles
- Performance of the Year – Ben Stokes
- Unsung Hero – Liz Wisniewski