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Brentwood Borough Council

Press Release

Active Brentwood Sports Awards

Date: 14 November 2017

The best sporting talent from across Brentwood were celebrated at an annual awards ceremony last week.

The Active Brentwood Sports and Health Awards 2017 took place at an event at South East Essex Golf Club on Wednesday 8 November. It recognised people, groups and organisations that work behind the scenes to provide opportunities for people locally to take part in and promote physical activity.

Twelve awards were handed out by the Mayor of Brentwood, Councillor Will Russell, and Brentwood Borough Council’s Chief Executive Phil Ruck.

Mayor of Brentwood, Councillor Will Russell, said: “The Active Brentwood Sports and Health Awards give us the opportunity to recognise our sporting heroes as well as the coaches, volunteers, clubs and organisations who make the sporting activities happen.

We are fortunate in Brentwood to have a wealth of sporting talent that it was an honour to celebrate at the awards ceremony.”

The winners were:

  • Young Sports Personality of the Year
    • Winner: Madeleine Gale.
    • Highly Commended: Benjamin Parry
  • Coach of the Year
    • Winner: Neil Bromily
  • Changing Lives through Sport/ Physical Activity
    • Winner: Fitness in Mind.
    • Highly Commended: Leigh Norris
  • Sports Personality of the Year
    • Winner: Paul Guest
  • Service to Disability (PAN) Sport
    • Winner:  Lee Patmore.
  • Unsung Hero (volunteer of the year)
    • Winner: Ben Ashley.
    • Highly Commended: Luke Ranns
  • Education Champion of the Year
    • Winner: Shenfield St Mary’s School.
    • Highly Commended: Shenfield High School
  • Community Club of the Year
    • Winner: Barbell Girls

The winners will now be put through to the Active Essex Sports Awards which take place on 5 December.


Notes to editors:

Pictures are available


Biographies of the winners:

Leigh Norris, Director of Brentwood Parkrun

Leigh Norris and his team give their time every Saturday morning to organise the Brentwood Parkrun at Weald Park – a weekly 5km course for all ages and abilities. The course is free of charge and manned completely by volunteers. They give encouragement to so many people of all ages in and around Brentwood to get out there in the fresh air and get fitter.

Fitness in Mind Brentwood

They have made great strides in changing people’s lives through sport and physical activity. It is a fully inclusive programme that aims to provide a unique environment where physical activity and peer support work together. The programme empowers people to recognise sport and exercise as a coping strategy for life’s stresses. Individuals from all walks of life use the programme to achieve better mental, social and physical wellbeing and have gone on to continue enjoying the benefits of living a more active life.

Neil Bromily from Kazen Kai

Neil had a number of nominations from his students and their parents. A student said Neil is very encouraging and always tries his best to help us learn more. He makes the hard work and learning fun.

At competitions he is always there for everyone and gives encouragement and the confidence we need to compete. He is proud of us if we win or lose.

A parent said, I couldn’t ask for a better teacher and role model for my child  - he has made the most amazing progress and now has the confidence to compete as part of the dojo’s national team and all because Neil is so dedicated to his students and to helping them reach their potential.

Barbell Girls

Barbell Girls was founded in 2013 to attempt to make strength training and powerlifting accessible to all women, regardless of experience and ability.

Since their launch, Barbell Girls have seen several hundred women attend their sessions and barbell training has become a mainstream part of female training at the Brentwood Centre. Barbell Girls were happy to collaborate with Fitness in Mind and introduce Kettlebell Classes at The Brentwood Centre, with a focus on being inclusive of pan disabilities and as an access route to strength training.

Shenfield High School

Their nomination said the school is the sports hub in Brentwood and this is mainly down to Garry Sapsford and his team. They work incredibly hard to provide opportunities for all pupils and with Garry’s passion and commitment to the school he drives it to be extremely successful.

The school has numerous links with outside clubs and works closely with them to ensure the school is embedded in the community. A much-deserved team leader and department that deserve the recognition for the time, hard work and commitment that goes into the sport at Shenfield.

Shenfield St Mary’s

Their nomination said they provide opportunities for all pupils and regularly bring C teams to events. Students always show great sportsmanship and parent support is second to none. Last year they were Regional Kwick Cricket Champions 2017, 2nd in the country for Rounders 2017, County Year 5 girls X Country winners are some of their biggest achievements. This academic year they have won the Girls Shenfield Cup and the partnership round so they have progressed to county finals. June Larner who is in charge of the sport is supportive and encouraging to the children as is their Headteacher Sally Taggart. Students are encouraged into all sports and guided if they show an aptitude for it. St Mary’s have strong club links with Shenfield Cricket Club, Brentwood Hockey Club to name a few.

Lee Patmore

Lee joined The Brentwood Centre two years ago having completed his gym instructor course through Aspire Instructability. Since that time Lee has worked in the gym as an instructor, coaching on a 1-to-1 basis with people who have disabilities and has recently been working with Ben Ashley (details in next profile) on the Autism Friendly Gym Sessions.

As well as coaching in the gym, Lee has also worked on introducing Wheelchair Basketball, Sitting Yoga, BLT SportsFest, AquaFest, the Push and Pull challenge and the Wheely Socials.

Alongside Lee’s work as an Inclusive Sports Co-ordinator at The Brentwood Centre, he has made time to raise awareness and sponsorship for Help for Heroes and BLT Inclusive Projects by hand cycling 1400 miles across the country, doing a 24-hour handcycle challenge in The Brentwood Centre reception and recently taking part in the Parallel London 10K at the Olympic park.

He has inspired many people through his own achievements and encouraged many members to find their own ability in their disabilities.

Ben Ashley

Ben has gone through an amazing transformation over the last year, which the Brentwood Centre has been lucky to share with him. He started volunteering at The Brentwood Centre just over a year ago, with an interest in health and fitness and is a keen gym goer. 

Ben lives with autism which made the volunteering hours at the Brentwood Centre very challenging. He was nervous, shy, became anxious when meeting new people and faced with new challenges every day. However, Ben still came in to the centre twice a week, helped out at the ladies’ leisure sessions, Fitness in Mind sessions and in the marketing department.

After a few months, with the help of BLT and Active Essex, Ben started his gym instructor course, which he successfully completed last month.

Ben now uses his knowledge of autism and the benefits of exercise in helping people live with the condition to run an Autism Friendly Gym Session at The Brentwood Centre on a Saturday afternoon.

He committed time to his volunteering at The Brentwood Centre, and never gave up through many challenging times which has paid off and started him on the career path that he always dreamed of.  

Luke Ranns

Luke’s nomination said he was an outstanding member of Brentwood Cricket Club this season in a number of different roles. He always sets a good example to others and often older members of the club. He takes on board lots of responsibilities to ensure others benefit in the club.

He has taken part in a number of major club events, duties and organisation of team events from the Last Man Standing team competition, Annual Awards Dinner/ Dance and the Annual Colts presentation awards evening.

Madeleine Gale

Madeleine is currently fencing for England under 15s despite being 13 years old. She achieved enough points in domestic fencing (foil) competitions nationwide in 2017 to achieve selection. 

She is ranked 275 worldwide for under 17s (cadets) out of 436 athletes – this is an achievement given her age. According to the ranking she is 18th ranked out of all GBR under 17 cadets and 3rd ranked out of all under 17 cadets for her birth year (2003). This means she is in the top three internationally for her age group representing GBR. The new 2017/18 season has just got under way and Madeleine has just been advised she has been selected to participate in British Fencing’s new national talent pathway programme – she is one of the youngest to be invited to attend the programme and means that Madeleine has to attend coaching sessions in London and Manchester which is very intensive.  She has always had her sight set on achieving Olympic and Commonwealth Games selection and, at the moment, is on the path towards achieving this. Her next international competitions will be in Paris and Poland in 2018. 

Benjamin Parry

Benjamin’s nomination said he is a true leader, someone who inspires his young team mates in his cricket team, encourages them if something isn’t going well and keeps them focused at all times in a match. 

Shenfield St Mary’s are now East of England Kwik Cricket Champions for the second year running. And for the first time this year, they entered the county rounders competition, made it through to the nationals, and were runners up in a very tight finish. The coaches at the Nationals in the rounders competition couldn’t have been more complimentary about Benjamin, how brilliant he was for the team, how he didn’t stop encouraging them and what a character he is.

Paul Guest

It's very hard to sum up what Paul has recently gone through to where he is now. The Paul, always happy and smiling was actually a long way off how he was inside, but you could always see the enjoyment he got out of coaching Wheelchair Basketball, and you just knew that even on a bad day, he would still be present to coach the session. Paul sought help with his personal, physical and mental health issues. He was part of the UK’s team for the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto and won an bronze medal in wheelchair basketball. Paul has always put his coaching as a priority and has inspired many people to achieve their potential, within sport and in their personal lives.

Media Contact: Safira Ali

Tel: 01277 312895