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Congratulations to all the BBC NW Sports Awards winners

‘Huge congratulations from everyone at Sport England NW to all the winners of the BBC NW Sports Awards. We have exceptional talent and superb sports clubs in our region' says Sport England Regional Director, Stewart Kellett.

Thomas Burton, an exceptional young sporting talent from Greater Manchester won the Sport England Young Performer of the Year Award 2007 in front of an audience of sports stars, organisers and enthusiasts.

Thomas, 13, was recognised for his outstanding achievements in a number of sports. He has been competing in the DAAUK (Dwarf Athletics Association UK) games from the age of four. As a child he competed in sprint races, tennis ball, frisbee and target throwing. As an increasingly talented teenager he has progressed to sprints, discus, javelin and shot putt as well as taking part in team sports including football, basketball and hockey. As an all-round gifted sports competitor Thomas has also got involved in skiing and snowboarding.

Thomas has won over 80 medals in National, European and World Dwarf Games. His ambition is to expand into regional and national disability sport competitions and has focused his attentions on discus and shot putt, where athletes with restricted growth have classifications to compete. His ultimate ambition is to be selected to represent Team GB in the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in London.

Winner of the Sport England sponsored Community Sport Club of the Year award was West Cheshire Athletics Club. This crowns an outstanding year for the club which has already won club of the year at the Cheshire and Warrington Sport Partnership Awards in October as well as winning lots of plaudits at the recent UK athletics awards (NW) including: club of the year and awards for its club development, club volunteers as well as individual awards. It was also runner up in the categories: best junior club and best track and field club.

Stewart Kellett, Regional Director Sport England NW: ‘Congratulations to an outstanding young athlete and a remarkable community sports club. Thomas is a fantastic young talent and a credit to himself, his club and coaches and his family. To have success in a range of sports at national and international level, whilst still only 13 is inspiring and Thomas has an exciting future as a senior competitor. We wish him every success in his plans to compete in disability sport on the national and international stage.’
‘West Cheshire Athletics Club is taking community sport to the next level in our region. The club coaches’ and volunteers’ commitment to helping all club members reach their potential is amazing. Sport England NW is delighted to sponsor the BBC NW Sports Awards and we congratulate everyone nominated for these prestigious awards.’

Runners up in the Young Performer of the Year category were: Becky Kershaw, a young water polo player from Heysham, Lancashire and Peter Millar, a tennis champion from Merseyside. Becky plays water polo for Lancaster and earlier this year became one of only two junior players to be selected for the senior GB ladies squad, helping them to come second in the European Championships. She recently gained the Rising Star award at the Lancashire Sports Awards. She is one of 17 young athletes nationwide to be selected for the AASE (Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence).

Peter, who has learning difficulties, is Britain’s number one young tennis player and this summer represented Britain in Special Olympic World Games in Shanghai, China – winning double gold. Peter lives in Tranmere, Birkenhead and has been training since the age of four.

Runners up in the illustrious Community Club of the Year category were: Preston Pride Basketball Club, Prescot Hockey Club and Oakwood Sports Club, Salford.

Stewart Kellett, Regional Director Sport England NW: ‘The North West community sports scene is full of talented and committed people who give their time, energy and passion to ensure the North West is such a wonderful region for sporting opportunities. Sport England NW is supporting clubs and coaches to help get more people into sport – and for some talented young people this could take them all the way to 2012. But whatever our level, the benefit to our health, fitness and our happiness of getting into sport is huge.’

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For more information please contact Jordan Russell, Sport England NW on
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