Stars shine bright at Believe Sports Awards

Stars of the community were celebrated at the 19th annual Believe Sports Awards at the DW Stadium, Wigan, on Friday 11th October.

The prestigious event, organised by Inspiring healthy lifestyles and sponsored by Wigan Council, recognised rising sports starts and dedicated volunteers who support grassroots sports and community initiatives across the borough.

Just shy of 400 guests attended the awards this year to cheer on the winners who included:

The Deal Community Programme of the Year, WigLe Dance; Changing Lifestyle Recognition Award, Alan Richmond and Club of the Year, Orrell Ju Jitsu.

Cllr James Moodie, Wigan Council’s lead cabinet member of leisure said: “Our Believe Campaign encourages people to strive and achieve. We are very proud to sponsor this awards ceremony.

“This year’s nominations and awards have shone a light on the dedication and commitment shown by our local sports clubs, volunteers and community groups across the borough.”

“Wigan Council recognised the importance and value these groups and individuals play in our community and how it reflects the principles of The Deal”.

Gareth Cross, Chair of the Trustee Board at Inspiring healthy lifestyles said: “The Believe Awards showcases truly inspirational individuals.

“It is a real privilege to meet so many inspirational people and hear their stories, stories which encourage many others to lead healthy and active lifestyles.”

Highlights of the evening saw guest speaker, Oli France, local adventurer and expedition leader taking to the stage to share stories of his adventures share his belief that with guts, drive and determination, anything is possible.

Some of the latest successful applicants for the borough’s Believe Talent Fund also took to the stage for recognition on the evening. Thirteen young sport stars will receive up to £500 from the Believe Talent Fund (part of Wigan Council’s Deal for Communities Investment Fund) to help them pay for travel, accommodation, competitions or training fees and equipment.

A record 140 people were nominated in over 10 categories this year and 8 of the winners will go on to represent the Wigan Borough at the Greater Manchester Sports Awards.


Winners on the evening were:

Sports Apprentice of the Year (sponsored by Agilisys): Christopher Gibbons, Inspiring healthy lifestyle

Chris, an apprentice in water sports, has helped develop a programme to allow people in assisted living to enjoy the outdoors and is furthering ideas on how outdoor activities help mental health.

Workforce Advocate of the Year (sponsored by ECG Facilities Services): Nicola Leyden, Sofology

Nicola is a Junior People Business Partner and champions health and wellbeing within Sofology. She organised Health MOT’s, wellbeing weeks, various fitness challenges and mental health training to name a few initiatives.

Team of the Year (Sponsored By Wigan Warriors Community Foundation): Pennington FC Youth u15s

In the last 12 months the team competed for the first time in the Junior Premier League finishing as runners up in the North West regional section and also reaching the National Cup semi-finals.

Young Sports Achiever of Year (Sponsored By Debit Finance Collections): Caitlyn Saddington, Para Dressage

Caitlyn has represented Great Britain in 2* and 3*events, achieving 2nd place at international level and PB’s this year. She has progressed this year from Silver level to Gold level at National competition and she became National Gold Champion in February 2019.

The Martin Lynn School Commitment to PE and Sport Award (sponsored by Alliance Leisure): Landgate School

Landgate has been committed to providing opportunities for all pupils and staff to engage in physical activity and make it part of daily routine.  Landgate has linked with service providers to up skill staff, demonstrate best practice and offer support for parents. They have also employed a PE specialist to help embed health and wellbeing throughout the school.

The Deal Community Programme of the Year  (sponsored by Wigan Council ‘The Deal’): WigLe Dance CIC

WigLe Dance CIC is a dance development organisation working across the borough, to create opportunities for more people to engage in high-quality dance and movement activity.  Over the past twelve months WigLe has coordinated the Wigan Youth Dance Festival, engaging 150 young dancers, Managed ‘WN Youth Dance Company’ - giving 16 talented dancers the opportunity to represent their town at regional and national dance platforms.

Changing Lifestyle Recognition Award (Sponsored by Technogym): Alan Richmond

Alan has been part of the Lets Get Movin’ programme and over the past 12 months has transformed his life in many positive ways. He has lost over two stone, committed to lead an active healthier lifestyle through home cooking, walking and exercising.  Alan is now inspiring so many people around him to make healthier choices including his family and other children and families on the programme.

Volunteer of the Year (Sponsored by Wigan Athletic Community Trust): Peter Hill, Place2Place

Two years ago Peter formed Place2Place - a men’s mental health football team. Due to Peter's hard work, the club has grown significantly over the last 12 months and it now has over 30 members.  Peter organises weekly training sessions, has organised charity matches raising thousands for charity and Peter now has his sights set for a trip abroad for the players and to create a new league for the club and others to play in.

Wilf Brogan Unsung Hero Award (sponsored by Link Contracting). - Tom Harrison, Hindley Juniors FC

Tom started up Hindley Juniors FC back in 1991 with just 64 children, the club now has 400 members and in those 28 years has provided football opportunities to 6000 boys and girls. Tom is a volunteer committee member, coach, grounds man, well you could say Mr Hindley Juniors! Tom is always looking for ways to develop the club, provide new opportunities for the community and recently worked on the development of the girls section.

Club of the Year (SPONSORED BY BIGWAVE MEDIA): Orrell Ju Jitsu

Orrell Ju Jitsu established in 2006 and has over 100 members aged 4-64 years of age. 2018/19 was a successful year. It has achieved 4 new Senior Black belts, 5 Junior Black belts. It organised a community fun day raising £1,800 for children with mental health issues.

Last updated: 16 October 2019