Sporting and cultural talents celebrated in Knowsley

Published on: Monday, 12-October-2015

Talented sports stars and cultural heroes were recognised at the Knowsley Sports and Cultural Awards 2015 on Friday (October 9).

Communities across Knowsley came together to celebrate honour local people who have inspired others with their achievements, or who work tirelessly to support sports and culture in the borough.

Prize winners included volunteers, coaches, junior achievers, school sports teams, sports clubs and people who’ve fought back from illness.

The awards evening was a glittering affair hosted at Knowsley Leisure and Culture Park in Huyton. More than 200 guests attended the event, which was compered by Radio City’s sports editor Steve Hothersall with guest speaker Roy Evans, former Liverpool FC manager.

This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award went to Paul Cronin, the former head teacher of St Laurence’s Primary School in Kirkby, and who was instrumental in establishing the Kirkby Primary School Sports Association. His work has made a massive difference to countless local people who have been given opportunities to compete in sports that they otherwise might not have had. Under his stewardship his school gained a Sainsbury’s School Games Mark Gold Award in 2011 and at one point offered 30 sports clubs in an average week. Now retired, Paul’s legacy continues at the school where the sporting opportunities continue.

Young Artist of the Year went to 15-year-old Chloe Collins, a talented young singer from Lord DeFormer St Laurence’s Primary School (Kirkby) head teacher Paul Cronin was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award for the work he did during his career to encourage school sport. rby Academy, who also performed at the awards evening. Chloe writes her own material and is rapidly building up quite a following locally, and now has several record companies interested in offering her a record deal.

Meanwhile, Adult Artist of the Year was awarded to Lesley Briggs, an exceptional painter who has won a number of visitor choice prizes and has been included in the Art Merseyside Exhibition in Editions Gallery. A solo-exhibition of his work will open in Huyton Gallery next Spring.

Cllr Eddie Connor, Knowsley Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: “It is always fantastic to celebrate those people in our communities who have achieved something outstanding, or who have given up their own time to make a real difference to other people’s lives.

I’m delighted that so many different people have been recognised at this year’s awards. It’s been really inspirational to hear all their stories and each and every winner thoroughly deserves this accolade.”

Some of the other highlights from the evening included 18-year-old James Pugh from Kirkby, picking up the Young Volunteer of the Year award. James helps to run AFC Kirkby football club, and has recently completed his Community Sports Leader Award for his work with the 2369 (Kirkby Air Cadets). He also recently gave up his time to volunteer at the international Tennis Tournament.

Meanwhile, Young Sports Person of the Year was Conor Rooney, one of the best young wheelchair racers around at the moment. He recently took part in the Typhoo National Junior Athletics Championships winning two Golds and two Silvers in his classification. His ambition now is to represent Great Britain in the Paralympics.

Another winner was Derek Hughes from Knowsley Harriers Athletics Club,  who was named Adult Volunteer of the Year. As well as acting as club secretary Derek also organises a monthly road race to encourage others to enjoy running. He recently helped raise funds for a life saving defibrillator by organising charity races.

Coach of the Year went to Barry Warriner, a well known figure on the local cycling scene and an active member of the Merseyside Wheelers Cycling Club for more than 40 years. Barry is currently the North West Region Cycle Coach Co-Ordinator, training four different groups as well as attending the Knowsley League meetings to offer advice and encouragement to all riders.

There were also awards for people who had greatly improved their health and wellbeing by increasing their physical activity levels. The Junior Active Achiever of the Year went to Maisey Martin, whose confidence has increased since joining the Step Up Dance group; whilst Lisa Jones from Woolton was named Adult Active Achiever of the Year. Lisa joined Knowsley Council’s Activity for Life programme after spending five months in hospital with one goal in mind: to run the Knowsley Active Challenge 5k run in May 2015. She achieved this and says she feels stronger and happier every day.

And Major Bob Dobson MBE was also awarded for the work he has done to preserve the heritage of local servicemen and women. Major Dobson, from the 33rd Signal Squadron, was the inspiration behind the recent ‘Preserving the Past with the Present for the Future’ which has resulted in a collections store at the Huyton Reservists base on Liverpool Road, and an exciting website loaded with information and resources.

Musical entertainment on the night came from young singer Chloe Collins from Lord Derby Academy; up and coming local band Skylights and the Evelyn Community Staff Choir. Meanwhile, the guests enjoyed a martial arts demonstration from Kuk Sool Won, dance from 12-year-old world champion Macy Donnelly, a Lord Derby Academy student. There was also a rousing performance from Kirkby’s All Saints Centre for Learning students who performed part of their production of Mamma Mia.

Download the full list of Knowsley Sports and Cultural Awards 2015 winners


Picture: Former St Laurence’s Primary School (Kirkby) head teacher Paul Cronin was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award for the work he did during his career to encourage school sport.