Virtual awards salute sporting stars of 2020

Source: News Journal

Sporting stars from across the area were celebrated at the annual Mansfield Sports Recognition Awards.

The awards, which have continued thanks to the work of the Armchair Club, were held online for the first time because of coronavirus restrictions.

It was a good night in particular for Mansfield Harriers Athletic Club — as it celebrates a full return to Berry Hill Park ­— 776 Gymnastic Academies and the sport of ice skating.

Mansfield ice skater Rebecca Gillespie was named Sportsperson of the Year.

The figure skater ended 2019 with a top four place at the British Championships and during a difficult 2020 was placed on the national development team by British Ice Skating.

She is now landing triple combination jumps in practice and has also started work on the triple axle jump, which has never been landed by a British woman.

Rebecca was invited to open the World Junior Synchronised Skating Championships 2020 in Nottingham and during lockdown has helped other young skaters, including with training at Berry Hill Park, Mansfield.

After hearing of her win at the awards on Zoom, Rebecca, who trains at the Lammas Leisure Centre rink in Sutton as well as in Nottingham and Sheffield, said: “Thank you so much, wow I can’t believe it. It means so much. In my whole skating career I have not had anything like this. It means a lot.

“I won the British Championships when I was 14 and this is a similar, wonderful feeling.

“2021 has been a tough time for everybody with eight or nine months of no ice time.”

Fellow ice skater Callum Mills was named Disabled was named Disabled Sportsperson of the Year.

He won gold at the British Championships for free skating, free dance and pairs and repeated his success at the Scottish Championships.

Callum, who also trains at the Lammas rink, revealed at the awards that he has been selected to represent Team GB at the Special Olympics World Winter Games 2022 in Russia.

Mansfield Harriers’ Lauren McNeil was named Junior Sportsman of the Year.

She ran for England Under-20s in January and was placed third, despite being three years younger than most of her rivals, and has been invited on to the UK talented athletes scheme.

Harriers’ chairman and coach Pat Carlan was named Volunteer of the Year and coach Richard Massey won the Roger Copestake Mayor’s Special Achievement Award.

Richard’s virtual training sessions during coronavirus lockdown that developed into including international athletes were highlighted by the judges.

To complete the Harriers’ success at the awards, it also scooped the Club of the Year accolade while the Under-11 Girls’ Cross-Country Team — Amelia Arbon, Lily Mason, Florence Kenney, Maisy Slack and Charley Whysall — was named Team of the Year after winning all its six Notts Mini League matches and won the Nottinghamshire County Championships.

The Coach of the Year Award went to Jessica Walters, head coach at 776 Gymnastic Academies, while the academies’ Nations Team was named Junior Team of the Year.

School Games organiser Nicki Biggs praised the Armchair Club for ‘saving’ the awards and celebrating sport at a time when many areas had cancelled their awards nights for 2020.

The Armchair Club is a group of local businessmen that has been backing local sports clubs and individuals for many years. Now it has taken over the organisation of the awards, which this year were supported by Mansfield District Leisure Trust and the Mansfield, Ashfield and Warsop News Journal.

Nicki revealed that the winner of the Junior Sports Leader of the Year Award was Becky Cartwright.

A surprise award was made to Bill Taylor, who is retiring from the Armchair Club after more than 30 years’ service. He was made a patron of the organisation.
Sally Callaghan-Wetton, from Fidler & Pepper Lawyers, one of the sponsors, said: “It was a great event and it was really good to see these things still going ahead even when it’s a challenging time. People do need something positive to focus on.”

Peter Herniman, of sponsors Pinders Opticians, added: “What a brilliant night at the sports awards. It was a great job via Zoom.”

New floodlights for athletics track

Source: News Journal

Mansfield Harriers Athletics Club members are to benefit from state-of-the-art flood lights at its track in Berry Hill Park.

The £47,000 lighting scheme is to be funded by England Athletics, the Harriers, and £15,000 each from Mansfield District Council and the Radford Foundation, a charity set up by Mansfield Town Football Club owners John and Carolyn Radford to give a helping hand to the local community.

Harriers have also received support from The Armchair Club,  a group of local businessmen backing local sportspeople and organisations.

Coun Andy Burgin, portfolio holder for environment and leisure, said: “The new lights will be a big improvement for the track now leased to the Harriers and just one of various improvements the council is putting in place since taking over the management of Berry Hill Park as trustees.

“As well as being a boost for the activities of the Harriers, their lit training sessions will also make the park more accessible to the wider public in the evenings.”

Pat Carlan, chairman of the 100-year-old athletics club, said: “This refurbishment of the floodlights will make a huge difference and allow our athletes valuable extra training time. It will make the facility useable at night.

“We are very grateful to the council, the Radford Foundation and England Athletics in making this new lighting possible.

“It’s vital at this time as health and wellbeing is paramount.

“It opens up opportunities for exercise and enables people to exercise in the evening as well as the daytime”

Nik Springthorpe, trustee of the Radford Foundation, added: “Mansfield Harriers has children from all age groups and adults training with them, so to upgrade the floodlights and allow them to use the track during the evening is great for the community.”

Pictured are from left, Nik Springthorpe, Pat Carlan and Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough. 

PHOTO GALLERY: Second Mansfield Charity Swimathon a success

Source: News Journal

Fundraisers to recieve trophies as charity swimathon tops £4,000

Source: News Journal

It has been revealed that the second Charity Swimathon organised by the Rotary Club of Mansfield and the Armchair Club has raised more than £4,000 for charities and good causes.

The event, held in October at Water Meadows Swimming and Fitness Complex, Mansfield, was attended in person by the town’s Olympic swimming champion, Rebecca Adlington, and her daughter, Summer.

They were among the swimmers, together with individuals and teams from business, charities, a school and Sutton Swimming Club.

Now trophies are also being handed out to the star swimmers and fundraisers on the day.

The president of Mansfield Rotary Club, Kate Allsop, said they were delighted through the joint initiative with the Armchair Club to have raised £4,038 for local charities, particularly in the “most difficult time” of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I am sure that your readers will want to join in in a heartfelt thank you to everyone who helped to raise this staggering amount during the pandemic.
“Local charities know that there are people in the community who care very deeply.”

The swimathon was held at the Water Meadows Swimming and Fitness Complex, Mansfield.

Half of the money raised by each team of up to six went to their chosen cause — an organisation or charity — with the remaining 50% being shared by Mansfield Rotary Club Benevolent Fund and the Armchair Club Sports Foundation Trust. The Armchair Club is a group of local businessmen who have been providing financial support for local sports people since 1982.

A further £750 was raised via commercial sponsorship, which covered the operating costs and meant that all the swimmers’ fundraising went to good causes.
The Armchair Club particularly praised the efforts of Sutton Swimming Club, which received four awards.

Trophy winners were:

Individual Most Lengths — Ethan Potter.
Individual Most Sponsorship — Callum Mills.
Team Most Lengths — Sutton Swimming Club.
Team Most Sponsorship — Sutton Swimming Club.

Individual Most Lengths — Harry Arnold.
Team Most Lengths — Wynndale Primary School, Mansfield.
Team Most Sponsorship — Wynndale Primary School, Mansfield.

Individual Most Lengths — James Taylor.
Individual Most Sponsorship — Emma Dalman.
Team Most Lengths — North Notts Hockey.
Team Most Sponsorship — Notts Women’s Aid.

Sutton Swimming Club also received the Organisation Special Award.

The event was sponsored by Education Mutual, HW Martin Waste, I-Sourcer, Kath Jephson, Smart Digital, Mansfield and Ashfield 2020, Mansfield 103.2 and Jane Box.

Charity swimathon back for second year

Double Olympic gold medallist Rebecca Adlington has launched the second Charity Swimathon in Mansfield, urging people to take part and raise money for good causes across the area.

The event is again being hosted by Mansfield Rotary Club and the town’s Armchair Club, which supports sporting individuals and clubs. It is being supported by Mansfield District Leisure Trust, which donates pool time and provides lifeguards and staff support.

Among the swimmers will be Rebecca as well as Commonwealth Games competitor Elliot Clogg. Organisers are hoping that Paralympians Charlotte Henshaw and brothers Ollie Hynd and Sam Hynd will be taking part — all of whom have been supported by the Armchair Club in the past.

Rebecca, a patron of the Armchair Club, said she was delighted to have been asked to support the first Swimathon in 2019, which raised more than £2,500.

Elliot, a 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist, swam 46 lengths at the first Swimathon and aims to return for 2020 after the disappointment of the cancellation of the Tokyo Olympics. Charlotte, a Paralympics and world silver medal winner, returned to the pool for the 2019 Swimathon after switching from swimming to Para kayaking.

Fifty per cent of the money raised by individuals ­— who swim in 15-minute time slots — or groups will go to the charity of their choice and the remaining 50 per cent will go to the Rotary and Armchair clubs for the Mansfield Rotary Club Benevolent Fund and the Armchair Club Sports Foundation Trust.

The Swimathon will take place at the Water Meadows Swimming Complex, Mansfield, on Saturday, 10th October, from 5pm to 9pm.

Full details of how to enter, sponsor a swimmer or help out are at

People are being urged to:
Swim as an individual
Swim as part of a team from their business
Swim as part of a family and friends team
Swim as part of a charity team
Sponsor a lane for £50
Sponsor one of the ‘pros — Rebecca Adlington, Elliot Clogg or Charlotte Henshaw.

Rebecca, who launched the Charity Swimathon 2020 at virtual breakfast meeting of Mansfield and Ashfield 2020, said: “I hope that you will be able to take part in some way. Why not come and join me at Water Meadows in October?”

The Armchair Club has now paid out more than £250,000 to help local sportspeople since it was formed in 1982.

A spokesman for the club and Mansfield Rotary Club added: “Please support our efforts to show the up and coming sports stars of the future that their community is behind them.”

Taken from the September 2020 edition of the News Journal