Shropshire stars bidding for regional sporting glory

Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin is in the running for five prizes at the West Midlands Community Sports Awards this week.

Newport Cycling Club is inspiring young people
Newport Cycling Club is inspiring young people

The event, which recognises the quality, commitment and dedication of grassroots sport across the region, is being held at the University of Birmingham on December 6.

Penny Healey, from Shifnal, has been shortlisted in the Aspiring Talent category, having won a string of archery awards at the age of just 13 and become an ambassador for the #ThisGirlCan campaign.

“Hopefully if I can keep working hard I will soon fulfil my dream of firstly shooting for GB, and secondly of becoming an Olympic medallist,” she said.

Dene Muir of Ketley is among the contenders for the Coach of the Year prize. He leads 90 inactive people through the Couch 2 5k programme – something which changed his own life when he signed up in 2014.

Newport Cycling Club, which has earned praise this year for its ‘Breaking Chains’ project helping people in addiction recovery, as well as launching ‘banish boredom’ sessions for young people, has been nominated for the Club of the Year award.

Gareth Stearn from Donnington, one of the many reformed addicts to have benefited from the Breaking Chains project, is among the nominees for the Power of Sport award.

He says his new-found passion for cycling has improved his health and self-confidence, and he is currently studying towards a British Cycling level one coaching qualification.

And the Inclusively Fit project, based in Shrewsbury, is a finalist in the Community Project of the Year category.

It has launched a new Special Olympics Network in Shropshire, and works with a host of organisations to help people with disabilities to lead a more active lifestyle.

All the county nominees have been selected by county sports partnership Energize, based in Shrewsbury.

Energize chief executive Chris Child said: “All five of these finalists are shining examples of the way in which sport and physical activity is actively improving lives.

“We work very hard to promote and celebrate the broad range of ways in which activity and sport are being used to have a positive impact on the wellbeing of local communities.”