Shropshire has picked up two top prizes at this year’s West Midlands Community Sports Awards.
The event, which recognises the quality, commitment and dedication of grassroots sport across the region, was held at the University of Birmingham.
Penny Healey, from Shifnal, won the Aspiring Talent category, having collected 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.
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, was named Club of the Year.
They were among five finalists flying the flag for Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin at the event, compered by BBC Midlands Today presenter Nick Owen.
Gareth Stearn from Donnington, one of the many reformed addicts to have benefited from the Breaking Chains project, was 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.
Dene Muir of Ketley was 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.
And the Inclusively Fit project, based in Shrewsbury, was named as 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 were selected by county sports partnership Energize, based in Shrewsbury.
Energize chief executive Chris Child said: “All five of our 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.”
The West Midlands Community Sport Awards are run by the region’s six county sports partnerships, in partnership with University of Birmingham and BBC Midlands.