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Paralympian Caroline lifts borough sports award

Monday, 27th September 2010.

Paralympic athlete Caroline Mclean won the Sports Personality of the Year award at the 2010 St Edmundsbury Sports Awards, held on Sunday evening.

Caroline, 35, from Haverhill, is a veteran of three Paralympics - Sydney, Athens, and Beijing. She has represented Great Britain in wheelchair basketball for 15 years, all while working full time. Caroline was also nominated in the Triumph Over Adversity Award category.

The St Edmundsbury Sports Awards, run each year by Abbeycroft Leisure, recognise outstanding sporting achievements made by sports men, women and juniors throughout the year and to celebrate the huge amount of work that takes place within sport in the borough of St Edmundsbury.

Sunday's glittering awards ceremony was held at the Bury St Edmunds Corn Exchange in front of 300 guests including the High Commissioner of Rwanda, Mr Ernest Rwamucyo.

This year’s theme for the awards was Rwanda as Bury St Edmunds will be home to a number of athletes from the Rwandan Olympic and Paralympic teams in 2012 as they prepare for the Olympics.

The event was opened by an African drumming group and dancers from King Edward VI Upper School in Bury St Edmunds.

Caroline was presented with the award by Rick Wildridge, chairman of Haldo Developments which sponsored the award. She was nominated by her trainer and friend Mandy Felton.

Mandy said in her nomination: “To reach this level Caroline has had to train early mornings and nights, sometimes travelling 200 miles to get to training twice a week, not getting home till the early hours of the morning and then getting up at 6am for shooting practice before going to work.

"She is so strong and dedicated and never moans about anything, she just gets on with it. Caroline is a true sports person that deserves recognition for all she stands for.”

Terry Wright from West Suffolk Swimming Club who teaches at Haverhill and Bury St Edmunds Leisure Centres won the Unsung Hero Award.

When Terry’s eldest daughter joined the West Suffolk Swimming Club he was quick to offer help. Now all four of Terry’s daughters and his wife swim with the club and Terry has become an irreplaceable volunteer.

When a broken lane holder reel prevented the club using anti-wave ropes Terry dismantled it, took it to his workshop, and repaired it and the club was back in action within five days.

Despite having dyslexia, Terry self-funded a UKCC level two coaching award and is now part way through his level three swimming coach qualification.

He is a volunteer coach on poolside for up to ten hours. Terry is also a keen fund raiser and, just 18 months ago, he and his family raised £1,000 for the club in a sponsored swim.

Other nominations from the Haverhill area included:
Unsung Hero Award - Kevin Woolcott from Haverhill Gymnastics Club, Peter Betts from Haverhill Rovers Football Club.
Triumph Over Adversity - Tom Cole from West Suffolk Swimming Club.
Coach of the Year - Kevin and Sarah Woolcott from Haverhill Gymnastics Club, Luc Bailey from Haverhill Rovers Under 13s, Phil Ward from the West Suffolk Swimming Club (which meets in Haverhill and Bury St Edmunds).
School of the Year - Chalkstone Middle School, New Cangle Primary School.
Senior Team of the Year - Mount Pleasant football team in Haverhill.
Lifetime Achievement - Keith Limon, a former Haverhill PE teacher who now works for South West Suffolk School Sport Partnership.
Sports Personality of the Year - Peter Betts from Haverhill Rovers Football Club, Barry Lumm and Gavin Taylor from Mount Pleasant football team

Winners of the St Edmundsbury Sports Awards go on to the Suffolk Sports Awards in October hosted by Suffolk Sport. If they are successful there they could be put forward for BBC East Sports Awards.

Michelle Banfield-Curran, Abbeycroft Leisure’s sports development officer who organised the awards, said: “We are delighted for Caroline and send her our congratulations. We also congratulate all the Haverhill clubs and sports men and women who were nominated for an award. They truly deserve recognition for their sporting achievements.

“We are grateful to all those who nominated sports people from across St Edmundsbury for an award. The awards give the people of St Edmundsbury a chance to celebrate the outstanding sporting achievements and performances of individuals and teams at local, regional, national and international level.”

The awards could not take place without the support of sponsors who will present the awards on the night. These include: Body and Mind Studio, Buffera, St Edmundsbury Borough Council, Tesco, Bury St Edmunds School Sport Partnership, West Suffolk College, Frames Conservatories Direct, Unison, Towergate Risk Solutions, Baker Tilly, the Bury Free Press and Haverhill Echo, and Haldo Signs and Graphics.

Haverhill Online News

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