A PACKED Artrix crowd witnessed some unbelievable achievements in sport, the arts and communities at the 2016 Spirit of Bromsgrove awards.
There was some fantastic entertainment prior to the event and during the interval from the Nancy Butterfly Clog and Morris Dancers, The Night Watch’s from Bard to Verse and Vintage Class.
On the stage during the night was Gymfusion performing the Olympic Story from London 2012 to Rio 2016. the Orchestra of St John and Vintage Class.
The show itself was excellently compered by the Bread and Butter Theatre Company which had the audience laughing throughout – in between the presenting of the accolades.
THE OPENING award – Outstanding Sports Person – went to Geoff Thomas. The former England footballer has battled back from chronic myeloid leukaemia and, to mark ten years in remission, he led and inspired the ‘One Day Ahead’ challenge last year which saw a team of 11 cyclists ride the Tour de France over 21 days to raise close to £1million for the cause.
Next up was the Outstanding Sports Club won by Bromsgrove Gymnastics Club. The organisation teaches more than 150 children on a weekly basis and successfully took part in the National British Gymnastics displays in 2014 and 2015. It also finished in the top three for Club of the Year at the British Gymnastics National Awards in 2014.
The head coach of the juniors and ladies’ sections of Bromsgrove Hockey Club Alan Gormley won the Outstanding Sports Coach award. He has increased the number of juniors to over 200 registered attendees in the last three years and was responsible for promotions for the ladies’ 1st and 4th XI. He also inspired women to return to hockey, which led to England Hockey labelling Bromsgrove as a ‘model club’.
The Outstanding Sports Volunteer was won by Lorraine Aspland who, as a key member of Bromsgrove Hockey Club, tenaciously led the ‘Astro 4 All’ campaign to get Bromsgrove its new 3G astroturf pitch, enabling the town’s teams to play hockey in Bromsgrove for the first time in 20 years and making the sport more available to the wider community.
The final sports award – Outstanding Community Project – went to Make it Like Mandeville, a project aimed at empowering disabled people to take part in sports as part of the London 2012 Paralympics Games. It has led to more than 125 disabled people becoming more active.
THERE were five arts awards up for grabs and the first one was won by Pat Tansell. She was named Outstanding Arts Individual because of her enthusiasm and general interest which sees her being involved in so many different arts projects and groups in Bromsgrove. As well as being a valued staff member at Bromsgrove Library, she is also vice chair of the Bromsgrove Society, is a committee member on the Housman Society, volunteers at Avoncroft Museum and attends numerous WORDS events, concerts and local history lectures.
The Boys Make Noise group – an organisation to change culture and encourage more to take part in a singing group – won the Outstanding Youth Arts Organisation. A number of boys – especially those with learning disabilities – have increased their self-esteem because of the group.
The Outstanding Young Person in the Arts award went to Emily Bridge who has been a young volunteer at Bromsgrove Library since 2013. Her bright and cheerful demeanour has made her a popular face with library customers. As part of the annual Summer Reading Challenge, she listened to young readers, increasing their confidence.
Jim Page, who has been a champion of the arts in Bromsgrove for many years, was awarded The Mary White Lifetime Achievement Award in the Arts. Jim has always been a champion of the arts in Bromsgrove and is the outgoing chairman of the Housman Society after almost 30 years at the helm. If it had not been for Jim, Bromsgrove would not have the varied arts community it has today.
The final arts award went to the rejuvenated Bromsgrove Festival. The event scooped the Outstanding Arts Organisation accolade after a new group took over the organisation in 2013. They were unsure what would happen but the new format has brought together more arts in the town than ever before and it now offers so many activities for all ages and tastes.
IN THE final category, Mohammed Naeem Arif was presented with the Outstanding Community Individual accolade for his work on the Bromsgrove Muslim Community Trust and on the Bromsgrove Welcomes Refugees group. He was praised for his selfless commitment, passion and spirit to do good for the community and his work has helped bring diverse communities closer, build networks and support refugees.
The Outstanding Young Person in the Community award went to Dan Owen who volunteers and supports a number of YMCA projects in Bromsgrove. He is the chair of the youth committee which advises and determines how Bromsgrove’s youth clubs are run.
Dodford Children’s Holiday Farm won the Outstanding Youth Community Organisation title. The farm has provided enjoyable holidays or day trips to 1,500 underprivileged or disabled youngsters in the last two years. It also provides volunteer opportunities for young people undertaking Duke of Edinburgh, Prince’s Trust and other community volunteering projects.
The Safer Bromsgrove award went for the district’s Association of Neighbourhood Watches which provides support, advice and practical help to tackle crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour. Numerous residents nominated the organisation because of its crime prevention in the community. The award, in particular, celebrated the contribution made by chairman John Ellis. He, on the evening, paid tribute to the work done by the late councillor John Tidmarsh for his work and dedication to Neighbourhood Watch in Bromsgrove.
The last award of the evening – the Outstanding Community Organisation – went to the Starlight Cafe and Community Centre in Charford. The staff are people-centred and treat everyone as individuals, listening to and acting upon their needs. The volunteers, many who have learning difficulties, are valued members of the staff team and gain real work experience.