Unsung heroes recognised at sports awards

THE first Shields Gazette Sports Awards were a night to remember as rising and established stars from South Tyneside came together to pay tribute to each others' achievements.

The evening was held in partnership with Mortimer Community College, and proved a big hit with hundreds of sportsmen and sportswomen at the event.

A celebration of sporting achievement across the borough, the evening highlighted the number of talented teams and individuals putting South Tyneside's name on the sporting map.

It also paid tribute to those who work so hard behind the scenes to make sure that grassroots sport is alive and kicking in the borough.

John Szymanski, editor of the Shields Gazette, said: "My congratulations go to all the nominees and winners.

"It was an excellent night, and helped to throw the spotlight on what a very talented and highly committed group of sports people we have in South Tyneside.

"They have reached an extremely high standard in their chosen field and those tremendous achievements were duly recognised."

The Gazette received hundreds of nominations for every category, and over the weeks our panel of judges whittled the entrants down to a shortlist, before the difficult job of choosing the winners.

Among the victors were South Tyneside Elite Gymnasts, who scooped both the Team Award and the Overall Sports Award.

High performance coach Ian Said enthused: "It is brilliant to win these awards, and is reward for all the hard work.

"It's a real honour, and we are delighted to have done so well."

The winners in full:

TEAM AWARD: South Tyneside Elite Gymnasts

JUNIOR TEAM AWARD: Mortimer Cheerleaders Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4

SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: South Tyneside Gymnasts Trio

JUNIOR SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: International junior skier Emma Peters

COACH/MENTOR AWARD: Cheerleading coach Rachel Lynch

CONTRIBUTION TO DISABILITY SPORT AWARD: South Tyneside Football Trust

SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR: Gymnast Steven Gilmore

SPORTSWOMAN OF THE YEAR: Footballer Demi Stokes

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: Boxing coach Martyn Devlin

OVERALL SPORTS AWARD: South Tyneside Elite Gymnasts

EDITOR'S AWARD: England Women's Rugby vice-captain Katy McLean