Devon Sports Awards 2013

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Neil Parsons with Sponsor Tony RoweOrganisers of the Devon Sports Awards, Active Devon and The Exeter Foundation proclaimed last night’s glittering ceremony a huge success as over 250 people came together to celebrate a year of sporting success across the county.   

Exeter and East Devon did particularly well winning five of the twelve categories including the coveted ‘Exeter Chiefs’ Outstanding Contribution to Sport Award, which went to Boxing Volunteer Neil Parsons.

Neil Parsons who founded Lympstone Amateur Boxing Club in 1968 was also announced the ‘Exeter Food Festival’ Senior Volunteer of the Year earlier in the evening.  Neil still volunteers at the club and is currently the clubs Secretary, recently raising over £73k to build an extension to the gymnasium in addition to raising £3k to get the Club's Middleweight Matt Mason to Sydney, Australia to defend his World Fire­Fighters Title. 

Neil spends 25hrs a week working on behalf of the club in addition to being an ABA qualified Judge and has supported over 2000 young people in the 44 years he has volunteered at the club.  Some have gone on to achieve national and international honours in the sport of boxing, hundreds of others have been diverted away from a life involving anti-social behaviour and criminal activity.

The judges felt Neil who has inspired, supported and changed hundreds of young people’s lives for the better, stood out not only for his outstanding contribution to sport over the last year but also over nearly half a century in Devon.

Exeter City Football Club was announced ‘Daikin’ Professional Club of the Year.  They are unique in being the only community owned, co-operative based club in the Football League and despite the constant struggle to hold the city's flag high on such an unequal playing field, the club has not only remained in the play-off zone within League Two but has raised over £17,000 for local charities.  Through the work of its 'Football in the Community' department, the club has made a positive contribution to the lives of over 40,000 young people. 

Exeter City’s Football in the Community ‘Creating Chances’ project also scooped first place in the Sportivate Project of the Year Category.  The project is a 6 week pilot project targeting young people and adults 16+ that are not in employment, education or training to participate in gaining a Level 2 Employability qualification, whilst learning the skills and techniques involved in becoming a Multi-Sport Coach.

Exeter Chiefs Tom Johnson took home the ‘Thrifty’ Professional Sports Performer of the Year Award whilst Plymouth’s Ruta Meilutyte was awarded the much coveted ‘Barclays’ Amateur Sports Performer of the Year.

‘Active Villages Project of the Year’ award went to Halwill Junction Archers.  Frank Bath utilised the Active Villages programme to set up a new archery club (Junction Archers) in a rural area, opening up the sport to a wide array of the community that had either never tried the sport or had to travel some distance to shoot.

Jumps Coach at Exeter Harriers, Kevin Skinner was named ‘Astley Media’ Senior Coach of the Year.   Kevin saw five of his athletes qualify for the English Schools Championships last season, and at the end of September 2012 the annual Open Multi-Events competition, which took place in Exeter, saw the top six places go to his athletes.

The ‘Exeter College’ Youth Coach category was awarded to Newton Abbots Jazmine Hervin who coaches a variety of different age groups and abilities. One of her many achievements included her year 9 girls team being crowned South Devon Football Champions with some of the players even being accepted into the Exeter City Girls Football Development Centre.

Allen Lewis was the worthy winner of the ‘Rokk Media’ Contribution to Inclusive Sport Award.  Allen is a qualified Referee in Disability Football and Founder of the Tavispecials Football Club. His extensive work over the last year has included raising over £50,000 for charity and he uses his every success to further those less fortunate than himself.

The ‘Bicton College’ Amateur Club of the Year Award went to Kingsley School Judo Club who run a successful open community club in addition to an Academy. Amongst the club’s various achievements, this year for the first time; two members finished the year on the Great Britain ranking lists taking 9th and 10th place.

Plymouth Leander Swimming Team was announced ‘South West Comms’ Team of the Year.  2012 was been a brilliant year for the Plymouth Leander Swimming Team as not only did they become the National Arena League Club Champions of England and Wales, but 5 of their athletes competed at the London Olympics, including another of the evening’s winners, Ruta Meilutyte. 

The full results from the evening were:

Active Villages Project of the Year 

  • 1st - Junction Archers – Torridge
  • 2nd - Chagford Cricket Club – West Devon
  • 3rd - Age UK Yoga – East Devon

Club of the Year (amateur) 

  • 1st - Kingsley School Judo Club – North Devon
  • 2nd - Barton Cricket Club – Torbay
  • 3rd - Honiton Running Club – East Devon

Coach of the Year (senior)

  • 1st - Kevin Skinner, Exeter Harriers Athletics Club – Mid Devon
  • 2nd - Lisa Kemp, Newton Abbot Swimming Club – Teignbridge
  • 3rd - Steve Squire, South Brent Judo Club – South Hams

Coach of the Year (youth) 

  • 1st - Jazmine Hervin, Football – Teignbridge
  • 2nd - Scott White – Exe Calibre Dragon Boat Club – Exeter
  • 3rd - Tom Vinall, Westward Ho! Tennis Club – Torridge

Contribution to Inclusive Sport 

  • 1st - Allen Lewis, Tavistock Specials FC – West Devon
  • 2nd - Paul Gray, Special Olympics – Exeter
  • 3rd - Jeff Rawlings, Twyford Spartans – Mid Devon

Professional Club of the Year

  • Winners – Exeter City Football Club

Professional Sports Performer of the Year

  • Winner – Tom Johnson (Exeter Chiefs)

Sportivate Project of the Year

  • 1st - Creating Chances (Exeter City FC) – Exeter
  • 2nd - Torbay Surf Life Saving Club – Torbay
  • 3rd - Ivybridge Community College & Mountbatten Centre - Plymouth

Sports Performer of the Year (amateur)

  • 1st - Ruta Meilutye, Swimming – Plymouth
  • 2nd - Jay Thompson, Gymnastics – Torbay
  • 3rd - Tom Daley, Diving – Plymouth

Team of the Year

  • 1st - Plymouth Leander Swimming – Plymouth
  • 2nd - South Dartmoor U16 Hockey Team – Teignbridge
  • 3rd - Newton Abbot Swimming Club Senior Squad - Teignbridge

Volunteer of the Year (senior) 

  • 1st - Neil Parsons, Lympstone Amateur Boxing Club – East Devon
  • Joint 2nd - Dave Turner, Exeter Saracens RFC – Exeter
  • Joint 2nd - Sue Whiffin, East Devon County Netball Association - Exeter

Volunteer of the Year (youth) 

  • 1st - David Morris, Devon Golf Partnership – Plymouth
  • 2nd - Chantelle Prowse, TAS Netball Club – Torbay
  • 3rd - Becci Helliwell, Cullompton Community College – Mid Devon