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North East sporting talent awarded for their dedication and success

The North East Disability Sport Awards (NEDSA) took place on Thursday 23 March, celebrating the continuing success of disability sport in the region.

The 14th NEDSA event recognised the incredible achievements of a wide range of clubs, coaches, schools and athletes across the North East. The event took place at Slaley Hall in Northumberland with over 200 guests attending the event, including the 100 nominees attending for the ten awards on offer.

Sunderland born swimmer and British, European and Olympic champion, Matt Wylie won the Male Personality award. The Young Female Achiever award went to Ellen Stephenson from Newcastle, who at 12 years old is the 100m IM champion and junior world record holder for the 50m freestyle.

Coach of the Year went to Gateshead based Ros Miller, who coached not only the athletes at her club, but also her son, Stephen, to a bronze medal at the Rio Paralympics last summer.

Participant of the Year was won by Richard Young from Gateshead who has battled three rounds of major heart surgery to win gold and silver at the Special Olympics, as well as two golds in cycling.

Gateshead based club, Angling 4 All won Outstanding Club/ Group Award for their efforts of how the club uses sport to promote inclusion and its focus on supporting individual development.

David Marrin, assistant director at Tyne and Wear Sport said: “It’s great to see so many individuals and clubs within our region getting nominated and recognised at the awards. It shows that the level of participation in disability sport is not only increasing but that it is getting more and more publicity, and we have some incredibly talented athletes locally.”

The event was organised by the four county sports partnerships in the North East, in association with Active Northumberland, with support from sponsors D&P Trophies, House of Type, Metro Rod North East, SMILE Through Sport, Transforming Culture and Rotary North East.


Take a look at the photos from the evening by clicking here.



Male Personality - Sponsored by Active Northumberland: Matt Wylie

It is an understatement to say that he has had a very successful 2016. He became British champion and holds the British Record for the S9 50m freestyle. He became European champion and went from 4th to 1st in the IPC world rankings. To complete his collection of titles he became Paralympic champion, clinching the gold medal by 0.04 seconds at the Rio Paralympics!


Female Personality - Sponsored by Active Northumberland: Jade Jones

The 2016 Female Personality winner had an exceptional year in 2016 setting personal best times in 4 distances in her chosen sport of Wheelchair racing and being ranked number 1 in the country in the T54 category in events including 400m, 800m, 1500m, 5,000m, 10K and the marathon. Her impressive season culminated in selection for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro where she competed on the track for Paralympics GB in 3 distances, 800m, 1500m and 5,000m.  Off the track she is an ambassador and role model for disabled and non-disabled young people.


Young Male Achiever - Sponsored by Rotary North East: Jamie Blott

Currently ranked as the country's number 2 in the S6/SB5 100m breaststroke. He competed in the British Para-swimming International Meet in Glasgow in April In November he won the gold medal in the English National Championships in Manchester which means that he has qualified for this year’s international meeting to be held in Sheffield. He is a young man with a great future ahead of him.

Young Female Achiever - Sponsored by Rotary North East: Ellen Stephenson

Ellen is relatively new to competitive swimming but this has not fazed her. In the last year, she has competed in both disabled and non-disabled events with her team. At the Downs Syndrome Nationals, she became the 100m IM champion. At the para-swimming nationals, she qualified for the women’s 50m freestyle, which is a huge achievement for a 12 year old. To complete her year of success, in December 2016 she became the Junior World Record Holder for the 50m freestyle.


Outstanding Club/Group Award - Sponsored by D&P Trophies: Angling 4 All

A relatively new club established in 2014. What stood out to the judges was how the club uses sport to promote inclusion and its focus on supporting individual development. The club’s committee comprises entirely of disabled people with its coaches and club members voluntarily giving up many hours to help their members develop the skills needed to participate in this very individual sport of angling. This commitment and the success of the club’s approach has also been recognised by the Jack Charlton Disabled Anglers Association through its awards. The club not only teaches the skills needed for angling but also helps develop self-discipline and comradeship between peers. The club has over 40 members and provides both participation and competitive opportunities. Its anglers are competing with distinction in disabled and non-disabled angling competitions have exciting aspirations for its future development and expansion.   


Team of the Year - Sponsored by House of Type: Middlesbrough Powerchair Football Club

The winner of the Team of the Year award were formed 5 years ago and have been competing in the national leagues championship division.  In 2016 they achieved their goal of the first team gaining promotion to the premiership division of the national league.  In the same season, the team was also crowned champions of the North East Powerchair Football League.


School Award - Sponsored by Smile Through Sport: The Sunnyside Academy

The winners of the 2016 School Award have had a remarkable year.  Of their 123 pupils with special educational needs and disabilities, 90% have taken part in a competition or after school club.  The school received funding for the Give it your Max disability tennis programme allowing visually impaired pupils access to weekly activity. The school works with local organisations such as Action for the Blind to provide a menu of sports activities for pupils to choose from. Not satisfied with providing opportunities for their own pupils the Headteacher organised a hearing impaired sporting event for 100 young people from across the region, leading to recognition at their local sports awards.


Participant Award - Sponsored by the 4 NE CSPs: Richard Young

A multi-talented individual competing in cycling, athletics and football. In his 25 years he has experienced many ups and downs including bullying because of his disability, loss of family members and three rounds of major heart surgery. In spite of this adversity he has excelled in sport and won a gold and silver medal at the Special Olympics last June. He added another 2 gold medals to his collection in the cycling competition later in the year.  His nomination stated that ‘sport has enabled him to make the transition from a young man looking for inspiration to a man who knows who he is and is confident to walk the path he wants to walk”.


Service to Sport - Sponsored by Transforming Culture: Susan Prasad

She has over 25 years experience as a technical official in swimming. She has progressed through county, regional, national and international competitions and last year was the technical delegate at the Rio Paralympic Games. She has been instrumental in ensuring swimming was included in college and university competitions and also tutors other officials coming through the ranks. She now sits on the World Para Swimming technical committee, a position which highlights the high regard in which she is held.


Coach of the Year - Sponsored by Metro Rod North East: Ros Miller

Our winner of the Coach of the Year Award 2016 goes to someone who has been coaching for over 20 years and in 2016 coached her son to a bronze medal in the Rio Paralympics. After a disappointing 2015, she kept believing in him and changed his throwing frame mid-season; a risky decision that paid off. Even though she has been coaching so long, her passion is as strong as ever and she juggles coaching her son with coaching a group of local athletes.