Winter 2011-12 Annual Cross Country Awards Presentation

AFC Hornchurch Friday 20 July 2012  

Good evening everybody and welcome on behalf of Havering Mayesbrook Athletic Club to the annual presentation of the cross- country awards. Once again, we are grateful to our friends from AFC Hornchurch for allowing us to use this very pleasant facility.

The awards are being presented this evening by Club President, Kevin White. Kevin has been associated with the Club for more years than he cares to remember and has served the Club with great credit over the years as athlete, coach, team manager and mentor. Thank you Kevin for being with us. As ever, the respective team managers have selected most of the winners.

The 2011/2012 cross-country season was once again a successful one for the club. League and County medals and individual titles were won and there was excellent representation at inter-counties and at national level.  I would like to mention just some of the events in which Club athletes performed with credit during the season. In no particular order, these included the Essex Relays, Essex Schools, Inter-Counties, National Cross-Country Championships, the South of England Championships, the Eastern Counties Championships, the UK European Championship Trials, the Home Countries International, Essex County Vets Championships, the London Marathon and the London Mini Marathon. Many, many of the Club’s athletes – young and not so young – were involved in these events. We can be extremely proud of the achievements of all of them.

Weather wise, the winter sport is much more demanding on all concerned than track and field and the club’s coaches, team managers and parents should also be congratulated for making sure that athletes got to the starting line on time fit and well to wear the Club vest with such distinction.

There are two categories of award this evening – in each age group we have the Club Best Performance Award and also the Team Member Award. In addition, we have one other award later on and also, a special presentation.

We are going to start with the oldest age group and work our way down to the youngest. Ladies first and we start with the Club Best Performance for Lady Vets Vets and it goes to an athlete who showed great improvement on previous years finishing in the top-25 in each Essex League race and taking 6th place overall.  ANGIE THOMPSON.

The Team Member award in this category goes to another dedicated athlete winning this award for the third year in succession. Ever reliable and supportive of her teammates, she competed in every race she was able to, improving race by race. She cannot be here this evening as she is on holiday. The winner once again is  JANE HALLAM and we have asked Ann Drew, one of the Club’s Life Vice Presidents and no mean athlete in her day to collect the award on Jane’s behalf.

The next award is for Club Best Performance by a Male Veteran and it goes to another athlete who is a regular at this event, winning the award for the fifth consecutive season. He again showed his class with a consistent set of results in the Essex League culminating in 2nd place overall in the Vets 40 category. He was one of the Club’s only two seniors to take part in the National Championships and finished with over a thousand runners behind him. His best performance of the season was taking the silver medal in a hard fought contest in the Vets County Championships at Chigwell. MATT BLAND.

The winner of the Team Member award for male vets was one of the few team members to represent the Club in all five of the Essex League fixtures. His drive and determination should be an inspiration to all of us. PAUL BERRETT.

Returning to the ladies, we come to the Club Best Performance award for Senior Ladies and it goes to a young lady who also improved throughout the season – 3rd in the first League race, 2nd in the next two events and then winning the 4th race. Overall she finished second behind Jessica Judd – no mean performance. The winner is ALEXA JOEL.

The Team Member award for senior ladies goes to an athlete who was always ready to compete for the Club and had a great season finishing in the top-8 in all four League races, finishing 4th overall. She also placed 6th in the County Championships. VICKY SMITH

Returning to the men and the winner of the Senior Men’s Best Performance award. Injury and university commitments robbed the Club of this athlete’s talents in previous seasons but this time around he returned to compete n four rounds of the Essex League. In doing so, he took the silver medal in the final standings, the highest position a senior Club athlete has achieved for many years. We hope that he will stay injury free in the future and help the team to further honours. The winner is  GRANT TWIST who, sadly, is stuck in London and cannot be with us but his award will be collected on his behalf by one of the Club’s senior coaches, Pat Gahagan.

ITheSenior Men's Team Member award, goes to an athlete whose determination to improve was evident in all five rounds of the Essex League. In each event, he moved higher up the field until in the final race at Orion, he achieved an excellent 16th place. A great competitor to have in one’s team. IAN ANTHONY.

We come now to the Team Member award for Junior Men and it goes to a young man who has yet to show his full potential in the senior ranks but whose encouragement to his fellow juniors has to be admired. A member of both relay teams and he also won an Eastern Counties relay medal. MASSI DENDANI.

The Club Best Performance Award for Under-17 Women goes to an athlete who ran in numerous cross country races and also represented Essex in the Southern Counties and Inter Counties competitions. She finished 4th overall in the Essex League and 6th in the County Championships and we wish her the best of luck in her second year in the age group in the forthcoming cross country seaso. ISABELLA WOODS.

Two young ladies who ran in an equal number of races over the season and who have both competed regularly for the Club over a number of years share the Team Member Award in this age group this year. They finished 8th and 14th respectively in the Essex League series and 10th and 15th in the County Championships.. BETHANEY HALL and LINDSAY McLACHLAN.

The Club Best Performance award for under-17 men goes to a young man who had an excellent cross country season and who still has untapped talent to burn. He won all five Essex League races taking overall gold and also won individual gold in the Essex Championships, the Eastern Counties Championships and the Essex Schools Championships.. HOSEAH GIKUNGU.

The Team Member award for under-17 men goes to a young athlete winning the award for the second year in succession. He had another consistent season in the League and was a vital member of the team. He finished close up in the Essex Championships and took team silver in the Essex League. TOM BRENNAN.

We come now to the award for Club Best Performance for under-15 girls. This award goes to a long-standing Club member who trains extremely hard and always strives to better her performances. She finished 2nd in the Essex League, 3rd in the County Championships and also represented the Essex County and Essex Schools teams. The award goes to LYDIA HALLAM who is on holiday so it will be collected on her behalf by coach, Eileen Naylor.

The Team Member award in this age group goes to a young lady who shows much commitment when training and in competition. She ran in all five of the Essex League races and finished 20th overall. She also competed in various other races and as she moves into her second year in the age group, we wish her well for an even better season LOUISE LEAR.

The Club Best Performance award for under-15 boys goes to a young man who had a splendid cross country season. He was 9th overall in the highly competitive Essex league, a fine 22nd in the Essex Championships and 8th in the Eastern Counties Championships and part of the gold medal winning team. EDWARD THOMPSON.

The Team Member award in this age group goes to a young athlete who has overcome a serious leg injury to get back competing. When the cross country season started, he was part of a sprints group but decided to do a full cross country season and gave 100% in every race. He was part of the gold medal winning team in the Eastern Championships and had a good run in the Essex Championships. SAM DELL.

We have reached the youngest age group and come now to the Club Best Performance award for under-13 girls. This year it has been won by a young lady who, in her first year in the age group, showed great promise for the future. She finished 8th overall in the Essex League and competed in numerous other competitions for the Club. She trains regularly and, with normal improvement, could have a brilliant season this winter. EMILY MARSHALL.

The Team Member award in this category is shared this year by two young athletes who competed equally in races during the season. One finished 11th in the Essex League series and the other 14th. Both are regulars at training and show a real commitment to the Club at all times. We wish them well as they move up to the under-15 age group. AMY BAGGS and GEMMA ARCHER-HALEY

The Club Best Performance for under-13 boys goes to a young man who in his first full season for the Club improved race by race eventually finishing 15th overall in the Essex League. He ran well for 20th place in the Essex Championships and was a member of the bronze medal winning team in the Eastern Championships.  AARON WESTWOOD.

The Team Member award for under-13 boys has boys has been won by a young man who also had a solid first full season. A fine example of a good team member, he was 21st overall in the Essex League and ran well in the County Championships. The Team Manager concerned has tagged the winner ‘steady Eddie’ and he is EDDIE RUDGLEY.

We now come to the first of the special award where the winner has been selected by the Club’s Management Committee. The Committee can elect each year to make a special presentation to someone who has excelled when competing outside the League structure – for example in prestigious County, Regional and National Championships. The award this evening is for the Best Performance by a Woman in the age group  under-20 – veteran and it goes to a Club stalwart. who has worn the Club vest with great success for many years and of whom the Club is very proud. She had yet another successful cross country season but the award is for her performance in the London Marathon. This year was a return to marathon running for her after a seven year break yet she posted an impressive time of 2hr 49secs, a new best by a Club veteran. Overall she was third in the Women’s 40 category and 9th overall among non-elite women. She has been a fine ambassador for the Club and fully deserves this award. As luck would have it, she is in the North of England this weekend competing in a coastal race but we will look for a suitable opportunity to hand over the trophy. The winner is DEBBIE APPLETON.

… and finally, we have a special presentation to make. By way of explanation, I need to go back to early in 2011 when the Club was approached by Virgin, sponsors of the London Marathon, to meet with some senior people from that organisation to discuss ways in which the London Mini Marathon could be the catalyst for some form of fund raising for charitable purposes.

Club representatives spent many hours in discussion with Virgin representatives and it was decided that the Havering Mini Marathon team should be invited to raise funds for a carefully selected local charity through participation in the 2011 event.

Then, just a few weeks before the deadline to get the young people involved, all communication with the Virgin organisation went dead. Clearly, the fund raising wasn’t going to happen and several weeks later, we received a letter stating that legal issues prevented the exercise proceeding. There was no hint of an apology to the Club or to the young people concerned.

As you might imagine, having selected and had to disappoint a local Havering charity, we weren’t prepared to let the matter drop and, eventually, a shame faced Virgin organisation were persuaded to present the charity concerned with a cheque for 2000.

We also made a commitment to the charity to try to raise funds this year (not through any large corporation) but through the direct efforts of one of the Club’s coaches, Claire Richards, who was planning to run the London Marathon and through the young athletes selected to represent the Borough of Havering in the Mini Marathon. Without any obligation to get involved, each member of the team was asked to consider raising a small amount of sponsorship from family and friends for the charity concerned. Claire raised her funds mainly through friends in and out of the workplace and family.

The charity concerned is called ADD-UP and it operates from Billet Lane in Hornchurch. ADD-UP stands for ‘Attention Deficit Disorders – Uniting Parents’ and it is a support and action group for parents of children with ADHD. They are a friendly group of parents and children from all walks of life who share a common thread – they all live with ADHD, a disorder that affects the whole family framework and not just the individual with the disease.

As with all small charities, funding is crucial and, in these difficult times, every penny is important and put to good use. We are pleased to have with us this evening four representatives from ADD-UP, Sheila Keeling, Lyndsay Marsh, Rebecca Kelly and Martin Kelly and we would like two of that group to come to the front and receive a cheque being presented by Claire Richards, and Emily Marshall and Aaron Westwood on behalf of the Mini Marathon team. Between them, they raised another 1,310 to help ADD-UP in their very important work.

Incidentally, Claire had another excellent run in the London Marathon finishing in 4 hrs 22 secs.

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