Monday evening's function at Upminster Golf Club again proved to be a highlight of the Borough's sporting year. Diving coach John Whitby was M/c for a 27th consecutive year. The long-established Havering Sports Council Awards Presentation Evening has honoured local sports participants since the mid-'60s and has been at Upminster Golf Club for over 2 decades. The function was sponsored by McDonald's Restaurants of Romford.

It was held in the presence of Her Worshipful The Mayor of Havering Councillor Stephanie Nunn who was accompanied by Madame Mayor's Consort Councillor Barry Mugglestone, Andrew Rosindell MP for Romford and Havering Greater London Authority Member Councillor Keith Prince.

Awards presented :

JUNIOR SPORTS COMPETITOR-OF-THE-YEAR (Sponsored by West & Coe Funeral Directors) Presenting this award was Mr. Jeremy West MBE

Winner was :

HOPE McSHEFFREY. Hope made her name as a goalkeeper during 8 years with Tigers Junior Football Club, who were runners-up at our 2022 Awards Evening. At one time she was the only girl in her team and in its League - but ladies football has enjoyed much increased popularity ever since. Hope was part of the "She Can Play" project at Noak Hill Girls Development Club before joining Arsenal's Under 16 team following a successful trial. Impressive progress continued as Arsenal were unbeaten in both the Under 16s League and prestigious Football Association Youth Cup. Going unbeaten in entire League season had only previously been achieved at Arsenal by their men's 1st team in 2004. In a memorable season she only picked the ball out of the net 4 times. The FA Youth Cup was won on penalties after a shoot-out against Manchester United in which Hope saved 2 penalties. In 2022 she made a National squad and 2023 brought International recognition with 5 caps at Under 16 level including away fixtures in Portugal and Sweden. 2023 also saw elevation to Arsenal's Under 21 squad on a 2 years' contract and appearances in the Women's Academy League. She made her Under 17 International debut again Germany in September and was selected for the Under 17s European Championships in Hungary during November. Hornchurch based Hope attends the Sacred Heart School, who are proud of her achievements. Mary Earps clearly has a serious contender coming through the ranks.

SPORTS COMPETITOR OF THE YEAR (Sponsored posthumously by former respected Councillor Denis Breading). The award was presented by his widow Mrs. Mary Breading, former Honorary Treasurer of Havering Sports Council

Winner was Peter Brinton-Quinn.

In April his 2023 athletics season was quickly into top gear with a javelin throw close to his career best from the previous year. Before the season ended, this mark was to be twice further improved. His season's first medal came with a javelin gold at the Essex County Athletic Association Championships in May and a month later he defended his South of England title. Two weeks' later he added an England Under 23 silver medal to his growing collection. After finishing 6th in the UK Senior Championships in Manchester he gained another silver medal - this time in the England Athletics Senior Championships at Chelmsford in July. In the 2023 National Under 23 Rankings he occupied 2nd position. Competing for Havering Athletic Club in 3 National League fixtures he was a winner in all appearances. Standing out was a throw of 66.76 metres at Chelmsford which saw him move closer to his Club's record of 70.80 metres, which is now clearly within his sights.

DISABILITY SPORTS COMPETITOR-OF-THE-YEAR (Sponsored by the Beadle family). Presenting the award was Mr. Martin Beadle

Winner was :

OLLY BEADLE. Olly is a 24 year old dyspraxia and autism sufferer who has committed himself to tennis since aged 7. He belongs to his local Cranston Park Club in Upminster and also nearby Brentwood Tennis Club, where he normally plays or trains 4-or-5 times a week - in all weather. He's part of a Lawn Tennis Association's National Learning Disability Squad who organise training weekends and stage tournaments around the UK. Olly plays in these competitions and also in higher mainstream tournaments to gain more experience. An incredible 2023 has been his best to date starting when accepting an invitation to appear in the inaugural Learning Disability Australian Open where he returned home with a hard earned bronze medal in the men's singles. A gold doubles medal came his way in March at a regional event at Gosling and another Gold a month later in the singles at Pershore. In May he won 2 mainstream Fast Clay tournaments in Sutton. He travelled to Vichy in France on representative duty for the Lawn Tennis Association at the Virtus Global Games where he gained a bronze in the doubles and earned a 5th in the World position for singles competition. He was runner-up in mid-Summer indoor tournaments at Buckinghamshire and at Sutton. Local tournaments at his 2 Clubs saw him emerge as a singles winner both times. He made his debut on grass at Wimbledon in a "Play Your Way" learning Disability Tournament during August - winning on a tie-break against the World No.2 player, who Olly had never previously beaten. Olly currently is our No.3 UK ranked player and No.5 on the World list. If this isn't enough, Olly attends a gymnasium twice weekly, swims once a week and plays 5-a-side football. On Saturday mornings he passes on his "know how" as a coaching assistant and is working towards achieving Level 2 tennis Instructor status.

SPORTS VOLUNTEER-OF-THE-YEAR (Sponsored by former Mayor John Mylod) Presenting this award was John Mylod.

Winner was :

TREVOR WELLS. Trevor has over 30 years of active volunteering involvement since joining Havering Athletic Club in 1990. He has dedication, knowledge and expertise in athletics and goes above what's expected of him. Trevor supports others in an approachable and friendly way. A former international he qualified as a jumps coach and over the years has coached many to successfully follow his footsteps, including his son who has competed for Great Britain. He currently coaches a group of senior athletes who compete for Havering AC in the National and Southern Leagues and also in National and International events. Trevor has been a Committeeman for much of his time at the Club, with many years service as Coaching Co-ordinator. As his Club's facilities Co-ordinator Trevor took a lead role in managing the actions needed for a return to training post Covid. He was Club President in 2000/2001 and now has Vice-President status. He's the main volunteer who manages contractors and organises periodic mandatory surveys and inspections which are necessary to maintain UK Athletics accreditation. Trevor manages his Club's athletic equipment and deals with new and replacement ordering.

SPORTS TEAM OF THE YEAR (Sponsored by BATS of Ilford) Presenting the award was Mr. Spencer Seaton

Winner was :

ROMFORD GOLF GOLF CLUB CADET SECTION. They have firmly established themselves as the top youth Golf Club in Essex. A 42 strong Section ranges from 8-to-18 in age and in ability from +4 to 54 handicap. Their 2023 success is based on regular academy classes and over 100 competitions competed in at Club level. A number have represented Essex Under 14s and Under 16s in County teams and also appear in Open competitions. Scratch players compete in National events with great success as well as abroad where 3 played in the Faldo Series Final. One member made it to the final qualifying rounds of the famous British Open. For a 2nd successive year their Youth Scratch Team won the prestigious Essex County Youth Shield. A girl member recorded a Romford Golf Club ladies course record and was the "Essex Clubs Junior-of-the-Year". The Club is proud to see beginners and new members advance to 10 and 18 hole competitions so soon after starting out at 4 holes as part of their "Junior Pathway". The year end saw a prize giving lunch with 148 attending to celebrate an amazing year for the cadets of Romford Golf Club.

SENIOR SCHOOL TEAM-OF-THE-YEAR (Sponsored by Brentwood M & E Services Limited) Presenting this award was Mr. Simon Fell.

Winner was:

REDDEN COURT UNDER 13 FOOTBALL TEAM. Throughout a memorable season the team enjoyed an incredible run towards victory in the England Schools Football Association Cup, Havering Cup and the Essex Cup. They played 24 games during this period, winning 23 and losing just once - and that on penalties. For those who love statistics, their win ratio in all competitions was an incredible 95.8% during which they scored 86 goals and only conceded 16. The highlight was a dramatic English Schools final against West Derby School from Liverpool, which saw a 3-2 victory. Redden Court were in the driving seat when Mason Demuth netted a brace before 2 set-piece goals within 7 minutes levelled the match. A prospect of penalties loomed deep into injury time before Neo Lieu-Smith unleased his brilliant strike into the bottom left hand corner sending players and supporters into raptures. As a famous commentator once said, "It's all over - it is now".

PRIMARY SCHOOL TEAM-OF-THE-YEAR (Sponsored by former Mayor Melvin Wallace who is the Chairman of Havering Sports Council and presented the award)

Winner was :

GIDEA PARK PRIMARY SCHOOL YEAR 5/6 GIRLS FOOTBALL TEAM. They got their season off to a great start with a 12-0 friendly win after which they never looked back. The Havering Cup commenced in Group Stages, which they topped before the format switched to knockout ties. They successfully negotiated the knockout stages and a tense play-off round to achieve a hard earned place in the final, in which they became Havering Under 11 champions. This earned them a spot as Havering's representative team in the London Youth Games in which they gave a good account of themselves, proving a match for opponents. An exit from this competition was deemed unlucky but nevertheless all were immensely proud of their achievements. For good measure the season ended with another decisive 7-1 win in a friendly. The entire squad are keen to pursue their football participation, so we're sure to hear more of their achievements.

PETER BRUCE LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD (Sponsored by McDonalds Restaurants of Romford) Making this final presentation was Andrew Rosindell MP.

This trophy is in memory of much missed long-serving Havering Sports Council founder member and Past President Peter Bruce. We've had a "Lifetime Achievement Award" since 2001 and this year is only a 2nd time the adjudication Sub-Committee have declared a tie - so each recipient will hold this trophy for 6 months.

Joint winners are :

TERRY FISHER. We welcome Terry back to this function as he attended 2 years' ago when Hornchurch FC emphatically were our Club-of-the-Year. It's with this Club that Terry has been a committed volunteer throughout times both good and not so good. He has an impressive job title of "Facilities Manager" but in reality is much more than that as he's acknowledged as the "heartbeat" of the Club. Terry assists all users of Hornchurch Stadium including Havering Athletic Club and the Local Authority who stage many sporting events there. He's so helpful he often drops whatever he has planned for himself to assist in any way possible when late commitments arise. He's done all this for over 23 years. Terry prepares the ground on match days and clears up afterwards - in sun, rain, wind and even storms. During the week he's doing unglamorous but essential tasks, such as tidying-up the premises, emptying litter bins and sweeping out changing rooms. In short he does everything, and all in voluntary capacity. He's a true gentleman and not only helps Hornchurch Football Club but also its neighbours as he strongly believes all sports clubs should get on well with those in their proximity. All tasks are undertaken with a genuine smile on his face. He possesses both a sense of humour and a kind nature. There's no doubt both Terry and his Club would be proud to be recognised.

and :

JILL WRIGHT.  Jill has clocked-up 40 years continuous active membership of Upminster Hockey Club. During this time she's been a long time dedicated Committee member who manages matches for 7 ladies teams during every week of a each long season. Jill has talents as a fixtures planner - a most onerous task - and also produces an annual fixtures booklet. Jill is Divisional Representative for "Essex Hockey" and also a long a term Committee member whose wise counsel is seen in her role as Chairman of Selectors. The past 20 years has seen her officiate as an Umpire, in which role she's risen to Level 1 status. She currently umpires at Olympic Park youth tournaments. Indeed Jill frequently plays in a match - then quickly travels to another venue to umpire later that day. Twice Jill's been Upminster "Club Person-of-the-Year". It's deemed impolite to mention a lady's age, but I'll tell you that in 5 days Jill is to celebrate a milestone birthday as the age of 70 is reached. Why is this even mentioned you ask? It's because an always active Jill still plays in goal for one of her Club's teams and, what's more, sometimes twice a week. How does Jill fit it all in?

Her Worshipful The Mayor of Havering, Councillor Stephanie Nunn, then addressed the gathering, before President of Havering Sports Council, Mr.Jeremy West MBE made a concluding speech.

There was then a short charity auction conducted by the Havering Sports Chairman Melvin Wallace, for 4-ball golf rounds donated by both Romford and Upminster Golf Clubs.

The function ended with an enjoyable buffet.