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Weekly Edition - Publication date:- 2016-11-24

-en Southport & Mersey Reporter

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Grassroots sport and physical activity stars celebrate alongside Merseyside's Rio 2016 athletes

LAST Friday, 18 November, saw the Rio-inspired Merseyside Sporting Champions Dinner 2016 take place at iconic sporting venue, Aintree Racecourse. The event recognised the county's sporting talent, plus the people who make sport and physical activity happen here on Merseyside.

Following Rio 2016, this year's event also featured appearances from several Olympic and Paralympic VIP guests, all of whom were honoured during proceedings.

Guest speaker and Paralympic table tennis player Jack Hunter Spivey gave an emotional, candid and heart warming speech which took the audience on a roller coaster of tears and laughter. He left the audience with one overriding thought on the night - "If your dreams aren't scary then they're not big enough" and, speaking after the event, had this to say:- "As winner of the 2010 Merseyside Sporting Champions Dinner it was an honour to be asked to speak at this year's awards. It was both amazing and emotional to be able to talk about realising my dream of becoming a Paralympian. And to receive a standing ovation was an incredible feeling."

Meanwhile Rio 2016 Para-cycling Gold medallist Lora Fachie (n' Turnham), who took part in a Q&A session with the other 5 Rio 2016 athletes attending commented:- "It was fantastic to see so much sporting success in Merseyside this year, from grassroots to international level, and to see everyone to get the recognition they deserve. I was honoured to present Roy Jones with his Lifetime Achiever Award, as he truly deserved it and overall I really enjoyed helping everyone celebrate their success."

Nominees and guests had flocked to the event from across Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St. Helens, Wirral and beyond to hear the winners being announced.

10 awards were handed out in all during the evening. They included Community Sports Project of the Year, sponsored by WEALTH at work; Primary and Secondary School of the Year, sponsored by Sonex; Young Sports Person of the Year, sponsored by LJMU Sports Scholarship Scheme; and Young Volunteer of the Year, sponsored by Sport Liverpool. Full details of all the winners will shortly be available online.

The prestigious annual event is run by not for profit organisation, Merseyside Sports Partnership (MSP), one of 45 County Sports Partnerships in England. The organisation connects local organisations, people and investment together; unlocking the power of sport and physical activity to empower Merseyside's residents to be active for life.

Speaking about the event Jean Stephens, Director of Merseyside Sports Partnership said:- "It was a great honour and a privilege to witness the amazing talent on Merseyside taking to the stage for this year's awards. It was also incredibly heart warming and inspiring to be able to hear from some of Merseyside's Olympians and Paralympians during proceedings. The whole evening proved that the combination of aiming high, dreaming big and having a life long support team around you is the perfect recipe for achieving your goals."


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