Published: 14:25, 23 December 2018
| Updated: 07:45, 03 January 2019
Boxing referee Ian John-Lewis and Winter Paralympic gold medallist Charlotte Evans were both inducted into Medway’s Hall of Fame.
John-Lewis has risen to the top of his game. After hanging up his gloves he stayed loyal to the sport, becoming the youngest A star referee and going on to become the first black British boxing referee to officiate a heavyweight world title fight. He has an excellent reputation in world boxing.
John-Lewis said: “I didn’t expect this, it’s fantastic. I’m Medway born and bred, coming from Strood.
“Sport has been so good for me and this is amazing.”
As guide for visually-impaired skier Kelly Gallagher, Evans won gold in the women’s Super-G at the 2014 Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
“I’m really proud to receive this award,” she said. “It’s a massive honour to put Medway on the map, especially for a sport that not many people know much about.
“It’s made me even prouder to have represented Medway.”
Evans also joined the judging panel for the awards this year, and those on the panel will testify her enthusiasm for promoting Medway’s sporting talent.
“I will continue to make sure that we champion sport in our area and support everything that’s being showcased,” she added.
“It’s such a positive thing that Medway can provide this. It happens every two years and it gives us a chance to recognise what amazing things people do in Medway.
“It’s proved exceptional what people are doing over so many different sports and it shows what can happen when you give people a chance in sport.”
They join the likes of Andy Hessenthaler, Paul Nihill and Liz McVeigh in the Hall of Fame.
The awards were sponsored by Bubble & Scruff and organised by Medway Council’s Medway Sport team.
ROLL OF HONOUR
Sportsperson of the Year sponsored by Esquire Developments - Gold: Rachael Burford. Silver: Caz Rawlings. Bronze: Jake Frame.
Junior Sportsperson of the Year sponsored by Bubble & Scruff - Gold: Karol Itauma. Silver: Elena Hamblin. Bronze: Zara Obamakinwa.
With his sights now set on the Toyko Olympics in 2020, Itauma told the audience: “I came back from Sheffield this afternoon after a three-day trial for the squad. Tokyo 2020 is my dream and I’m going to push towards it.”
Club of the Year sponsored by Kent Sport - Gold: Anchorians FC. Silver: Medway & Maidstone AC. Bronze: St Mary’s Boxing Club.
Anchorians chairman Leigh Willis said: “Not every kid can be the next big player for Gillingham – most just come along and have fun with their friends and that’s what we are about.”
Junior Club of the Year sponsored by Spire Alexandra Hospital - Gold: Kent Crusaders Basketball Club. Silver: Medway Mermaids Synchronised Swimming Club. Bronze: Wigmore Cycling Club.
Kent Crusaders coach Adam Davies said: “We’re really shocked. The club has grown so much in the last couple of years."
Team of the Year sponsored by Redrow Homes - Gold: Holcombe HC ladies 1st XI. Silver: Tornadoes Korfball Senior team. Bronze: Medway RFC men’s 1st XV.
Part of Holcombe's achievement was winning the EuroHockey Trophy, and they are now looking ahead to next year’s event which will be hosted at Holcombe in April.
Coach Leigh Maasdorp said: “We’d like to retain our title but it’s just great to be hosting the competition in Medway. We’d love to have as much support there as possible.”
Junior Team of the Year sponsored by Medway Messenger - Gold: Champion Aerobic Gymnastics Club - GBR team members. Silver: Medway District under-11 girls football team. Bronze: Medway Assassins inline skater hockey team.
Champion Aerobic Gymnastics Club head coach Christina Fossheim said: “It’s not an Olympic sport but it’s a combination of fitness and power, and takes parts from other gymnastic disciplines.
"We’re a new club to the area and it’s great working with the children.”
Coach of the Year sponsored by Kent Sport - Gold: Eddie Orgee. Silver: Mark Roughsedge / Jonathan Waite. Bronze: Alex Woolmington.
Eddie Orgee said: “I enjoy seeing the kids win their first medal, then some more after that, and seeing how they progress and develop through the ranks. It’s great for the club.”
Official of the Year sponsored by Countryside Properties - Gold: Ann Hopkins. Silver: Zoltan Szotyori. Bronze: Russ Saunders.
Hockey umpire Ann Hopkins, from Gillingham Anchorians, said: "I can’t believe that I’ve beaten five other amazing umpires and officials – I’m speechless.
“I couldn’t have done it without my family. Hockey and rugby lead the way in how players respect their officials and other sports could learn a lot from that.”
Unsung Hero of the Year sponsored by Kent Sport - Gold: Dan Gower-Smith and Gary Smith. Silver: David South / Leigh Willis. Bronze: Gordon Stone.
Dan Gower-Smith and Gary Smith, the event directors at Great Lines parkrun, took home the Unsung Hero of the Year award.
The duo are out every Saturday, come rain or shine, to organise the event, along with their band of volunteers.
They said: “Great Lines parkrun is about the community, it’s not just the runners. You can walk, jog and volunteer. Some of those who join us every week don’t run but they are still part of our community as well.”
Primary School of the Year sponsored by Greenacre Sports Partnership - Gold: Lordswood Primary School. Silver: Warren Wood Primary School. Bronze: St Mary’s Island Primary School.
Lordswood headteacher Jayne Lusinski said: “The school is positive about sport. We engage the children in new sports – we’re doing archery this year.”
Secondary School of the Year sponsored by Bellway Homes - Gold: Greenacre Academy. Silver: Chatham Grammar School for Girls. Bronze: The Rowans.
Greenacre Academy headteacher Shelly Bridger said: “The award is brilliant news for our school. We make sure sport is taught at GCSE level to every student.”
More by this authorMatthew Panting