Iconic underdog Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards to host this year’s Burnley Active Community Awards

Iconic underdog Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards is to host this year’s Burnley Active Community Awards.

By John Deehan
Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 11:39 am

The annual celebration – formerly known as the Burnley Community Sports Awards – will feature three new categories when they return to their traditional July date following last year’s disruption caused by the pandemic.

The awards pay tribute to those who show dedication at a range of sporting, health, and wellbeing activities at all levels, and those who work tirelessly to support individuals or community clubs, for the love of the sport or their community.

Edwards captivated the nation with his exploits at the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary, Canada, where he came last in the 70m and 90m contests but won national admiration for his determination to overcome adversity and compete in the first place.

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Eddie 'The Eagle' Edward is presenting this year's Burnley Active Community Awards. Photo: Getty.

He has since ridden the wave of public popularity by becoming a public speaker and media personality.

He has appeared in nationwide advertising campaigns and has even had a film made about his life story that saw him become the first Briton to compete in Olympic ski jumping.

Andrea Pollard, Events and Partnerships Manager at Burnley Leisure and Culture, which organises the awards, said: “We invited Eddie to host because he personifies determination. He never gave up and always had his sights set on making his dreams a reality.

“The success of the film back in 2016 really makes him well known to all our audience, young and old. He’s such a likeable character and his story of how he overcame adversity is relevant now more than ever after everything our communities have faced over the last 21 months.”

This year’s awards will be held at the Burnley Mechanics Theatre on Thursday, July 7th.

The three new categories are:

- Active Workplace of the Year – for local businesses that have gone above and beyond to support employees’ physical health and wellbeing

- Health and Wellbeing Award – shining a light on those supporting others with their health and wellbeing

- Burnley Together Partnership Award – showcasing a project with a wide variety of partners working seamlessly to benefit the community in their physical and/or mental wellbeing

The other awards are:

- Young Achiever of the Year – recognising talented performers aged 21 and under who show exceptional dedication and aptitude to their sport

- Contribution to Active Communities (Individual) – for going above and beyond to support others to participate in physical activity

- Contribution to Active Communities (Group) – as above, but recognising a group’s contribution

- Coach of the Year – recognising an individual who has selflessly given up their time and invested their expertise to help those interested in sport and active lifestyles to improve their skills, confidence and realise their full potential

- Club of the Year – recognising a thriving organisation that has showcased it is proactive and well-governed, working hard to retain and attract new participants

- Primary School of the Year – for going above and beyond to support their pupils' physical and mental health, providing varying opportunities for all to access provision, regardless of their ability

- Secondary School of the Year – as above

- Volunteer of the Year – given to a volunteer (aged 14+) who has given up their free time to promote and support active lifestyles in a non-coaching capacity at a traditional sports club

- Lifetime Achievement Award – for an individual who has shown a consistent lifetime’s commitment (more than 20 years) and made a major contribution to community sport and active lifestyles within Lancashire

Nominations opened on January 17th with applicants asked to reference three criteria – the impact of their work, relevant achievements, the barriers they have overcome to recover from the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Burnley Leisure and Culture is now seeking award sponsors for this year’s prestigious event in addition to headline sponsors Birchall Foodservice, a catering food and drink supplier based on Burnley Bridge Business Park in Hapton.

Packages cost £600 and sponsors enjoy a wide range of benefits, including two complimentary tickets, pre-event refreshments with host Eddie the Eagle; their company name, logo and information on their sponsored award, event literature and website; access to the VIP area and complimentary drinks throughout the evening along with the chance to present their award and receive a commemorative sponsor’s trophy.

Andrea said: “We’d like to thank Birchall Foodservice for their continuing support, having been a Burnley sports awards sponsor for a number of years. We never stint in showing our appreciation to our sponsors because they are helping to spread the word about the amazing work that goes on at grass roots level in our communities.”

If you’d like to be a sponsor of this year’s event, please contact Andrea Pollard on 07776 250 281, or email her at: [email protected]