Sports stars, volunteers and coaches honoured

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Unsung heroes from grassroots sport in Burnley were honoured at the town’s annual Community Sports Awards.

Olympic gold medallist Tessa Sanderson was the star guest who presented the awards and passed on her words of wisdom.

Burnley Sports Awards - Brian Fenn Community Award : Burnley Parkrun

Burnley Sports Awards - Brian Fenn Community Award : Burnley Parkrun

She was the latest in a long line of inspirational former athletes to recount their amazing experiences to the current crop of aspiring sports stars and coaches.

The former javelin thrower and heptathlete competed in a record six Olympic Games, winning a gold medal in the javelin event in 1984.

Anthony Preston, chairman of Burnley Leisure Trust board, said: “That journey to greatness, that pinnacle of sporting achievement, starts right here – in the swimming pools, playing fields and sports halls where people devote their time to sport – through coaching, volunteering, fund-raising, or organising.”

Recognised with a Lifetime Achievement Award was Allan Clarkin who has been coaching kick boxing at the Black Knights Club for 45 years.

Burnley Tennis Club was named Community Club of the Year in recognition of its full and adult and junior coaching programme.

Dave Burley, of Hakuda Thai boxing Gym, was named Coach of the Year for his dedication of many hours a week to the gym.

Frank Entwistle, a player and official at Lowerhouse Cricket Club for 35 years, was named Adult Volunteer of the Year.

The young recipient of this award was Megan Riley who did not allow a serious trampolining accident to stop her from participating in the sport she loves. She is now an inspirational member of Volunteer Burnley.

St Mary Magdalene RC Primary School and Thomas Whitham Sixth Form were named Community Schools of the Year.

Aneila Afsar was tipped as a Rising Star in the Taekwondo world. The Team GB member has her eyes firmly fixed on the 2016 Olympics.

The Health Champion award went to Barbara Marshall who promotes healthy lifestyles for people with Parkinson’s Disease.

The Burnley Parkrun team won the Brian Fenn Community Award for their volunteer work to the weekly Towneley Park runs which have seen more than 3,500 people complete the route in the last three years.

And last, but not least, Joshua Walne was recognised for his service to disability sport.