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With eight categories, 16 finalists and a vast array of local sporting talent; the sixth annual Blaby Local Sports Alliance (LSA) Sports Awards took place on Tuesday 24 November at Countesthorpe College. Sponsored by Glebe Garden Centre, the event recognises sportspeople, coaches and volunteers in the community who excel at making Blaby District the best place for physical activity.

One hotly contested categories was Young Sports Team of the year, with Thomas Estley Girls FC runners-up. This remarkable team became English champions for the second year in a row at the Madejski Stadium, Reading, while also winning the County Cup, South Leicestershire Championship, and were crowned Blaby and Harborough champions without conceding a goal.

However it was swim team Leicester Sharks who took the honour. The team racked up an incredible 233 medals in the Leicestershire ASA County Championships. Eight talented youngsters also competed in the British National Championships, while three took part in the International Children’s Games in the Netherlands.

Dodgeball side Leicester City Ligers took the title of Sports Team of the Year, becoming the first team to win the National Championship via the wildcard qualifying route. In other categories, 10-year-old running sensation Destiny Nicholson won Young Sportsperson of the Year. Lizzie Warner, who won silver at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa, was runner-up.

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In the Sports Person of the Year category, cycling prodigy Grace Garner narrowly missed out on winning the award for the second year in a row, with runner Nicki Nealon taking the honour. Nicki represented England Masters in the International Cross Country, winning silver and team gold. Alongside this, her victory in the Bridlington Half Marathon took her total number of race victories for local team Huncote Harriers to 298.

Richard Moore was given the LSA Special Recognition Award for 30 years of tireless dedication to Enderby Gymnastics Club, delivering sessions to over 60 gymnasts.

Councillor Sheila Scott, Chair of the Blaby District LSA, said: “This was one of the strongest years we’ve ever had and picking a winner for each category was incredibly hard! These awards are our chance to honour everyone involved in sport in this district, whether they are volunteers or at the pinnacle of their chosen sport. I’m so proud that we have such sporting talent in Blaby District and I hope they all continue their hard work long into the future!”

A recent survey carried out by Sport England has revealed that residents of Blaby District are amongst the most active in the country. The results, taken for all 326 local authorities within England, reveal that the district has the 16th highest rate of people aged over 16 who participate in sport at least once a week with 44.1% of people taking part in their favourite sport.

Sport England’s figures mean the district has the highest participation rate in Leicestershire, and a number that is nearly 10% higher than the regional average, highlighting how residents have excelled in sports participation.

The Journal would like to thank an anonymous donor for their generous donation.
Welcome to issue 440 of The Journal

As this marks the start of the 40th year of publication for The Journal, it is perhaps time for a brief look back at your community newspaper. The editorial from issue number 1 emphasised the community spirit in our local villages and how The Journal might encourage this - a sentiment with which we agree today. It thanked our advertisers for making the production of the paper possible, which also remains equally true. Finally, it encouraged everyone to vote in the forthcoming elections; although The Journal remains non-political, this advice is as sound now as it was then. Something else that hasn’t changed is the plea for more distributors to deliver The Journal - a problem even more pressing nowadays. The Save the Children Fund benefited in 1976 from the collections made by the Narborough Congregational Church and it benefits still from the generosity of local people, as reported by the Blaby Lions in this issue. Then, as now, we had a British Formula 1 racing champion, James Hunt, and British pop stars (such as Paul McCartney and Elton John) dominated the charts whilst the Rolling Stones performed at the Granby Halls. Other things were markedly different, however. The average weekly wage was only £72, mobile phones did not exist and nobody had a computer at home; petrol was 16p a litre and beer around 32p a pint. The year began with a flu epidemic, which led to the deaths of 24 people in Leicestershire. Rutland Water was officially opened. We had a long hot summer and an extended drought followed by floods, as opposed to last year’s cool summer and warm autumn followed by floods. We would welcome your reminiscences about 1976 and, in particular, we would like to hear from Yvonne Bailey or Andrew Smith who featured in our front page stories in the first issue of The Journal.

Blaby Sports Awards
Honours local sporting heroes
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