The ActiveWestminster Awards were celebrated in fine fashion this year. Held at the Lords, the Home of Cricket, the ground proved to be a fitting venue for the wide array of talent that was on display.
Entering into the reception area, guests were greeted with the sweet euphony of Mariah Carey’s ‘All I want for Christmas is You’. Except this was better. Why? Because it was sung not by the American singer-songwriter but rather, The Blend Choir who were in fantastic voice. The choir’s singing set the tone for a wonderful evening that aims to recognise the achievements of local residents who have changed lives through their outstanding contribution to physical activity, sport, and leisure.
Cllr David Harvey, Westminster City Council Cabinet Member for Environment, Sports and Community commented: “The ActiveWestminster Awards give us an opportunity to celebrate the people and organisations whose inspiring work in sports and leisure makes a real difference to the community.
“The services they provide and their remarkable dedication has an untold impact on the quality of life of people in our city. It is important to recognise their outstanding contribution.
“I am proud that sports and leisure in Westminster continues to go from strength to strength as we help residents to live healthy, active lives.”
Hosted by the vivacious David Garrido of Sky Sports, the awards ceremony kicked off to a flying start after the hypnotic dance routine from a duo of Step Change Studios. The list of achievements of every individual and group shortlisted embodied the message of the evening: to increase physical participation in the city. Ranging from mental wellbeing to reducing the risk of cancer, the benefits of physical activity are insurmountable. Of course, no one is expected to train six days a week for six hours a day like 19-year-old table tennis champion Tin-Tin Ho (who won the ‘Champion of the Future’ award), but as little as one walk each day can make a huge difference.
Host Garrido was ably supported by two highly decorated athletes-cum-guest presenters Ashley McKenzie and Constantine Louloudis MBE. McKenzie, a judo Commonwealth gold medallist who recently took home a silver medal at The Hague Grand Prix last month, was given the responsibility of handing over the presentation’s first award of the night. The winner of the ‘Active Place or Space’ award went to the Paddington Recreation Ground or ‘The Rec’ who have seen 1.3 million people pass through its gates for either passive or active recreation. A local to the area, it was clear how much McKenzie enjoyed handing these awards to its worthy recipients.
The other host, Constantine Louloudis is a man of many talents and disciplines. An Olympic gold medallist, Louloudis since moved onto merchant banking at Goldman Sachs before becoming a part of the startup cult in San Francisco. Speaking to KCW Today, Louloudis applauded the accomplishments of today’s winners: “they have all worked incredibly hard,” said Louloudis “their achievements deserve to be recognised like this.” Donning his Olympic training gear, Louloudis presented the second half of the awards, including the ‘Active Coach’ award that was delivered to Alex Smart. Smart is coach to Hampstead and Westminster Hockey Club juniors, which has seen growth from just 10 children to over 350 in less than five years.
There was a brief aberration in the evening’s festive cheer to commemorate the untimely passing of Mariam Sabir this year. Mariam, a 19-year-old applied medical sciences degree student, as a volunteer to disabled children and even at such a young age, was a role model to other participants and coaches. This year’s ‘Active Volunteer’ award was fittingly renamed the ‘Mariam Sabir Award’.
The presentation concluded in much as the same way as they began: to rapturous applause and cheers for all those shortlisted in this year’s Awards. Final congratulations go to all of this year’s winners and best of luck to all involved for next year!
The full list of awards and winners:
- Active Place of Space: Paddington Recreation Ground
- Active School: George Eliot Primary School
- Active Club: Hampstead and Westminster Hockey Club
- Active Inclusive: Community Club Westminster
- Active Volunteer: Mariam Sabir
- Health, Wellbeing and Community Project: Open Age, Positively Physical Project
- Champion of the Future: Tin-Tin Ho
- London Youth Games: Westminster Boating Base
- Active Coach: Alex Smart, Hampstead and Westminster Hockey Club
- Outstanding Contribution: Master Ali, Koryo Taekwondo Academy
Step Change Studios provide engaging opportunities for disabled and non-disabled people to dance. For those interested in participating, their details can be found below:
Phone: 07976 363861