I first attended the Canterbury Academy Sports Awards a year ago and remember vividly how impressed I was at the calibre of the youngsters receiving nominations and awards. Having been involved in sports coaching for the best part of the last thirty years, I appreciate the time and effort it must take these young sports stars to compete, and succeed, at Regional, National and International levels.

This year’s awards were held in the main hall of The Canterbury Academy last week and they certainly pulled out all the stops again, as nominees from a whole variety of categories joined their parents, guardians, local sports club officials and distinguished guests to celebrate the students’ achievements from the previous twelve months.

There was a real sense of occasion from the second I walked through the doors, as I was escorted to my table by one of the Academy’s sixth form ‘hosts’. The hall quickly filled up with guests and you could feel the excitement and a sense of anticipation in the air.

It wasn’t all serious, though. There was a genuine sense of fun running throughout the awards ceremony.

As an introduction to the evening, a mocked-up ‘News Desk’ and ‘Youtube’ screen featured students as they reported on some of the achievements from the previous twelve months. A ‘roving reporter’ and his film crew mingled with the audience and interviewed some of the guests as they were being seated.

There was also a fantastic video montage from stars of sport and screen as they wished everyone good luck for the evening. When the likes of Jim White, Brian Lara, Jack Green and the legend that is Chris ‘Kammy’ Kamara are sending you their best wishes, you know you’re in for a good evening… and the star guests didn’t stop there…

This year’s special guest was none other than Linford Christie OBE (I did say they pulled out all the stops this year). Linford is a personal hero of mine and, to this day, is still the only British man to have won gold medals in the 100 metres at all four major competitions open to British athletes: the Olympic Games, the World Championships, the European Championships and the Commonwealth Games.

Throughout the evening, Linford was charming and enthusiastic as he handed out awards to the winners from each category.

Linford also addressed the audience with a fantastic motivational speech, praising the nominees, their coaches, teachers and parents – highlighting how key they all were to success in any sport or chosen field.

At the end of the Awards Ceremony, Linford was joined on stage by last year’s special guest presenter, John McAvoy, who had made the trip back down to Canterbury to be part of the evening again… a lovely, and well appreciated, gesture and testament to the fantastic impact The Canterbury Academy has on its students and the wider community.

 

A big ‘Thank you’ must go out to the organisers and sponsors of this fantastic Sports Awards Evening.

I thoroughly enjoyed my second visit to this incredible awards ceremony and would like to thank the staff, students and guests for making me feel so welcome. It was an honour to be invited along to such a prestigious event.

Congratulations to everyone who attended, from the nominees and winners to the staff, coaches and parents who make it all possible.

Please enjoy our gallery of images from the event and feel free to share this article with anyone who may be interested.