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Inspiring Caernarfon teen wins national Wales Sport Award

A young wheelchair tennis star will be recognised for her voluntary work in sport by receiving the Inspiring Young Person accolade at the Wales Sport Awards 2018.

Caernarfon teenager Fran Smith has put in hundreds of volunteer hours despite her struggle with chronic fatigue and other health issues.
Fran, 19, will receive the accolade at the Wales Sport Awards 2018, held at the Celtic Manor on December 4.

The Cardiff Met student is well respected in the world of disability sport, including wheelchair basketball, tennis and boccia.

Volunteering is a family affair and Fran credits her caring nature to her mum, Deb Bashford, a wheelchair user herself and passionate sports volunteer.

“She’s taught me so much in life” explained Fran, whose mum also won a Volunteer Award at the Wales Sport Awards two years ago.

She added: “When you grow up with a severely disabled mother who never lets anything stop her, you think why should I let anything stop me?”

The mother and daughter duo often spend time together helping at Caernarfon Celts wheelchair basketball club in their Gwynedd hometown.

Her proud mum added: “I encouraged Fran to get involved, but she took it to the next level.

“At just 19 years old, she has gone above and beyond what I could have ever imagined. It is mind blowing. I am so proud of her.”

A few years back, inspiring teen Fran said she “hit rock bottom” in her life, but volunteering and competing in wheelchair tennis helped her through it.

She explained: “I didn’t know what to do with my life and I never want other people to feel the way I did when I was at my lowest point.”

Coach, volunteer and mentor Fran proudly sits on the Disability Sport Wales Youth Board to help inspire others.

According to Gwynedd Disability Sport Wales Officer Marcus Politis, she has “maturity way beyond her years.”

He said: “Fran is a stand-out volunteer and with her commitment to local, regional and national projects, she has developed into a model professional.”

Her university agrees. Dan Heggs, Head of Department and Principal Lecturer in Psychology at Cardiff Met added: “We are delighted that Fran has been recognised for the fantastic attitude she displays day to day and the time she gives to volunteering and ultimately enthusing others to engage with sport.

“She is a very inspiring individual and I’m confident that she has a successful future ahead of her.”

Sarah Powell, CEO at Sport Wales added: “Yet again, we have a very high standard of community award winners who demonstrate the amazing work happening in grassroots sport.

“I have no doubt that hearing about these groups and individuals will help motivate and inspire others to enjoy sport and the many opportunities it offers.”

For more information about this year’s event, visit www.walessportawards.co.uk or follow #WSA2018

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L2Uob5JAm10

 

Local coach runs away with national Wales Sport Award

Carmarthen coach Aled Jones-Davies has today been named Community Coach of the Year for his dedication to Taf Running and Orienteering Team (TROTs).

The award will be presented at the Wales Sport Awards 2018, celebrating the best of elite and grassroots sport in Wales at Celtic Manor on Tuesday 4 December.
Club member Yvonne Davies has praised the hard work of local ambassador Aled.

She nominated Aled on behalf of the club, for encouraging them and helping them improve their running.

She explained: “He has brought sport into the lives of many through his tireless work. I’m not the fastest runner, but Aled has always motivated me to train and race.”

Yvonne also thanks Aled for helping her daughter Ffion, who has cerebral palsy and epilepsy, find a passion for running.

She continued: “Ffion has been fully integrated into the junior group and Aled helps her do the activities like all the others, but just adapts some for her.
“She absolutely loves the club and cannot wait for Thursday nights.”

“His decision and hard work setting up the junior sessions and working with local schools shows his passion for the future of the sport.

“He is giving children opportunities otherwise not open to them.”

The Community Coach of the Year Award recognises the outstanding contribution of a coach in getting more people started, enjoying and succeeding within community sport.

Builder Aled has not only used his spare time to grow club membership but also to promote the sport to the wider community.

He re-introduced the Cilycwm fun run two years ago, something he loved taking part in as a child before it stopped.

The now-annual event helps to raise thousands of pounds for Llandovery Community Hospital and other local causes.

On top of all this, he helps marshal at the local Parkrun – including a Christmas Day special event.

Chris Davies, Direction of Parkrun Wales added his recognition for Aled: “It’s wonderful that he has received this accolade which not only recognises his dedication to coaching but also for volunteering his support for Parkrun.

“Without his help, and other volunteers like him, it simply couldn’t flourish as a major influence in a happier and healthier Wales.”

Sarah Powell, CEO at Sport Wales said: “Yet again, we have exceptional community award winners who demonstrate the amazing work happening in grassroots sport.

“I have no doubt that hearing about these groups and individuals will help motivate and inspire others to enjoy sport and the many opportunities it offers.”

For more information about the event, please go to www.walessportawards.co.uk or follow #WSA2018

 

 

 

 

 

Dolgellau’s Mr Cricket wins national Wales Sport Award

A Gwynedd volunteer, known as Dolgellau’s ‘Mr Cricket,’ is today announced as Volunteer of the Year at the Wales Sport Awards 2018.

College maths teacher Gareth Lanagan will accept the award at a glitzy ceremony of Welsh sporting stars at Celtic Manor on December 4.

Described by one of his peers as “one of the linchpins of cricket in Gwynedd,” Gareth aims to introduce the sport to new audiences.

Stuart Evans, who nominated him, explained: “We’ve gone from a club that was just about surviving, to one that it is thriving, thanks to Gareth.

“Sometimes I wonder if he actually sleeps! He loves cricket and loves Dolgellau cricket club. He is most definitely our Mr Cricket.”

The head coach, first team captain and chairman has been key in developing a family-friendly club. He is passionate about the Welsh language and sport in Gwynedd.

He started up a female cricket team last year and has developed the future of the club, with a thriving junior side.

Gareth, who lives in Aberystwyth but works and volunteers in Dolgellau, said: “Cricket is a game that has given me so much. I want others to have the opportunities that I’ve had.

“The dream would be that in years to come one of the youngsters I coach can take my place on the first team.”

Sarah Powell, CEO at Sport Wales said: “Yet again, we have an exceptional standard of community award winners who demonstrate the amazing work happening in grassroots sport.

“I have no doubt that hearing about these groups and individuals will help motivate and inspire others to enjoy sport and the many opportunities it offers.”

The Volunteer of the Year category recognises an individual who devotes their time to support, develop or champion sport.

The Wales Sport Awards is held jointly between Sport Wales and BBC Wales. For more information about this year’s event, visit www.walessportawards.co.uk or follow #WSA2018 

 

 

 

PAN-WALES PROJECT WINS INAUGURAL GETTING WALES ACTIVE AWARD

A project that has got at least 1,500 inactive people in Wales moving has picked up a brand new award for its work.

Today Get Out, Get Active (GOGA) has been named the inaugural Getting Wales Active winner for the Wales Sport Awards 2018.

The project, running across Wrexham, Pembrokeshire and Rhondda Cynon Taf (RCT), is managed by Disability Sport Wales, thanks to Spirit of 2012 funding.

With the benefits of physical activity on mental health dominating the news agenda, GOGA sees disabled and non-disabled people take part in sporting opportunities together.

Michelle Daltry, Partnership Manager at Disability Sport Wales explained: “We have been delighted to work in partnership to explore new and innovative ways of engaging disabled and non-disabled people who, prior to GOGA, have been considered as inactive.

“It has been inspiring to see the growth of these programmes and the journeys that the children, families, coaches and volunteers have been through.”

In RCT the focus is on getting disabled people and families of all backgrounds active together by enjoying children’s rugby, walking football and autism-friendly swimming for families.

One of the children who plays in the inclusive rugby sessions, Daniel Jacob Roberts, aged 11 explained: “I have autism. I love playing rugby and I have even made some new friends.”

In Pembrokeshire, the programme takes advantage of the beautiful coastline with a focus on disability access and the Welsh outdoors.

In Wrexham, the very popular ‘Ladies Night’ helps get local women running, playing tennis, golf and more.

Sharon Ritchie, 55, who took part in Ladies Golf said: “Sport has never been something I have ever engaged in due to me not feeling comfortable enough or even capable of being able to do it.

“I am now regularly playing golf within an accessible environment by an inclusive coach whilst participating in something I enjoy.

“Golf has changed my own life and the other ladies, it has increased my confidence, self-esteem and made me believe in myself.

“I now have a hobby that I love and that I can share with my family and newly made friends.”

Debbie Lye, Chief Executive, Spirit of 2012 added: “To date, more than 13,000 people have benefited from GOGA funding across 18 locations in the UK, including Wrexham, Pembrokeshire and Rhondda Cynon Taff in Wales.

“We’re so proud that the wonderful work of our Disability Sport Wales partnership has been recognised with this award.

“GOGA participants don’t just boost their physical wellbeing, their mental health also improves in a sociable environment where they have fun and make new friends – there are wins all round.”

Sarah Powell, CEO at Sport Wales added: “Yet again, we have an exceptional standard of community award winners who demonstrate the amazing work happening in grassroots sport.

“I have no doubt that hearing about these groups and individuals will help motivate and inspire others to enjoy sport and the many opportunities it offers.”

For more information about the event, please go to www.walessportawards.co.uk or follow #WSA2018