The man who announced the winners at this year’s Morpeth Sports Awards was left speechless when he received a surprise accolade.
Derek Thompson is secretary of the Morpeth Sports Council, which went through a record number of nominations to decide the recipients of the trophies, cups and salvers during the ceremony in the clubhouse at Morpeth Rugby Club.
But he was unaware that the fellow members of the council had purchased a special award to recognise his efforts over many years with Morpeth Amateur Swimming Club.
He joined the newly-formed club in 1970 and he has continued as a poolside helper and lane coach ever since, seeing some 500 children through the club.
Mr Thompson has occupied almost every role available on the club’s committee and he has organised annual galas, inter-club galas and Christmas fun galas.
He is now stepping down from the club with a view to spending more time with his family and other hobbies and commitments with the Morpeth Sports Council.
Mr Thompson said: “It was a complete surprise. I’m very honoured to be presented with a special award.
“This year, we had the largest number of nominations that these awards have ever received and we’re grateful to the new Mayor of Morpeth Andrew Tebbutt for coming along to present the accolades.”
The following are summaries of the nomination form information for the award winners.
Team Award (Open) — Abbey National Trophy
It has been an historic season for Morpeth Town FC as they won the FA Vase at Wembley on May 22 with a fantastic 4-1 victory over Hereford FC.
The team also finished fourth in Northern League Division One.
Team Award (U18) — King Edward VI School Trophy
Morpeth Rugby Club’s Colts team won their league for the first time in their history and on April 24, they were crowned county champions.
As a result of their reputation as a competitive team, they have received invites to compete in Scotland.
Team Award (U13) — Dalton Hutchinson Trophy
The Morpeth Harriers U13 Girls’ Road and Cross Country Squad have performed well at a number of competitions.
They finished second in the Northern Athletics Road Relay and seventh in the National Cross Country Relay Championships at Mansfield.
In a tough Northern Athletics Cross Country Championship at Blackburn, the squad just missed out on a bronze medal on countback to Salford Harriers.
Services to Sport — Ulgham Parish Council Salver
George Patterson has been involved with Morpeth Harriers and Athletic Club for many years and undertaken various roles.
He has been the club’s press officer for almost 30 years and produces excellent reports of the club’s results throughout the year for the club website and Morpeth Herald.
He is still an official athletics starter — he started this role in 1990.
Senior Female (Open) — George Brown Trophy
Emily Charlton enjoyed medal success (three golds, one silver and one bronze) as part of the Newcastle Swim Team at the British Masters Swimming Championships in Sheffield in April.
She was part of a mixed 4x200m freestyle relay team that broke the world record in a combined age category and a ladies’ 4x100m freestyle quartet that broke the British record.
In August 2015, she competed in the Great Scottish Swim two-mile event in Loch Lomond, where she was the first female swimmer home in her heat and third fastest female in the event overall.
Senior Male (Open) — Newcastle Building Society Trophy
Tony Moody is a key member of the Morpeth RFC First XV side that this year won the senior County Cup for the fourth time in the club’s history.
The prop forward has represented both English and British Police this year on two occasions.
Sportability Award —NPFA Salver
Robyn Rowntree started riding six years ago as an 11-year-old at the Pegasus Centre in Tranwell, where she started as a rider with learning difficulties.
She showed a real aptitude for riding and with great determination took every opportunity to take part in local competitions, culminating in her achieving success when representing Morpeth Riding for the Disabled Association at regional and national level.
In 2015, she embarked on a United Kingdom Coaching Certificate level one training and portfolio to become an assistant coach.
Junior Male (U18) — Jim Alder Cup
Chris Bell is an all-round sportsman, but his speciality is trampolining.
He has won a national gold medal as part of the North East team and there was a silver medal for him at the national individual finals in Telford.
Chris achieved another gold in March, this time representing King Edward VI School in the British Schools Gymnastic Association trampoline under 19 years competition.
Junior Female (U18) —Hilder Cup
In December at the North Eastern Cross Country Championships, Holly Peck, of Morpeth Harriers, gained a gold medal by 21 seconds over her nearest rival.
Earlier in the year, she took part in the Junior Great North run over 4km and won a silver medal.
She was also part of a three-person team that gained a silver medal at the Northern Young Athletes Road Relays in Blackpool, resulting in qualification for the nationals at Birmingham where the team came 12th.
Senior Male Masters — Tony Bray Trophy
Peter Joyner is key player for Morpeth Rugby Club’s fourth XV (Stags) at the age of 58 and has played an important role in the cup winning side.
He has an infectious enthusiasm for the game of rugby and always plays with a smile on his face and offers advice and guidance to his team-mates.
This year, he has been nominated the Stags’ player of the year by a unanimous decision.
Senior Female Masters — A.C. Foreman Memorial Trophy
Sylvia Bland is a valuable member of Morpeth Amateur Swimming Club’s coaching team and she has been successful in ‘cold’ open water events.
She won a silver medal at the Chilliswim event held in Lake Windermere, Cumbria, in February. It takes place in a ten-lane 30m pool created in the lakes marina, the water temperature was just six degrees centigrade.
In March, Sylvia represented Great Britain at the World Winter Ice Swimming Championships in Siberia.
The Mayor’s Trophy for Sportsperson of the Year
John Stafford is a long-standing member of Morpeth RFC. He was club captain from 2001 to 2004.
Since hanging his boots up, he has become a key committee member and chairman of the selectors.
A tireless worker involved in organising, sponsorship, recruitment, kit, transport and the supporters group, his contribution has been very important in a year where all of the club’s senior teams played in a cup or bowl final.