Softball featured at Greater Manchester Sports Awards

Wed 21 Nov 2012

Softball and baseball both had a presence at the Greater Manchester Sports Awards that took place on Friday evening, 9 November at the Lancashire County Cricket Club at Old Trafford, with more than 500 people in attendance and coverage by the BBC.

BSUK was one of the event sponsors, and while no awards went to either of our sports, they were  prominent during the evening.

Olympians and Paralympians

There were a number of Olympians andGreater Manchester Awards Paralympians at the event, including Paralympic wheelchair athlete David Weir, who won four gold medals in this year’s Games; Etienne Stott, C2 Canoe Slalom gold medallist; Jade Jones, Taekwondo Olympic gold medallist; Lutalo Muhammad, Taekwondo Olympic bronze medallist; and Claire Cashmore, a Paralympic swimmer with two silver medals in London.

Each individual borough (Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan) had held its own awards ceremonies previously, and award winners from those events were nominated to the Greater Manchester Sports Awards.

Softball nominees

Harry Somers from the Manchester Softball League was nominated for the Unsung Hero category and Peter Jones, also from the MSL, was nominated for the Volunteer of the Year.

Softball was also prominent in the opening speech from Yvonne Harrison, Deputy Chief Executive of Greater Manchester Sport, who said:

“I've been at Greater Manchester Sport for many years but I’m new to the stage this evening and I won’t lie – I’ve been a little nervous.  But luckily, I was recently asked to present an award at the Manchester Softball League's 20th anniversary Ball, which helped me to overcome the stage fright, so thank you!  Whilst I was there I heard of some amazing people, such as Peter [Jones] and Harry [Somers], who had been instrumental in setting up the league over 20 years ago.  I was also told a fantastic tale of Harry, who was selected to be a torch bearer in the Olympic torch relay this summer.  Following this, Harry took the decision to sell his torch and his kit and the proceeds were invested in improvements to the softball show pitch over at Parr’s Wood where the league is played; the first dedicated softball pitch in the North. 

“When I heard about this,” Yvonne added, “I felt I had to share it with you this evening, as it epitomizes what tonight is all about: selfless decisions made by volunteers who are passionate about their sport and who go above and beyond to see it succeed.  We will meet Harry shortly, but congratulations to him, a really inspiring tale!”

High profile

BSUK's North West Regional Greater Manchester AwardsDevelopment Manager Luis Arrevillagas, who represented both our sports at the awards evening, said: “This event is always a great night, but this year two things made it particularly good – first to have all those Olympians in the room and be able to chat to them, and secondly the profile that Yvonne decided to give to our sports on the evening.  It was really good to hear our sports being talked about by and in front on all those key sports people. 

“To top it all off,” Luis added, “Harry [Somers] was then honoured with two other torch bearers – but of course he did not have a torch to show because he had sold it.  Many people came to me and commented on this gesture.”

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