Leeds Beckett Sports Awards: “a night to remember”

Leeds Beckett Sports Awards Programme
Leeds Beckett University Sports Awards was a sell-out event. Photo credit Beth Fenner.

The inaugural Leeds Beckett Sports Awards took place on Saturday 6th May at Elland Road celebrating the sporting performances of the Athletic Union as well as the lives of two important members.

Over 800 students and staff members came together to honour the achievements of Leeds Beckett University sport teams after another  successful year. The event was sold out after tickets were capped for the first time due to its growing popularity.

Ella Gregg, Athletic Union (AU) executive vice-chair, says: “Every year the Leeds Beckett Sports Awards brings all the clubs together for a celebration to be proud of. This year did not disappoint and was definitely a night to remember.”

Balloons and lights brighten up Elland Road as over 800 students attend the Leeds Beckett Sports Awards.
Balloons and lights brighten up Elland Road as over 800 students attend the Leeds Beckett Sports Awards. Photo credit Beth Fenner.

The highlight of the night was one of great sadness as a much loved member of the cheerleading team was remembered. Cheerleading coach John ‘Tats’ Harkins who tragically passed away in November was honoured with the ‘Unsung Hero’ award which was met with a standing ovation. His sister bravely spoke in front of the audience to thank everyone for their support.

There was also a dedication to Emmanuel Le-Joye, a member of the Snow Sports team who also sadly passed away.

Lisa McCormick, club development administrator who part-organised the event, says: “Tats gave a lot to this university. He was a coach for many years and was instrumental in setting up the cheerleading club… For me, it took my breath away how much respect and support was in the room during that award. It was fantastic. So I think, for us, it was important to see that.

“With Emmanuel, he was a key part of snow sports…When things like that happen, it’s nice to know that they are not alone and that other teams are supporting them.”

All teams that received an award (which can be seen below) were presented with a trophy, a proud keepsake for many of the clubs. In addition to the awards, there was a three-course meal, photo booth, photographer and dance floor to keep people entertained, as well as the chance to mingle with other teams.

Club Award
Rob Bennett (Boxing) Club Officer of the Year
Kris Stafford (Rugby Union) Student Development Award
Calum Johnson (Triathlon) Sportsman of the Year
Nicole Burns (Gymnastics) Sportswoman of the Year
John ‘Tats’ Harkins (Cheerleading) Unsung Hero Award
Demarny Lawrence (Handball) Sports Personality of the Year
Dance Most Improved Club of the Year
American Football Men’s 1st Team of the Year
Non-BUCS Club of the Year Handball
BUCS Club of the Year Tennis

Ms McCormick finishes: “I think it gives students the chance to get together, not just in their teams, but as an Athletic Union and celebrate as a university. It helps clubs to socialise and integrate and it is great to thank and celebrate those really big achievements that are the reasons why we do university sports.”

By Beth Fenner

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