Leighton Buzzard Canoe Club staged its own version of ‘Sports Personality of the Year’ when its annual awards ceremony and Christmas party looked back on another successful year.
The event was the ideal chance to celebrate the year’s achievements, acclaim high-achieving and hard-working paddlers and thank and praise coaches and others for their support.
The achievements of the youngest paddlers were especially honoured. For the second year in a row, the U12 Lightning paddlers won the Geoff Sanders Trophy for points accumulated in the Hasler marathon series.
Three of their stars were George Rea, who won the U12 male award, Kayleigh Dixon, who took the U12 female accolade, and Ruby Perkins, who won the Cygnet Award for best junior newcomer.
Moving up the age range, Max Pickering was named junior male of the year and Katy Dixon junior female. But the important Doug Saxby Award for the highest number of Hasler Series points went to Jack Rayment, who has excelled and got promoted to division five, despite regularly racing against older opponents.
The ‘Old Swan’ Award for best adult newcomer went to Amy Carter for her successful introduction to racing earlier in the year. Another relatively new paddler, Carly Hudson, took the Barry Tingay Paddle for her consistent hard work and supportive effort.
Paul Murphy won the veteran’s award while, on a lighter note, the ‘Toilet Seat’ Award for the most impressive capsize went to veteran coach and founding member Julian Brown, not so much for the quality of a particular swim but more for the sheer quantity of them on junior coaching sessions.
The senior male accolade went, not surprisingly, to Team GB paddler Charlie Smith, who also presented all the awards. Top senior female was Lydia Oxtoby, who missed the event because she was in China competing in the Wildwater Racing World Cup. In true ‘SPOTY’ style, she accepted with a video segment via Skype.
Oxtoby came a disappointing sixth in the classic race in China, but then qualified for the final of the sprint race in which she finished fifth.
Meanwhile, several Leighton Buzzard paddlers went over to Cheshunt for the latest Winter Series races. Second places were earned by Megan Pickering, Ben Stratford and Beth Goodlad, while Kayleigh Dixon and Adam Baker took third spots, Jack Rayment fourth, Brian Handley fifth and Amanda Morris sixth.