AoC Sport Award winners celebrated

Congratulations to all the winners of the 2019 AoC Sport Awards, which were presented last month. Here is a profile of all the winners.

Student Performer of the Year – Randy Jean-Guy (Leeds City College)

Born in the Turks and Caicos Islands, Randy came to the UK in 2016 to study Business at Leeds City College and has shown an unrivalled passion for basketball and has played a crucial part in developing the college’s basketball programme.

Speaking at the AoC Sport Awards, Randy said: “To be honest at first I didn’t know about the award but then I did some more research and that’s when I found out how big an award it was.

“I’m very passionate about my own sport – basketball. It was a great feeling to find out I had won and something I will remember forever.”

Randy has captained the Leeds City College men’s first team and has been influential in every game, scoring more points than any other player.

Randy’s dedication to improve his performance on the field is as impressive as it is off. Although he works nights in a city centre bar, he still attended morning training and early tip off games.

In preseason training for the 2018/19 academic year, Randy went down to the local park at 6am to work on his fitness, sometimes straight after finishing a shift at work. Travelling from Leeds to Sheffield to train with the Sheffield Sabres National League team is further evidence of his dedication.

Achievement in Disability Sport – Matthew Harding- Wirral Met College

Matthew has achondroplaysia but this has not stopped him from achieving at the highest level of swimming, with aims of competing at the Paralympics in Tokyo in 2020.

Matthew is the current holder of the world dwarf records in 50 metre, 100 metre and 200 metre freestyle and the 200 metre individual medley. He is also the current British record holder in the 50 metre breaststroke.

Not only is he an amazing swimmer, but his unselfish attitude has seen him help and participate regularly with community projects, such as working with the children from Chernobyl.

Matthew has never let his “disability” stand in his way and always aims high to achieve the best he can and this is made clear by the outstanding achievements he has gained within his sport.

Inspirational Student/ Volunteer of the Year – Angel McGillan (Tyne Metropolitan College)

Angel McGillan is a first year student studying Level 1 Sport. Angel came to the college from Moorbridge Sports Academy, a pupil referral unit for young people in North Tyneside.

Angel is part of the college’s Sport Leadership Academy – a programme to support students’ personal and professional development through volunteering and leadership opportunities in sport – and has volunteered more than 400 hours.

Speaking at the AoC Sport Awards, where she was also volunteering at National Championships, she said: “I didn’t believe I had won at first. It means quite a lot to me because it’s out of the whole country.

“I enjoy volunteering at the kids camps because you can see they enjoy themselves. I can have a laugh with them and they can relate to me. I get good feedback from my sessions.”

She regularly volunteers at holiday camps, providing opportunities for children aged 5-12 in Wallsend. Over the year she has also supported the delivery of several schools events, tournaments and social action projects and is first to offer her voluntary time for any opportunity to develop as a leader in sport.

Team of the Year, sponsored by Matrix Fitness – Newcastle Stafford College Group women’s volleyball team

The NSCG women’s volleyball team have won nearly every accolade in sight this season.

They were crowned AoC Sport National Champions after coming runners-up three years in a row, went undefeated in the West Midlands league, qualified for the Student Cup Finals and won the AoC Sport National Knockout Cup.

Captain Lauren Cadwgan said: “We were really happy to win Team of the Year because we’ve put a lot of hard work in this season and it’s really nice that we’ve got some recognition for it.”

“It’s been the best year for the team since I’ve been at college.”

And the reason for the success?

“We’re really close and we all get on really well so if we’re up against tough opposition on court, being close to each and being able to work well together really makes a difference.

Members of the squad also assist in coaching younger players in local schools, helping possible future members of NSCG Volleyball programme. The general enthusiasm, dedication, commitment and success generated is clearly helping make volleyball a very popular activity within NSCG and its sports programmes.

Hall of Fame – Lynne Gardner, Head of Sport and Activities at Peter Symonds College

Lynne Gardner has worked at the college for 26 years and will be retiring at the end of 2019.

Her role has changed greatly but her attitude towards young people has not. She has been an inspiration for so many students – always motivating and encouraging.

She has headed up one of the most successful sports departments in the country, which now

benefits more than 4,000 students a year.Her top priority is ensuring the students have a fulfilling time at college, offering sport and activities as a way of relaxing, meeting new people, gaining new qualifications and enhancing the overall college experience.

Alongside being a PE teacher and running the whole department, Lynne also delivers the Sports Leader qualification to 60 students each year, something that helps hugely with their futures and job prospects. She also attends National Championships every year

Externally Lynne has built a fantastic relationship with five local primary schools and works across the county with disability schools to deliver the annual New Age Kurling and Boccia County Event for the Hampshire and IOW Games.

Hall of Fame – Will Thompson, Wellbeing Coordinator for Enrichment at Nottingham College

Over the past 13 years Will has worked with thousands of local students, to encourage them to participate in sport and fitness. In the last year alone, he has involved more than 500 students in sporting activities through the college’s enrichment programme.

He was the regional captain for the East Midlands at National Championships for three consecutive years, has attended and run all regional competitions since 2008 and attends all regional meetings.

He has also established good local community links within sports he offers at college to provide strong club links which he can refer students too. Will is also a keen referee and often gives up his time to referee football and futsal games for the local community and Nottinghamshire FA.

He has been an inspirational and positive role model for students and staff and shown dedication and commitment to students over a number of years.

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