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Active Essex celebrates inclusive sport at annual sports awards

The winners of the Active Essex Sports Awards 2019 have been announced during an inspirational ceremony at Chelmsford City Racecourse on Wednesday 5th December.
 
The event celebrated the county’s sporting achievements from grassroots to a professional level, along with individuals and community partners that have encouraged participation in sport and physical activity in Essex at every level. Amongst the winners were para-athletes Freya Levy and Ellie Challis.
 
Freya Levy from Rochford was crowned ‘Sports Personality of the Year’ by public vote, following an impressive year of sporting achievements as a member of the GB Women’s Para ice hockey team, the GB Wheelchair basketball U25 team and the England Wheelchair Rugby Sevens Team. Her entry also highlighted her support to encourage more people with disabilities to participate in sport.
 
Freya Levy, said; “To win the award this year is just a dream and I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who voted – it feels great to be recognised by your local community and it will really power me on through to the next season. There are so many opportunities to take part in sport in Essex and I’m a true believer that there is something out there for everyone.”
 
Azeem Akhtar, Chair of Active Essex, said; “It is crucial that we celebrate not only our county’s sporting achievements but also the individuals and organisations that are encouraging participation at every level.
 
“At this year’s awards we saw some fantastic examples of how sport has become more inclusive than ever, and can be used to tackle gang crime, mental health, loneliness and other key societal issues – this speaks volumes and shows how important it is that we work closely together as a county to keep our communities active!”Active Essex inclusive sports awards
 
The Active Essex Sports awards are part of Active Essex’s ongoing commitment to change one million lives by getting more people around Essex active.
 
Joining the celebrations and awarded with ‘special recognition’ trophies were some of Essex’s household sporting names, including double Olympic gymnastics champion Max Whitlock MBE – who recently won gold at the World Championships – and team members from Essex County Cricket, following an outstanding season of Cricket.
 
Max went on to present the ‘Young Sports Personality of the Year’ award to Ellie Challis, a para-swimmer and snowboarder who has already set national and world records.
 
He said; “Supporting and recognising the achievements of young athletes is vital to the longevity of sport and for me knowing how it feels to receive an award for something you love, it gives you that boost to go further and inspire more people along the way. I’d like to say a big congratulations to Ellie and all of the finalists and winners this evening.”
 
Ellie was recently announced as Swim England’s Para-swimming talent of the year and has been selected for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
 
Ellie Challis said; “I was very shocked to win the award with so many talented people in the room tonight. My biggest highlight this year was being selected for the World Championships and coming back with a Bronze medal – when I initially went for experience! I’m now looking forward to the Paralympics next year and this award will certainly motivate me along the way.”
 
Azeem added: “I would like to thank everybody that has participated in this year’s Active Essex Sports Awards, from the Essex public that submitted over 600 nominations and voted their local heroes, to our wonderful sponsors and not least the fantastic finalists and winners who are all championing sport and physical activity across Greater Essex!”
 
For a full list of winners and finalists, visit http://bit.ly/SportsAwards2019Winners