SPOTY 2011: The Judges' Verdict
The members of the awarding panel were:
- Lord Addington, Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Sport
- Alec Stewart OBE, Former England cricketer and Executive Director of Surrey CCC
- Michael Crick, Political Correspondent for Channel 4 News
- Tim Lamb, Chief Executive of the Sport and Recreation Alliance
- Jane Ashworth, Chief Executive, StreetGames
At the awards dinner on 14 December the judges' announced that that John Woodcock MP had been selected as the first ever Sports Parliamentarian of the Year.
Speaking on behalf of the panel, Lord Addington said:
"While the judges would like to congratulate all ten nominees for their time, effort and commitment, we were in agreement that John Woodcock’s campaign to protect bowling greens stood out as the most effective representation of sport in Parliament. As such we are delighted to name him the Sports Parliamentarian of the Year for 2011.
John pulled all the Parliamentary levers in his pursuit of better protection for a sport which really is at the heart of many communities, including the tabling of a Private Members’ Bill, an Early Day Motion and Parliamentary Questions. The game of bowls on College Green that John organised was a memorable highlight to an effective and high-profile campaign which was clearly appreciated by bowlers both within his constituency and elsewhere and – importantly – which also caught the attention of the Government. John’s campaign also generated widespread media interest, including national newspapers and even a slot on BBC’s The One Show, all of which was a tremendous boost to a sport which rarely features on the back pages.
The judges also felt that certain other nominees merited a special mention. Greg Mulholland’s long-term commitment to rugby league came through strongly and we were particularly impressed by his efforts to tackle the subject of sexual discrimination – an initiative which was also supported by fellow nominee Lynne Featherstone. The judges also acknowledged the enthusiasm with which Huw Irranca-Davies embraced his Fellowship placement with Archery GB, and his organisation of the very popular archery event on Speakers’ Green. The judges also recognised the passion, experience and commitment of Baroness Grey-Thompson, who will undoubtedly remain one of Parliament’s strongest advocates for sport for many years to come.
Overall we believe that all ten nominees have set an outstanding example to their colleagues and we were very pleased to be a part of the Sport and Recreation Alliance’s commendable initiative to recognise their valuable contribution."
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