Sports Parliamentarian of the Year 2011: The Nominees
The nominees for the 2011 award are:
BRANDON LEWIS MP
Brandon Lewis MP was nominated by British Triathlon in recognition of his commitment to the sport following his participation in the Parliamentary Sports Fellowship Scheme. Brandon has already competed twice since entering the scheme, and has immersed himself in the sporting infrastructure to develop his knowledge, ability and understanding of a sport which has seen thirteen British world champions in 2011.
Through his regular blog entries and numerous contributions to local and national media, Brandon has engaged with a wide audience to raise awareness of the opportunities to participate in the sport, as well as some of the challenges facing triathlon in the UK. Brandon has driven participation and awareness in the sport from fellow Members of Parliament and the Government and offered valuable support to British Triathlon and its Partners to ensure that the long-term future of the sport is in safe hands.
Zara Hyde Peters OBE, Chief Executive of British Triathlon, said: “Brandon has wholeheartedly embraced our fast growing, modern and dynamic Olympic sport, and has helped to establish stronger relationships between the words of triathlon and politics. Brandon has devoted his time to participating in, and understanding, the sport he represents, promoting the sport to colleagues in the House and the wider voting public who follow him with knowledge, and passion.”
DEREK TWIGG MP
Karen Tonge MBE of Halton Table Tennis Club nominated Derek Twigg MP in recognition of his long-term commitment to promoting sport in his constituency and in Westminster. In particular his efforts to promote school sport were highlighted, including his fight to protect school facilities planned as part of the Building Schools for the Future Programme.
As a supporter of Rugby League, Derek worked hard to secure financial and political support for the 2012 World Cup as well as backing the efforts of local team, the Widnes Vikings. He is also keen on mountain climbing and hillwalking, and has supported the British Mountaineering Council in their efforts to raise the profile of the sport in Parliament.
Karen Tonge MBE of Halton Table Tennis Club said: “Derek is a fantastic MP who pro-actively engages with his constituents to ensure that sport remains high on the agenda in Westminster. Derek takes a keen interest in sport and recreation, and has always been an effective ambassador for sport in Westminster. He has been particularly active in seeking justice for the victims of the Hillsborough tragedy, which resonates strongly with the people of Halton.”
|RT HON DON FOSTER MP
A joint nomination was received from the West of England Sport Trust (Wesport) and the British Paralympic Association for the Rt Hon Don Foster MP in recognition for his passion and commitment to sport at a local and national level.
Don was instrumental in establishing ‘Team West of England’, a group which under his chairmanship has worked to achieve a regional legacy from the 2012 Games. Don’s efforts have also helped ensure that the University of Bath was chosen to host the ‘preparation camp’ for ParalympicsGB ahead of London 2012. Don’s knowledge and experience of the sector at a national level were also highlighted, as was his championing of equality of access to sport
Steve Nelson, Chief Executive of Wesport, said: “Don has an infectious enthusiasm for sport and on numerous occasions been the catalyst for achieving consensus among his political allies and rivals about the direction of travel for community sport, cultural activities and on London 2012.”
Tim Hollingsworth, Chief Executive of the British Paralympic Association, said: “Don continues to be an active and passionate advocate of Paralympic sport, and has built strong cross-party links with the BPA and other Paralympic organisations at both national and local level.”
GREG MULHOLLAND MP
The Rugby Football League nominated Greg Mulholland MP in light of his passion and support for the sport. As Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Rugby League Group and Captain of the Political Animals RLFC Greg has promoted the game he loves to colleagues, Government and the wider public.
The support and assistance in the securing of £500,000 of funding for the Rugby League World Cup 2013 was highlighted as among the most notable achievement of Greg’s all-party group, alongside his regular tabling of Parliamentary Questions on key issues and support for initiatives like the RFL’s ‘Tackle It!’ campaign against discriminatory behaviour.
Niel Wood, Director of European Development at RFL, said:
HUW IRRANCA-DAVIES MP
Huw Irranca-Davies MP was nominated by Archery GB after he hosted the first sporting occasion ever to have taken place in Parliament. The archery event, which took place on Speakers’ Green, marked the 150th anniversary of the governing body and boosted the profile of the sport ahead of London 2012.
Huw has worked closely with Archery GB since he joined the Parliamentary Sports Fellowship Scheme, offering support for the World Cup Grand Final and the annual Development conference as well as working with clubs in South Wales.
David Sherrat, Chief Executive of Archery GB, said: “Archery GB has been overwhelmed at Huw’s enthusiastic support for the sport. He has been enormously enthusiastic and supportive, and has won the respect of all of us at Archery GB – from the archers to the coaches, to all the administrative staff, and the Board members.”
IAN AUSTIN MP
British Cycling nominated Ian Austin MP in recognition of his effective support for cycling. A keen cyclist himself, Ian has championed the cause of cycling and generated momentum behind key issues, such as the ‘Keep Racing on the Roads’ campaign.
Ian adopted a pro-active approach as Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group, hosting meetings in Parliament and helping to generate valuable support among colleagues. Outside Parliament Ian also helped British Cycling to generate media coverage for key campaigns and supported a local cycling charity in Dudley.
Martin Gibbs, Policy and Legal Affairs Director of British Cycling, said: “British Cycling has found Ian to be generous with his time, knowledgeable about the issues and clearly passionate and interested in cycling as a sport. He has proved to be a very effective advocate, very accomplished at staying above partisan debate and building consensus.”
JOHN WOODCOCK MP
John Woodcock’s energetic campaign to ‘Protect Our Bowling Greens’ led to his nomination by Bowls England. As a former bowler himself, John responded to his constituents’ concerns about threatened facilities by introducing a Private Members’ Bill proposing stronger safeguards for community greens.
John’s campaign caught the attention of local and national media, and provided a valuable boost for a sport which he believes lies at the heart of communities across the country. To keep up the pressure on Parliament, John instigated an eye-catching game of bowls on College Green, helping to keep the issue on the Westminster agenda.
Tony Allcock, Chief Executive of Bowls England, said: “We are delighted with the support we have received from John. His energetic and eye-catching campaign provided a real boost to the many clubs across the country faced with the threat of closure, and his efforts have maintained the pressure on Government to recognise our concerns.”
LYNNE FEATHERSTONE MP
The Haringey Sports Development Trust nominated Lynne Featherstone MP in recognition of her long-term commitment to supporting sport in her constituency.
In particular, her efforts to maintain funding for Haringey’s Youth Games was highlighted, as was her support for the Whizz Kids Sports Centre and the work it does for young people in the constituency. The Trust was also grateful for Lynne’s support for the campaign to save Finsbury Park Athletics Track and the New River Sports Centre.
Burk Gravis, Chief Executive of Haringey Sports Development Trust, said: “The support we have received from our Lynne has been immense. Throughout her term of office the Sports Development Trust has always received a positive response from Lynne when we have raised issues, and she has always provided valuable support for the work we are doing to promote community sport. While it’s great that London is hosting the Olympics, it is still vital to have the support of decision makers if the Games are to achieve a long-term legacy.”
STEPHEN LLOYD MP
Stephen Lloyd MP was nominated by the Lawn Tennis Association in recognition of his committed support for the 2011 AEGON International, which was held in his Eastbourne constituency.
The LTA recognised Stephen’s pro-active engagement with local stakeholders, including the senior management of Eastbourne Borough Council, the Chamber of Commerce and local media, to generate support for the tournament. Stephen also lent his support to the creation of the Tennis Passport, which helped to generate local business and provide better value for spectators.
Lawrence Robertson, Head of Commercial for the Lawn Tennis Association, said: “Stephen has been a fantastic advocate for tennis in his constituency. His efforts to foster local support have also been highly effective, and we are confident that the rise in attendance (despite the bad weather) was in no small part due to Stephen’s very valuable contribution.”
BARONESS GREY-THOMPSON DBE
The Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation recognised Baroness Grey-Thompson – known to most as Tanni – in recognition of her unwavering commitment to sport at all levels both within and outside of Parliament.
The submission by WSFF highlighted Tanni’s role as Chair of the Commission for the Future of Women’s Sport, through which she has pursued positive change around the leadership, investment and profile of women’s sport. Through her involvement with UK Athletics, the London Marathon and London 2012 she has continued to seek the improvement of lives through sport, and as Vice-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Sport she has helped ensure the continued engagement of Parliamentarians in the sporting landscape.
Tim Woodhouse, Head of Policy and External Affairs for WSFF, said:
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