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Paddlers honoured at annual Coaching and Leadership Awards

The country’s finest coaches have received accolades at the annual British Canoeing Coaching and Leadership Awards.

The event, held at Eastwood Hall in Nottinghamshire, was attended by over 140 guests and was part of the two-day British Canoeing Coaching Conference.

One of the stars on the night was Barry Hughes, who claimed the Impact on Coaching Award and the coveted Geoff Good Award.

Barry formed the Nottingham Whitewater Stand up Paddleboard (SUP) Group two years ago to increase participation in the discipline.

The Group meets every Monday evening on the white water course at Holme Pierrepont, Nottingham and attracts paddlers from across the country.

Barry’s impact on Whitewater SUP, through developing coaching and increasing participation in the discipline, made him a worthy winner of two awards on the night.

Speaking after receiving the Impact on Coaching Award Barry said:

“I’m greatly honoured.  From the people who have actually won the awards before it just makes me feel so proud to be part of this community.”

The Performance Coach of the Year was awarded to Tom Love, from Royal Leamington Spa Canoe Club, who has created a progressive flat water coaching structure for the development of junior athletes.

Tom’s successes in 2019 included coaching Philip Miles, who won a stunning silver medal in the K1 Junior Men 1000m at the 2019 ECA Junior and U23 Canoe Sprint European Championships.

Speaking after receiving his award Tom Love said:

“I’m incredibly honoured to have this accolade. I’m more flattered that people think that of me to nominate.

“This year has been brilliant for us.  We’ve had numerous national champions, for such a small club, so I’m really proud of the guys and girls that I coach.”

The Rising Star Award was claimed by Jack Holland, in recognition of his voluntary work at Pennine Canoe Club.

Still only 16, Jack already has a wealth of experience in coaching and supporting recreational paddling within the club, with introductory sessions to help young paddlers transition from a swimming pool onto rivers.

Speaking about his award, and the young people in the club who spoke about his impact in a video played on the night, Jack said:

“I think it’s absolutely amazing, but a lot of it is not down to me, it’s about their confidence on the water. They’ve made this happen and for me I think this is amazing that they put the time in to answer questions in the interviews for me.”

Daniel McGaley, who has been delivering coaching and skills sessions at Lee Valley Paddlesports Clubs and across the East of England for over 15 years, received the Community Coach of the Year award.

Daniel started paddling over 25 years ago with Freestyle being his discipline of choice. Speaking of his award Daniel said:

“It’s a great award for me to win. The freestyle community in the UK is huge and it’s great to be a part of that and as a community coach I get to work with all the new youngsters coming in. It’s just a fantastic opportunity for me.”

There were also a number of special awards presented on the night to honour volunteers for their dedication and commitment to paddlesport.

The Outstanding Contribution Award was presented to David Savage and Michael Nicholls for their work in the East of England and West Midlands regions.

They were joined by James Soutar, who was awarded for his development work in the South West for delivering canoe polo leagues.

Zoe Anthony, also from canoe polo, received the Award of Honour in recognition of outstanding service, commitment and major contribution to the discipline in Wales and on the international stage.

Speaking about her Award of Honour Zoe Anthony said:

“It’s really nice and humbling.  There are so many volunteers that do amazing work for our sport. I’m just really thankful for the opportunities I’ve had and through participating, coaching, being an official and an administrator.

“The best thing about our sport is the fact you get to meet so many great people, not just locally but all around the world. We should celebrate that it’s a sport that has a connection with people.”

 Dan Wilkinson, Jan-Peter Kastelein and Greg Hitchen were recognised on the night, for completing the British Canoeing Coaching Diploma, which were presented by Lara Cooper.