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Congratulations to our 2022 Annual Award winners!

The 2022 British Canoeing Annual Awards provide a chance to celebrate the fantastic spirit throughout the paddling community. These awards look to recognise paddlers, clubs, coaches, leaders, volunteers and individuals across England who gave up their time and went the extra mile over the past year to make a significant contribution to their community.

We are pleased to present the following individuals with the 2022 British Canoeing Annual Awards.

Above & Beyond Award

This award recognises an individual or group who has quite literally gone above and beyond and made a significant difference in their community.

Winner - Anna Stishova

Anna Sishova 3

Anna always goes above and beyond to bring awareness to many different paddling groups. She always organises events and meetups. She always encourages and engages with people. Her motivation is so inspirational and she is the one who motivated me to get more girls into kayaking. She is always happy for others when they succeed and encourages them to always try new things and have that passion for the sport. One of her recent events was an Eid Paddle event where the Muslim community was encouraged to get involved in paddling and she reached out for support and managed to get loads of awards and gifts for the paddlers. Everyone had fun at the event and many wanted to do it again.

I didn't know any Muslim women involved with water sports until I met Anna. She managed to organise a free family kayaking event in July. It was amazing for my son and myself to experience a water sport for the first time. It has now inspired us to join a weekly club.

Anna has gone above and beyond to encourage more women to take part in water sports. In particular women and girls from minority groups who are largely underrepresented. I was inspired to have a go myself after hearing Anna speak about how to get started, whilst squashing the stereotypes of barriers that some women might feel about taking part in water sports.

Runners-up: Adya Misra, Alex Etherington-Smith, Andrew Train and Rose Barber

Clear Access, Clear Waters Champion Award

This award recognises someone who has inspired and led others into taking action and protecting the places we all love to paddle. 

Winner - Charlotte Ditchburn

Charlotte Ditchburnjpeg

Charlotte endlessly campaigns for more access to waterways using her blog to raise the profile of the Clear Access, Clear Waters campaign and educate others about the lack of access and issues surrounding it. She is passionate about getting others to take action, encouraging everyone to write to their MP about the CACW campaign. She also spoke at Kendal Mountain Festival about the mere 4% of rivers in England and Wales that have a clear or uncontested right to paddle, helping to raise awareness.

Charlotte organised a Big Paddle Cleanup on the River Eden and shared the day on the Go Paddling social media channels. She rallied locals to help clear the water and banks of the River Eden in Cumbria of rubbish, even inviting her local MP to get involved. Charlotte is a welcoming face to events like this, sharing her knowledge of access on the water with people attending clean ups and getting them engaged with the campaign.

Runners-up: Andy Gee and Ian Walker

Engagement Award

Recognising someone or a group of people who have made a difference in engaging paddlers and/or the wider paddling community. Whether it be working with a community group to introduce them to paddling or keeping members motivated and feeling part of the paddling community. 

Winner - Anna Stishova

Anna Stishova

Anna has been committed to trying to encourage more women and girls, particularly from Muslim backgrounds into paddle sports. She set up a women and girls paddle taster day to celebrate the Islamic festival of Eid, giving others a chance to experience the sport. 

This naturally evolved into a Muslim Women and Girls paddle club with Anna as the coach and leader reassuring them with her calm and kind nature. Anna's catchphrase is ,"why don't you give it a go?" and through this message, many Muslim families have indeed given it a go!

Runners-up: Ana Teubler, Andrew Train and Oli Jordan

Inspirational Person Award

This award recognises someone who has inspired others around them, whether that be through performance, adventure, adversity or other. They could have delivered an impactful project, helped improve opportunities for other members, developed new practice, delivered an outstanding performance, improved club coaching opportunities or created innovative opportunities.

Winner - Sue Hyett

Sue Hyett

In 2020, Sue nearly died from Covid and ended up spending weeks in hospital at the age of 61. Following this, Sue developed long Covid and suffered from awful fatigue and brain fog. Someone suggested to her that paddle boarding might help build up her exercise and energy levels. She gave it a go in 2021 and it has completely changed her life! She has even fashioned a crate to take her paraplegic dachshund along with her. Spreading the love of paddle boarding to friends and family, Sue is supporting and encouraging.

Sue has used her love for paddle boarding to help an animal she is besotted with; swans. Volunteering with a local charity, she has helped rescue numerous swans and helped fellow paddlers overcome any fears they may have of the birds. Another love she has adopted to go along with her paddling is that of painting, often being spotted painting away while afloat her board. Finally, Sue took part in the Beyond Words Big Paddle Challenge this year, raising money for people with learning disabilities. She clocked up many miles between painting and saving swans in need.

Runners-up: James Jessup and Cassie Salter

Outstanding Coach Award

This award recognises an outstanding individual who has made a significant difference through coaching. The winner of this category will be the English nomination to the UK Geoff Good Award.

Winner - Gordon Walling

Gordon Walling

Over at least 20 years Gordon has used a wealth of experience and great depth of coaching knowledge to progress many paddlers from novice to compete in all slalom divisions. His coaching is always supportive but he seems to have the magic touch in knowing when to push, and when to hold back a little more. He coaches each paddler by being mindful of their particular strengths and weaknesses. 

His work has been recognised by the club being awarded Talent Champion Club status earlier this year. This is largely due to his work consistently encouraging paddlers to participate and progress in the sport. Gordon also visits local schools promoting the sport, regularly organising after school paddling sessions to introduce and encourage young people to participate in paddling.

Gordon actively encourages paddlers to join the coaching scheme and then mentors them to gain the qualifications that will enhance their life skills and enable them to support and encourage other paddlers. Gordon is exceptionally generous with his time and support, not just to his own club members, but also in how he supports and encourages visiting competitors for events.

Runners-up: Andy Steel and Cassie Salter

Congratulations to all of our Annual Award winners for 2022 and our runners-up! Big thanks also go to the paddling community for voting over the past five weeks and to everyone who made a nomination this year. 

Nominations are open all year round for our National Awards and Honours, take a look.