BALLYMENA’S prowess as a sporting town was celebrated as the borough held its 15th annual Sports Awards last week.
The fabulous surroundings of the Braid Town Hall complex once again played host to what has become the jewel in the crown of the area’s sporting social calendar and which was once again seamlessly compered by BBC presenter Jackie Fullerton.
Mayor of Ballymena, Alderman PJ McAvoy, said that the event celebrated not only the talented athletes within the borough but also recognised the important contributions of coaches, administrators and volunteers within local sport.
Paying tribute to the various sponsors of the awards, Alderman McAvoy said: “This support helps us to deliver this event in a manner which befits the standard of the nominees.”
The Mayor also pointed to the successes of major sporting events held in Ballymena over the past year - including the Milk Cup finals and the PGA EuroPro Tour golf event at Galgorm Castle, as well as the multitude of sports which takes place at grassroots level week in, week out.
He also endorsed the raft of Council-backed initiatives aimed at promoting sport and healthy living for all age groups.
He emphasised the local authority’s commitment to backing sport – citing the opening of new facilities at Clough and Cargan in 2012 and planned upgrades at Ahoghill, Broughshane and Kells this year – adding: “We appreciate the value sport brings to our society and our citizens.”
Special presentations were made to Ballymena Runners, marking the club’s 20th anniversary; local basketball coach Paul McKee in recognition of him being awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s honours list; and to retiring Council Deputy Chief Executive Ronnie McBride, marking his outstanding contribution to sport during his time in Ballymena.
Thanks were also extended to Harry Cook for providing video footage to accompany the awards, and to Council Sports Development Officer Katrina McCaughern, who co-ordinated the awards event.
See our website for reports on the winners of the various categories.