RAF Halton Hosts the RAF Sports Awards

At a ceremony organised by the RAF Sports Board, Air Marshal Baz North OBE MA, Air Member for Personnel and Capability, presented the 5th Annual RAF Sports Awards to no less than three team and sixteen individually nominated RAF coaches, officials, sportsmen and women from 51 different RAF sports.

The Director of the RAF Sports Board, Air Commodore Barry Doggett opened the ceremony and thanked the charities, sponsors and everyone in the RAF who support their sportsmen and women that make the awards possible. Thanks went to ceremony organiser, Steve Parlor and Group Captain Ian Atkinson on their retirement from the Board with special recognition awards.

Addressing the RAF sporting elite on what sport does for the RAF, Air Marshal North said: ‘We have the opportunity before us to recognise that within a sporting sphere, it is part of what binds us together as a close knit community so when we are in harms way conducting operations, we pull out that last amount of energy and focus required for us to deliver in the most demanding situations.’

The award for the RAF Sportsman of the Year went to RAF Cosford based Sergeant Stu Benson of the RAF and Great Britain Bobsleigh Team with Sportswoman of the Year going to Flying Officer Abi Bagshaw based at High Wycombe for triathlon, setting RAF athletics records and being the current World Sprint Duathlon Champion.

Sgt Stu Benson exclaimed: ‘It’s brilliant the RAF Bobsleigh Team has been recognised! With a combination of team work and hard work we went on to win the Inter Services against two Olympic drivers which shows our increasing strength over the last few years.’

Flying Officer Abi Bagshaw said on receiving her award: ‘I’m pretty shocked but feeling pretty good. The field was so strong and there are such incredible girls doing such different things, you never know how you are going to fare.’

The RAF Sports Team award went to the RAF Bobsleigh Team for the second year running, after finally beating the Army and Navy for the first time in 13 years.

The RAF Sports Official award went to Flight Lieutenant Mark Buckley for his refereeing contribution RAF Lacrosse. ‘I’m really please to get some recognition for our lesser known sport. Refereeing is a team thing with one on the field and two on the bench working as a team; leadership I learned in the RAF.’

The RAF Sports Administrator award went to Senior Aircraftman Nick Barber for his contribution to RAF Swimming. In addition to his leadership as Captain, he himself won gold at the Inter Services, giving the RAF Swimming Association the most success it has had in recent years.

Three RAF Sports Lifetime Achievement Awards went to Wing Commander George Liston (RAF Fencing), Wing Commander Mike Martin (RAF Squash) and Adrian ‘Mac’ McAllister (RAF Boxing).

Flt Lt Liz Herbert won the RAF Active Magazine’s Article of the Year Award for her account of the 3,000 mile Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Rowing Challenge. Her story, along with runner-up, Flight Lieutenant Reanne Benson’s account of endurance horse riding in Africa can be read by following this link. http://www.raf.mod.uk/rafactive/rafcms/mediafiles/6D8E1063_5056_A318_A83016DF36A59555.pdf

RAF Halton is home to seventeen different RAF sports and the RAF Sports Board that administers the 51 RAF different sports associations.