Honouring sporting excellence in High Peak

Hayley Lever, High Peak Service to Sport Award winner. Photo contributed.
Hayley Lever, High Peak Service to Sport Award winner. Photo contributed.

CHAPEL-EN-LE-FRITH BORN endurance mountain biker Sally Bigham has rounded off a year of success by being crowned High Peak Sportsperson of the Year.

Sally, 33, who is currently ranked number one in the world, and Great Britain, for endurance mountain biking, took the top honour at the High Peak Sports Awards, presented by High Peak Mayor David Lomax recently at Glossop Rugby Club.

The former Chapel High School and New Mills School pupil, who is a member of the Topeak-Ergon Mountain Biking Team, has just completed her debut year as a professional rider, which included eight race victories in eight different countries, as well as seven second-place finishes.

Sally’s parents Megan and Mike, who still live in Chapel, collected the award on her behalf during last month’s ceremony, attended by over 160 people and highlighting a wealth of sporting talent in the district.

Megan, commenting on her daughter’s achievements, said: “I am very proud of her. She always goes for what she wants, pushes herself to the limit, and if she’s not giving 120 per cent it’s not good enough.”

Sally, who is currently taking a sabbatical from her academic career as a psychologist, has already confirmed her intention to ride as a professional next season, and has set her sights on becoming world champion.

Among the other winners at the High Peak Sports Awards was St Thomas More School’s year 11 basketball team, which was crowned High Peak Team of the Year after a season which saw it become Derbyshire County Champions and finish third in the National School Conference competition.

Hope Valley Rugby Club’s Adam Russell was named Coach of the Year, in recognition of his hard work in attaining coaching badges in both rugby union and rugby league, and for his work with Hope Valley College pupils.

Rugby club spokesman Matthew Eyre said: “Adam has shown a maturity beyond his years, and dedicated his spare time despite having a young family. He won the award despite stiff competition from a wide variety of sports.”

The Service to Sport Award was presented to Community Sports Trust board member Hayley Lever, for her volunteer work with Chinley Community Association which inspired her to develop the Derbyshire Village Games project.

High Peak Village Games Officer Emma Beswick, who nominated Hayley, said: “Hayley does such hard work in the High Peak. Chinley people have benefited so much from what she’s done and you can see all the children, all the adults taking part in various activities and it’s all thanks to Hayley.”

The award for High Peak Young Sports Leader/Coach of the Year went to Allan Jones, who leads a lunchtime boccia club at Chapel-en-le-Frith High School for learning support students. Runner-up in this category was 16-year-old Zakh Poots, from Dove Holes, who has completed over 100 hours volunteering with the High Peak Village Games team.

High Peak Trampolining & Rebound Therapy Club, which trains in Buxton, was named Sports Club of the Year, while Buxton Chinese Kickboxing star Holly Rodgers was runner-up in the Junior Sportswoman of the Year category, and Hope’s Maddie Thompson was runner-up in both the Disabled Sportsperson of the Year and Junior Disabled Sportsperson of the Year categories.

Awards ceremony organiser Emma Champion added: “It was great to see the best of the High Peak’s sports performers, clubs and coaches being recognised for their achievements at the pinnacle event of the year in the district.”

The High Peak Sports Awards were organised by St Philip Howard sport development team in Glossop, in partnership with the High Peak Village Games Team and supported by High Peak Borough Council.