A prestigious accolade for their junior fell-running team capped a night to remember for Buxton Athletics Club at the High Peak Sports Awards.
For they were named junior team of the year at the awards ceremony, which was staged by the High Peak School and Sport Partnership, in conjunction with Derbyshire Sport, at The Marquee, Pavilion Gardens in Buxton.
The honour reognised an outstanding year for the team, who are aged between 11 and 17. Helen Thornhill was crowned the British uphill champion and selected to represent England in the Home Counties Championship, along with teammate Alex Ediker.
Helen also gained a silver medal at the English Fell Championships, where Alex and Finn Moffatt bagged bronzes and Buxton finished a superb sixth of 59 teams from across the country.
Lauren McNeil also gained an England call-up for the World Mountain Running Association’s International Youth Cup in Smolyan, Bulgaria. And of the ten athletes selected to represent Derbyshire in the Inter-Counties Fell Championships, eight were from the Buxton club, with the U16 boys winning a bronze medal.
The full team is: Lauren Wilshaw, Caleb Winfield, Abbie Fryer-Winder, Heather Wilshaw, Luke Mamczur, Samuel Soles, Daniel Soles, Jacob Winfield, Alex Ediker, Finn Moffatt, David Fryer-Winder, Helen Thornhill, Lauren McNeil, Rebekah Heath, Jacob Buckley and Elliot Meylan.
Club coach Rachel Dowle praised the team’s resilience and determination, adding: “They are an absolute inspiration! They work so hard and put 100% into every race. Not only are they determined individuals, they are also a cohesive team unit, supporting and encouraging each other.
“The whole year has been a real experience for them, but they have lived up to every challenge. Every one of them is a winner and, as a team, they are champions.”
Eleven-year-old Lauren Wilshaw, who is a talented footballer too, was also a finalist in the junior sportsperson of the year category at the ceremony, while Buxton AC itself was a finalist in the club of the year section.