The Surrey Sports Awards, run by Active Surrey, took place on December 4 at the Brooklands Hotel, bringing together athletes, clubs, coaches, volunteers, teams, businesses and more in a ceremony hosted by BBC Surrey’s Tim Durrant.
It pitched winners of the regional contests, including the recent Farnham Sports Awards, against each other, and Farnham punched well above its weight - with Rachel Morris winning Sports Personality of the Year, Farnham Rugby Club Team of the Year, and Farnham Boxing Club’s Isaac Walker Young Volunteer of the Year.
Rachel, described at the ceremony as “one of the most inspiration athletes that both Farnham and Surrey have ever produced”, won her second Paralympic gold at Rio 2016 in the arms-shoulders single scull after switching sports from hand-cycling to rowing.
Her citation also paid tribute to her outstanding service to the community, adding that she often attends local sporting events including the Surrey Para Games and the Farnham Community Games, and gives talks to local schools, charities and other local organisations.
Rachel, who was also awarded an MBE in the 2017 New Year’s Honours list, is currently recovering from major shoulder surgery but revealed at the Farnham Sports Awards in October that she’s determined to have another attempt at winning a medal at the Tokyo 2020 Games.
Farnham RFC 1st XV won the Team of the Year award having won all but one of their games last season to top the London 3 South West division, as well as winning the national RFU Senior Vase cup competition.
Both feats bettered any previous season and until this year only one local team had reached a national final at the home of their sport, that being Rowledge Cricket Club’s loss in the Village Cup Final at Lords - making Farnham RFC’s 37-15 victory over Droitwich RFC at Twickenham in May the best ever result by a local team.
Finally, a young boxer and coach at Farnham Boxing Club, Issac Walker, was named the Surrey Sports Awards Young Volunteer of the Year for his work with the club’s minis and junior section.
His citation read: “New members arrive feeling a bit daunted but Isaac is there to reassure them. He is a talented boxer, able to transfer these skills to coaching. He is patient, professional, and speaks to the boxers on their level whilst maintaining a sense of authority.
“He coaches for the minis once and juniors three times a week. All while completing his own training four times a week - what an inspiration!”
Hailing Farnham’s winners in a letter to this week’s Herald, David Gill, chairman of the Farnham Sports Council, said: “In 2017, just like in 2015 and 2016, Farnham remarkably scooped three of the top awards. So a big well done to the winners, who’ve done Farnham proud.”