Stockport sports stars scoop top awards

RNLI Youth Water Safety SchemeSports Achiever of the Year, Jessica Eadsforth-Yates (centre) / Disabled Sports Achiever of the Year, Andy Small (centre)

Two Stockport athletes have won top accolades at this year’s Greater Manchester Sports Awards, after being put forward by their clubs, relatives and Sport Stockport following their success at the annual Stockport Sports Awards. 17-year-old Jessica Eadsforth-Yates was named Sports Achiever of the Year, while 23-year-old Andy Small received Disabled Sports Achiever of the Year.

Jessica received her award for her outstanding achievements playing basketball. As well as playing in the England Under 18s squad, she plays in the National League at both Under 17 and Under 19 level. 

Kelly Eadsforth-Yates, Jessica’s mum, nominated her for the Stockport Sports Awards. She said: “Jessica’s daily routine involves studying for her A-levels and then taking part in three to four hours of team, individual, and strength and conditioning training – it’s extremely tough. She moved away from home at just 16 so that she can receive the best possible training. Her main goal this year was the European Championship and she made it. It just goes to show that hard work pays off.”

Jessica has been supported in her sporting efforts by Life Leisure’s staff foundation, the David Hopkins Foundation. One grant awarded enabled Jessica to attend the European Championships in Portugal, as well as gain access to gym facilities and additional kit. Jessica also used Life Leisure’s well-equipped gyms and training facilities during her time on their ‘Champions of the Future’ scheme.

Andy Small received his award for his prowess in the field of wheelchair racing, having recently won a bronze medal in the T33 100m at this year’s Paralympic Games. Andy, who attended the 2012 Paralympic Games as a spectator, was inspired to take up the sport after watching David Weir in action. He approached Stockport Wheelchair Racing Group and started his impressive journey to the Rio Games.

Rick Hoskins, coach at Stockport Wheelchair Racing, who nominated Andy for the award said: “Andy is continually looking to improve his performance and trains six days a week. His achievements are even more incredible given that unlike many other athletes, he receives no funding from UK Sport and competes in a borrowed club chair. However, he has overcome this difficulty by upping his training and is recording world level times. His coach predicts that in a bespoke chair, Andy would be racing at world record pace.”

Stockport Wheelchair Racing Group has also received support from Life Leisure through both Sport England small grants to purchase new racing chairs, and the David Hopkins Foundation.

Malcolm McPhail, CEO of Life Leisure said: “It’s inspiring to see the amazing achievements of these two talented athletes this year and I’m incredibly proud that Life Leisure has been able to support them in their efforts. We all congratulate them on these well-deserved awards and I hope their success will inspire people in Stockport to take up sport themselves.”