OLYMPIANS helped celebrate sporting success at RAF Benson’s sports personality of the year awards.
Rower Peter Chambers and Team GB hockey players Ashleigh Ball, Anne Panter, Chloe Rogers and Nicola White were guests at the annual awards ceremony, which honoured five individuals and a team of the year.
Nigel Colman, station commander and group captain, said: “Sport promotes excellence and I am confident that taking part in sport contributes to the operational effectiveness of the RAF, not only through instilling individual self-discipline but also through enhancing our esprit de corps and raising the standards of fitness and endurance.
“It brings out the best in people and stimulates the hunger to succeed on the field, in the workplace and on operations. It is vitally important that this effort and achievement is recognised.”
Senior aircraftwoman Tasha Waite was presented with the top award of the night while deployed in Al Udeid in Qatar.
She has represented the station in many sports, including netball, hockey, swimming and athletics and has become the quickest female to complete the Al Udeid challenge — a 100-mile run, 345-mile cycle ride and 55-mile row.
Sgt Anne Murray was awarded newcomer of the year after progressing from novice six months ago to winning the inter-service women’s novice coxed fours event at the joint service regatta.
Coach of the year was awarded to Corp Mark Simpson who began managing the base’s second football team last year and has taken over as first team manager since the beginning of this year. He also runs two teams for Benson United.
Corp Phil James-Morse won the award for most valued person in sport for his work in reviving the base’s sub-aqua club. He restarted the financial accounts, relocated the rib and improved the boathouse as well as ensuring all kit met regulations and organising an expedition to Ascension Island.
Fl Sgt Jon Radcliffe was awarded the long service to sport award for his contribution to the RAF Benson Lions Football Club.
He started playing for the team nine years ago and since then has become chairman, treasurer and manager of the first team as well as entering a second team into the league and expanding the club to include a women’s team, the RAF Benson Lionesses.
Team of the year was presented to RAF Benson Rugby Club for their success in both the rugby union and the football league, winning the RAF 10s plate and finished runners-up in the sevens.