BEST OF NORTHUMBERLAND: Sporting Achievement

Best of Northumberland awards 2014 at Alnwick Garden'Susan Dungworth of Active Northumberland presented Sporting Achievement awards to Harry Thompson and Frederick Mackenzie.
Best of Northumberland awards 2014 at Alnwick Garden'Susan Dungworth of Active Northumberland presented Sporting Achievement awards to Harry Thompson and Frederick Mackenzie.

With a wealth of talent in the county, the contest for the Sporting Achievement category, sponsored by Active Northumberland, was immense.

Because of this, judges decided that two of the shortlisted nominees deserved the recognition.

First up was 74-year-old Fred Mackenzie, a veteran weightlifter and two-time Paralympic competitor, from the Parkhead and Wansbeck Power Sports Club.

Fred has dedicated the last 40 years of his life to the sport that he loves.

He puts in countless hours of coaching to help juniors at Parkhead and is always prepared to push the boundaries, raise funds and inspire hundreds of young people.

His nomination said: ‘He is a true unsung hero, a role model to all that meet him.’

Fred said: “It is an honour to get this. But I don’t need recognition for what I do, I just love doing it. It is nice to hear how much other people appreciate it though.”

The second winner was Harry Thompson, a 19-year-old full-time wheelchair user who plays the Paralympic sport of boccia. He is currently number one in England and fifth in Great Britain.

Harry has had a very successful season, winning gold at numerous competitions and has taken the national title three times, as well as captaining England at an international level. He trains for up to 16 hours a week, competes throughout the country and is aiming to take part in the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

Harry said: “It’s good to get this award. I really enjoy boccia and it’s nice to be awarded for what I do.”

Also nominated: Sam Courty, from South Charlton, a talented rower.