Night of stars at awards

CLOSE to 400 votes flooded in during the battle for Northumberland Gazette Sports Personality of the Year award glory.

Para-dressage rider Gayle Bloomfield won the race for the 2011 accolade, to follow in the footsteps of previous winners Sam Dronsfield, Laura Weightman, Michael Henderson and Keith MacDonald.

This year’s contest was a close-fought affair, with widespread support coming in for all of the shortlisted candidates, who were specially selected by us to honour achievement and dedication.

But Gayle came out on top, beating athletes Emma Pringle, Brad Sansom and Ian Harding, footballer Luke James, bobsleigher Keith McLaughlin, squash player Chris Wiggins, surf-kayaker Tamsin Green and tetrathletes Steph Courty and Rebecca Barwise-Munro.

Volunteer John Bound was also in the running for his services to Alnmouth and Lesbury Cricket Club.

Gazette editor Paul Larkin paid tribute to all of the candidates and praised victorious Gayle for winning what was the fifth award of its kind.

“We are once again proud to be able to support local sport in this high-profile way,” Mr Larkin said.

“You voted in your hundreds for all the shortlisted candidates, so thank you for your support. The talent and commitment we have in the area always amazes me.”

The award was presented during the Alnwick and District Sports Council Annual Awards Night at Alnwick Playhouse on Friday.

l For a full round-up, turn to Page 4