GREAT CONTRIBUTION: John Ashworth with his award. His citation read: “John Ashworth arrived in Barnard Castle 42 years ago, the first part of his long playing career was primarily as an elegant upper order batsman and latterly, making a considerable mark
GREAT CONTRIBUTION: John Ashworth with his award. His citation read: “John Ashworth arrived in Barnard Castle 42 years ago, the first part of his long playing career was primarily as an elegant upper order batsman and latterly, making a considerable mark

THE County Durham sports awards produced three Teesdale winners last Friday night. At a packed Gala Theatre in Durham the trio of John Ashworth, Sue Bainbridge and India Oates all came out on top in their categories.

John, who has been player and coach at Barnard Castle Cricket Club for almost 50 years, took the evening’s climactic award for contribution to sport. Sue, dedicated volunteer at Middleton’s community gym for the last seven years, won for her contribution to physical activity.

Sixteen-year-old India, who suffers from cerebral palsy, was presented with the sport and physical activity achievement prize. She took gold medals in the 100m and 200m in the T35 category at the world CPISRA Games, in Spain, last year.

There were 13 winners in all across a wide range of fields which embraced performance, coaching, organisation and school sport. The annual awards are run by Active Durham and the Teesdale trio had already been successful in the South West Durham section last November to qualify for the finals.

The top prize for John Ashworth was a fitting tribute to his work Barnard Castle Cricket Club, where his dedicated coaching of juniors has been instrumental in the club’s recent success.

Club president Stephen Brenkley said: “It is impossible to overstate John’s contribution to Barney cricket and to the well-being of generations of young sports people.

“He was a splendid player from the moment he arrived in town as young graduate in the early 1970s, an elegant batsman, cultured wicketkeeper and a fielder with lightning reflexes but he has allied that to the coaching and encouragement of young cricketers.”

Durtona

John will again be organising the club’s Wednesday evening junior coaching sessions this summer as he has done for much of the past 20 years.

He will be 70 later this year but remains as enthusiastic ever.

“At Barney we’re always saying it is not simply what he does but the way he does it,” said Mr Brenkley.

“I played a lot of cricket with John and his sportsmanship and fair play, while competing hard, make him a role model for all young cricketers, girls and boys.

“The club is delighted for him getting this award which follows his inclusion in the North Yorkshire and South Durham League Hall of Fame two years ago.”

The citation on Sue’s award said that she had supported hundreds of people to be active through her passion for helping people and added “her dedication goes above and beyond all expectations”.

India showed talent as a runner from an early age and refused to be daunted by her disability. She told the audience at the Gala Theatre: “I love pushing myself, keeping going and trying hard.”