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25 November 2016

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The winners of the coveted RAF Benson Sports Personality of the Year Awards have been announced.

Nominees were honoured to be joined by Mr Gareth Southgate, tipped to be the next England manager, as well the Air Officer Commanding No 2 Group, Air Vice-Marshal Gavin Parker, who both presented awards along with the Station Commander.

Cpl Lenane is presented with his award

The Sports Personality of the Year award was presented to Corporal Craig Lenane; captain of the cricket team who led a transition in the team’s performance from a collection of individuals to a professional, well-motivated group of cricketers.

FS Radcliffe is presented his award

The Most Valued Person award was presented to Flight Sergeant Jon Radcliffe; Chairman of the Benson Lions Football Club who has been instrumental in the development of a thriving, professional and successful club that serves the whole community.

SAC Wasyliw is presented with her award

The Best Newcomer award was presented to Senior Aircraftman Siobhan Wasyliw; new to powerlifting yet already crowned Best Female Lifter overall at the RAF championships thanks to her impeccable approach to training.

Sgt Moorhouse is presented with his award

The Coach of the Year award was presented to Sergeant Craig Moorhouse; coach to the Benson Lion Cubs Under 11s who has developed the youngsters into a champion team while extending his support to the whole Lion Cubs family.

FS Larkin is presented with his award

The Long Service to Sport award was presented to Flight Sergeant Matt Larkin; the current Men’s Overall Water-ski champion who has been skiing for over 40 years and has continually played an active role in the sport.

The Running and Athletics Team are presented with their award

The Team of the Year award was presented to the Running and Athletics team; winners of the President’s Cup and inter-Station event as well as inter-Service victories and hosting hugely successful cross country and road race events at Benson.

Gareth Southgate was genuinely delighted to be able to attend the awards ceremony and personnel truly appreciated that he took time from his busy schedule to ensure that military sporting heroes were recognised. Air Vice-Marshal Parker was visiting the Station for the second time in two days after conducting the Annual Formal Inspection the day before. A keen sportsman himself, the AVM said: “My heartiest congratulations to all the winners. The thing that struck me about all of the nominations is the level of effort and commitment; the selflessness from you all. As a result of your efforts we all live a richer life because this is what service life is all about; it's about the other people that you work with and the things that we do that you don't always get to do outside of the service. You should be very proud of your nominations.”

Group Captain Hamish Cormack, Station Commander RAF Benson, said: Our sports awards are one of the highlights of the year. It is important that we formally recognise the achievements of those who go above and beyond to excel in their chosen sport. Regardless of their role in sport, the teamwork, discipline, professionalism and tenacity required directly transfers to their day jobs. All our award winners should be rightly proud of their fantastic achievements. Those who did not win but were nominated should also take satisfaction from the fact that someone recognised their dedication and commitment, and therefore took the time and effort to write them up for consideration. Selecting the winners was a tremendously hard choice, and a genuine pleasure not a chore.”

Images by SAC Amy Lupton RAF (UK MOD Crown Copyright 2016)

The award citations in more detail:

Craig Lenane – Sports Personality of the Year. As captain of the cricket team, Craig has led a transition in the team’s performance from a collection of individuals to a professional, well-motivated group of cricketers. He hasn’t just placed his efforts into cricket though; Craig has used his skill sets and determination to make many sports a success here at Benson. He has also represented the station at football and hockey, assisted with delivering specific training programs to individuals for sports and even stepping in to referee at short notice.

Jon Radcliffe – Most Valued Person. Jon’s contribution to the success of football at RAF Benson since his arrival in 2003 has been exemplary. When injury forced him to stop playing in 2007, he took on numerous roles to ensure the success of the club. He has also been instrumental in the development of Women’s and Veterans’ teams. The hugely successful station and community facility has been continually extended owing to Jon’s devotion to the club, providing an under 5 training club, regular training sessions for 5-14 year olds and 2 successful youth teams. His exceptional management and interpersonal skills have ensured that the Benson Lions is considered one of the most professional clubs in the area.

Siobhan Wasyliw – Best Newcomer. Siobhan has only been competing within the RAF Powerlifting (58.5kg) scene for less than a year and despite her inexperience she has trained and adapted the way in which she approaches this sport impeccably. This has shone through in the competitions, with her finishing 1st in the Divisional competition, 7th in the Nationals and 4th in the Belgium National Powerlifting Championships. She also finished 3rd and was subsequently crowned Best Female Lifter overall at the RAF Championships; following this performance she gained selection into the RAF Team for the UK Armed Forces Championships, where she finished 2nd.

Craig Moorhouse – Coach of the Year. Craig has coached and managed the Benson Lion Cubs Under 11s team since 2013; developing the youngsters throughout each season into a medal and cup winning side full of enthusiasm. As well as developing his players’ football knowledge, he continually adds to their social and personal skills as well as encouraging a healthy lifestyle in a fun and friendly atmosphere. His hard work extends outside the usual coaching arena, involving families and supporters in coaching and providing enriching football-themed family activities.

Matt Larkin – Long Service to Sport. Matt has been water-skiing for 40 years, 21 of which have been in the RAF. He entered his first RAF championship in 1995 and has played an active role in the sport ever since, maintaining his unstoppable competitive spirit. This year he won the slalom and jump disciplines in the RAF Championships and the current RAF Men’s Overall Water-ski champion. Always keen to support the development of new athletes, he coaches all the novice ski jump competitors on and off the water.

Running and Athletics – Team of the Year. Starting the season with the Southern Services Cross Country League, the men’s team again proved that they were up to challenging the title, narrowly beaten into 2nd place as numbers fluctuated. The league finale was hosted at Benson and gained a record for the highest number of competitors in the league. The athletics team performed strongly, winning the President’s Cup and the Inter-Station event, with an overall win from the ladies finishing 44 points ahead of the next team. From these strong performances, 6 Benson athletes were selected for the Inter-Service. The Inter-Service Multi-events, heptathlon and decathlon, saw 3 Benson personnel participate, securing both individual and team titles. Finally the Club hosted the 52nd Annual Benson 7 Road Race, which saw an incredible 102 runners take to the streets and Benson take 2nd place.

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