Active Essex Activity Awards finalists announced – Vote for your winners!

Active Essex

Active Essex has announced the shortlist for its eagerly awaited 2021 Activity Awards, which will celebrate Essex, Southend and Thurrock individuals, organisations, and groups, and those who have inspired and supported the county to find their active.

The awards ceremony will take place on Wednesday 1st December at Chelmsford City Racecourse, and Active Essex are calling on the public to have their say on three of the award categories. Essex residents are being asked to vote for their winners for the Find Your Active ambassador of the Year, Active Club of the Year and Sports Personality of the Year.

Azeem Akhtar, Chairman of Active Essex, commented: “The Essex Activity Awards is our way of saying thank you to the individuals, athletes, clubs and community groups who are creating the opportunities across our county, and are helping others to find their active, through our recently launched Find Your Active campaign.”

“We have received a record-breaking number of nominations and I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who made a nomination, and a big congratulations to all of the finalists. It is now time to vote for your shortlisted stars!”

To honour 10 years of the annual Active Essex awards and in line with their new 10-year physical activity and sport strategy; Fit for the Future, this year’s categories have been refreshed and reflect the key priorities, which aim to create an active Essex to improve everyone’s health and wellbeing.

Keen to retain the traditional categories such as Sports Personality and Active Education Award, Active Essex are introducing five new awards to ensure they celebrate individuals and organisations that deserve the recognition for their commitment in supporting residents through physical activity during the pandemic. To coincide with Active Essex’s Find Your Active campaign, two categories will be dedicated to individuals who have recently begun their active journey or supported residents to find the activity that’s right for them.

Votes for all categories can be cast here, and voting closes at midnight on Sunday 14th November.

Active Essex 2021 Shortlist


Active Club of the Year, sponsored by State of Life

  • East of England PaddleSports in Colchester – The enthusiasm that Oli and his team injects into the club is infectious and has created a very rewarding club that is a pleasure to be part of. Bringing people together through Paddle Boarding, their ethos ‘Be kind, Be careful, Stay safe’ truly is echoed throughout conversations on posts, training offered and events which comes across profoundly when you get to meet the team in person too. This group has been amazing for helping people to get active and meet other like-minded.
  • Dance Trix, in Basildon – Dance Trix went above and beyond to keep both adult and child dancers active, engaged and connected during Covid. To be able to continue to dance as a community during lockdown gave children and adults a focus to their week, provided an alternative to ‘going forward a walk’ and kept a sense of normality in a scary and uncertain time. It perhaps wasn’t an easy task at times, but they did it with a smile always!
  • Harlow Cycling Club – Harlow CC was formed in 1956 as a method of keeping youngsters off the streets and keeping them occupied with a worthwhile pastime. This ethos carries on today and with its doors open to all irrespective of skill and ability. They managed to adapt with the changing climate and challenges faced by their community, offering safe small group rides, indoor/online riding, ladies only rides and more, to ensure all who ride with them are supported, comfortable and have fun.

Find Your Active Ambassador of the Year, Sponsored by Mitie

  • Jo Bryant, in Braintree – Jo’s community is always at the centre of everything she does. As well as offering motivating online walks, to help people get used to the movement of walking and the ways in which it is good for you, she holds local walks across the Witham and Braintree area for everyone. Jo ensures her walking groups are inclusive and easily accessible for everyone, no matter their age or ability. She has directed many people to sign up to be an ambassador, as well as sharing stories of her participants, in hope that that can inspire others to find their active.
  • Kat Gordon, in Basildon – Kat has shown initiative and drive to want to be actively part of the Find Your Active ambassador family and she clearly wants to help show people how many activities and opportunities are available to residents in Essex. She is doing a lot of things off her own back, such as trying out a new activity every week for the next year, all around the county. She is going to blog this to help inspire others to find an activity that’s suitable and best for them and is someone who has really got behind the campaign and driving this locally.
  • Macey Brown, in Harlow – At just 13 years old, Macey loves physical activity herself and is a real hit on YouTube and Instagram, highlighting short workout sessions for other children and young people to follow. Macey has always been active, but truly understands the importance of physical activity and how she can use the Find Your Active platform to highlight the opportunities for schools and clubs in Essex and what you can simply do at home on your own.
  • Roberta Meskell, in Tendring – Roberta supports her local community by putting on fitness sessions for families and is particularly keen to support families with teenagers as she knows from experience that this is a pinnacle time when families tend to do things separately. Roberta started these classes during the pandemic last year, holding them outdoors in the fresh sea air. They have been a huge success in her community, so much so, she has now collaborated with Inclusion Ventures in Jaywick holding bounce sessions for families.

Sports Personality of the Year, sponsored by Stoke by Nayland Golf Club

  • Bethany Shriever, in Braintree – Bethany began BMX when she was aged nine years old. Thereafter she started training at her local club in Braintree. She was chosen to represent Great Britain at the Tokyo Olympics, where she won the Women’s BMX racing Olympic gold medal in sensational form. Soon after, solidifying her world dominance winning the UCI World BMX Championships 2021.
  • Alice Kinsella, in Basildon – Alice was part of Great Britain’s artistic women’s gymnastics team at the Tokyo Olympics, claiming a Bronze Medal, the first since 1928. A fantastic achievement from the 20-year-old from Basildon, especially as it was her debut Olympic Games performance.
  • Crystal Lane-Wright, in Chelmsford – The Paralympian, secured 3 silver medals at the Tokyo Paralympic Games. Crystal secured an impressive hat-trick of medals in her cycling events, despite the weather not being on her side and tough races against some close opponents.
  • Matthew Coward-Holley, in Chelmsford – Matthew Coward-Holley hailed a “phenomenal” bronze medal as his journey from aspiring rugby player to shooting star took him onto the Olympic podium in Tokyo. After a back injury, the Chelmsford athlete was determined to shine in the shooting sport, a hobby he used to enjoy with his father.
  • George Peasgood, in Uttlesford – George, from Saffron Walden, secured a silver in the men’s PTS5-category para triathlon at the Tokyo Paralympic Games, as well as a bronze in the men’s C4 road time trial. At his second Paralympic Games, George did not disappoint and performed amazingly.


Active workplace of the year, sponsored by Raleigh

A company or department who encourage their employees to move more, whether it be in the office or working from home. By generating innovative ideas or creating opportunities they have been ale to encourage positive physical and mental wellbeing.

  • CVST, Tendring
  • Baker Labels, Brentwood

Active Wellbeing Award, sponsored by Writtle University College

This award is to recognise an individual, organisation or group who have championed the importance of positive movement for the health and wellbeing of Essex residents.

  • Roots to Wellbeing, Harlow
  • Backside to Trackside, Basildon
  • Step’n’Smile, Thurrock

Active Education Award, sponsored by Gosfield School

A school, early years setting, college or university that helps young people understand the importance of being active to benefit their health and wellbeing. They offer a wide range of opportunities to participate in physical education and extra-curricular activity.

  • Greensted School, Basildon
  • Colchester High School PE Department, Colchester
  • Friars Grove Primary School, Colchester

Essex Activity Hero, sponsored by Spotlight Sound

The title ‘hero’ doesn’t come lightly. This award is for someone who has made an outstanding contribution to local sport or physical activity and gone above and beyond during the Covid-19 pandemic. This individual may be set within a sports club, physical activity community group or an online instructor who you feel deserves recognition for their commitment to support and develop both themselves and those around them.

  • Phil Carpenter, Uttlesford
  • Scott Mallon, Thurrock
  • Billy Ray-Mansell, Rochford
  • Michelle Russell, Epping Forest

Strengthening Communities Award, sponsored by Mitie

An organisation or group who has used physical activity to make a positive impact on their community. Whether that is by developing connections, ensuring inclusion, showing resilience and promoting stronger, safer communities. This nominee has worked hard to bring the community together and may have ensure individuals living with a disability, ethnic diverse communities, women and girls, and other under-represented groups have been prioritised.

  • U-Turn, Tendring
  • New City Girls W.I. Chelmsford
  • ATF, Southend
  • Changing Lives CIC, Harlow

Young Sports Personality of the year, sponsored by Revive.Digital

An individual who has achieved something significant in the past year in their chosen sport or activity. Whether this has been at a national or international level, or as an individual or as part of a team, this category is open to all athletes, non-disabled and those living with a disability. Nominees must be under 18 on 1st September 2021.

  • Ellie Challis, Tendring
  • Freia Challis, Braintree
  • Harley Smith, Southend

Find Your Active Participant of the Year, sponsored by Street Tag

Introducing a new category for our awards this year, to reflect and celebrate individuals who have found their active this year! This nominee will be an inspiring individual who may have overcome barriers using physical activity to achieve physical, mental and social benefits and have made that positive impact on their life. This individual will highlight that physical activity can be enjoyed no matter your age, ability or background.

  • Angel Cogger, Basildon
  • Ian Woodard, Braintree
  • Sonia Meggs, Brentwood
  • Lesley Wood, Castle Point
  • Karen MacLennan, Chelmsford
  • Ben Slessor, Colchester
  • John Newman, Epping Forest
  • Solomon Bonsu, Harlow
  • Marion Watson, Maldon
  • Aiden-Lee Kilbane, Rochford
  • Michael Junkere, Southend
  • Alan Warren, Tendring
  • Aileen Long, Thurrock
  • Janet Dixon, Uttlesford