Professional footballer George Thomson’s year got even better as he was voted Sports Personality of the Year by Melton Times readers.
George, who earned his first professional contract with Chester FC in January, five years after being rejected by Nottingham Forest, picked up the award at the 2015 Melton Times Sports Awards evening last Thursday.
Conversely, Ollie Burke, who signed professional terms with Forest aged 17 last October, and made his Football League debut, was named Junior Sports Personality of the Year.
We were inundated with votes with more than 2,200 received for the six shortlisted candidates in both awards after just two weeks of voting.
BBC broadcaster and a good friend to the awards, Ivan Gaskell, hosted the evening which included special guest appearance from Claire Lomas and Darren Bicknell.
The audience was shown a short video of Claire Lomas’ incredible life story, while Darren talked about his work with the Belvoir Castle Cricket and Countryside Trust, and gave a few expert predictions on the upcoming Ashes series.
Among the award-winners there was a notable double for Melton RFC who were named Team of the Year after a historic season which saw them crowned league champions and Midlands cup winners, both with an unbeaten record.
First XV captain Marcus Badham opened proceedings by picking up the Sportsman of the Year trophy, but coach Gareth Collins was pipped in the Coach of the Year honour.
That went to Tyler Elliott for his commitment to and his inspirational work with Asfordby Amateurs Inclusive FC.
Sportswoman of the Year was Great Dalby’s very own Ninja Nan, Ede Smith, the 71-year-old grandmother who won regional gold medals and British Championship bronze medals in GKR karate.
Nottinghamshire CCC junior batsman and record-breaking goalscorer Ben Lumb was our Junior Sportsman, and British champion ten-pin bowler Katie Tagg was Junior Sportswoman in two very high quality categories.
Shane Sharkey was named Clubperson of the Year after receiving a record number of nominations from his clubmates at the Stilton Striders.
He won for his pioneering work in bringing the popular weekly Parkrun event to Melton this year.
Chris Hibbitt added the Footballer of the Year to the two club awards he won with Holwell Sports this season.
And it was a similar tale for Waltham point-to-point jockey Kelly Morgan who was our 2015 Horsewoman of the Year, having won two Midlands leading rider titles in the spring.
The young champions from Melton’s Muay Thai Assassins were named Junior Team of the Year for a spellbinding 12 months which included a plethora of British, European, and world titles.
n See inside for full list of winners and finalists, and a photo round-up.