1st June 2020
Talented members of Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group (NSCG) Academy of Sport have been announced as winners in three out of six categories at the 2020 Association of Colleges (AoC) Sports Awards, in a virtual ceremony held on Wednesday 13 May, scooping awards in the following categories:
- Student Performer of the Year – Jenny Hesketh
- Achievement in Disability Sport – George Chapman
- Hall of Fame – Anthony Viggars (NSCG Ladies’ Volleyball Coach)
The AoC Sport Awards are the chance for member colleges from across the country to showcase and celebrate the achievements and inspirational work of students and staff in college sport. Usually held at the annual AoC Sport National Championships at Nottingham University, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, this year’s awards were instead hosted virtually via AoC Sport’s social media platforms.
Student Performer of the Year winner, Jenny Hesketh currently studies a demanding A Level programme consisting of Biology, Physical Education & Photography, alongside being a member of the Andy Griffin football Academy (AGFA) balancing her academic studies with a rigorous training schedule for commitments to both the English Colleges Football Association (ECFA) and England Rugby U18’s, seeing her participate in sport nearly every day of the week.
As part of the AGFA, Jenny is captain of the ladies’ football team, and this year prior to lockdown, guided the team to success in the AoC West Midlands Regional Sports Championships where the squad came top of the table and qualified for the AoC National Championships, which were due to take place in at Nottingham University this April.
Outside of her college commitments, Jenny is part of the ECFA England national squad, having represented the team at the prestigious Caput Mundi Tournament in Rome in February this year. With football not being her only sporting passion, Jenny is also captain of Leek Ladies Rugby team and has been selected for the Loughborough Lightning’s Premier Tyrells, which has led to further success in her being selected for the England Rugby U18s squad.
Dave Sutton, NSCG Academy of Sport Manager said: “Jenny is a truly remarkable sportswoman, to represent your country in one sport is an incredible personal achievement, but to do it in two separate disciplines, takes a lot of drive, commitment and most importantly a real passion for sport, which is truly inspirational to others. Jenny, will no doubt go on to have a fantastic sporting career, and we wish her all the success she deserves along the way.”
In the Achievement in Disability Sport category, BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport student, George Chapman was named winner for 2020.
George suffers from Cerebral Palsy Spastic Diplegia and despite the potential barriers of his disability, George has been an outstanding ambassador for sport, activity participating in a wide-range of sports including; wheelchair basketball, table tennis, badminton and cricket, throwing himself fully into all aspects of college life.
Outside of college, George undertakes training camps with the Great Britain Wheelchair Basketball team, through a partnership at Sheffield Hallam University. Making a three-hour round trip, three times a week for training and home matches. On completion of his current course, George will take up a place at Sheffield Hall University, training alongside and competing with the Great Britain team, with future aspirations of making it into the national first-team squad.
On George’s win, Dave said: “George is a student who poses an infectious enthusiasm, coupled with his positive demeanour and positive outlook on life, nothing appears to phase George, taking everything in his stride and willing to do anything to positively promote disability within sport.”
Each year the AoC Sport Awards look to recognise coaches who have not only devoted their time, passion and energy but have also excelled in their chosen sporting discipline with their ‘Hall of Fame’ award, which this year was awarded to NSCG Volleyball Coach, Anthony Viggars.
Coaching Volleyball at NSCG for over 10 years, Anthony has demonstrated a spectacular commitment to the sport of volleyball and AoC Sport having guided NSCG to 15 national titles in men, women’s and mixed volleyball disciplines. His most recent achievement, guiding our NSCG ladies’ volleyball team to success in the 2018/19 season as undefeated league champions in the AoC Sport West Midlands Senior League, gold medallists at the AoC Sport National Championships, AoC Sport Knockout Cup and being named AoC Sport ‘Team of the Year 2019’.
Throughout his career, many of the players he has coached have gone to compete internationally, representing their chosen countries, with three captaining their countries – each crediting Anthony with the reason for their success.
Commenting on Anthony’s career achievements, Dave said: “Locally everyone within volleyball for the past 15 years have either been coached by Anthony or know of his commitment to the sport. He values sports participation not only for physical benefits but also the psychological and social benefits. His commitment to the sport is aspirational and inspiring, the drive to succeed and for improvement means 7.45am sessions are the norm. Anthony is a coach who is a credit not only to NSCG but to the sport of volleyball and the best aspect is that he has no intentions of retiring anytime soon.”
Karen Dobson OBE, NSCG Principal and Chief Executive said: “Year on year, the NSCG Academy of Sport continues to go from strength-to-strength and awards such as these serve to demonstrate why were are the region's top college for sport. Awards like these are a testament to these students and our dedicated coaching and support staff who have worked tirelessly to ensure their success.”
The NSCG Academy of Sport is part of the Ofsted rated ‘Outstanding’ Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group (NSCG) and is open to students who want to compete, coach, keep fit or simply have fun. There are a number of competitive programmes including; football, badminton, basketball, netball, athletics, rugby and volleyball.