The coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown and suspension of all activity across the UK hasn’t stopped Basketball England honouring some of our Eagles Community Foundation coaches in its annual North East Region Volunteer Awards.

Nominations for the 2020 awards were gathered from the public across the region and the winners have been selected in partnership with the Regional Management Committee Chairs.

Commenting on the achievements of the winners the North East Regional Chair, Howard Leighton – a familiar face to Eagles fans at our BBL and WBBL games and winner of the Teacher of the Year award himself – said:  “I’d like to offer my congratulations to all our winners in the Volunteer Awards. Volunteers are the lifeblood of our sport, helping to provide amazing opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to take part in many different basketball activities.

“It is great to see the names on today’s list rewarded for all their efforts and outstanding contributions to basketball around the North East.”

Amongst the winners are Victoria James, who has been crowned Volunteer Of The Year, for helping to run our Eagles Community Foundation and Central Venue League teams in Gosforth and Ryton alongside an independent club in Morpeth.

Victoria works extremely hard to ensure everything runs smoothly for each club, all in return for seeing young people play the game they love.

Our Eagles Community Foundation’s Gateshead development officer Anthony Forrester has been rewarded for his consistent hard work and enthusiasm as Children’s Coach of the Year.

Anthony has helped grow youth basketball in the North East for a number of years and his work across Gateshead with the Cardinal Hornets, the Little Dribblers programme and across our Central Venue League, led to him being the 2020 recipient of this award.

The Eagles are delighted to see Ellen Totton (pictured) receive the All Girls Inspiring Female of the Year honour having risen through the ranks of local basketball and national league at the Newcastle Eagles.

Ellen is still playing for Northumbria University’s BUCS team, coaching our Academy U14 girls Jnr. NBL side and is also an All Girls ambassador for Basketball England in the North East. All that whilst simultaneously studying for an undergraduate degree! A tireless effort to the sport and one that is rightfully being recognised.

The full list of winners from the region are as follows:

  • Volunteer of the Year – Victoria James
  • Young Volunteer of the Year – Caitlin Ferguson
  • Coach of the Year – Chris Applewhite
  • All Girls Inspiring Female – Ellen Totton
  • Media/Photographer of the Year – David Millican
  • Teacher of the Year – Howard Leighton
  • School of the Year – Pallister Park Primary School
  • Community Club of the Year – Darlington Storm
  • Children’s Coach of the Year – Anthony Forrester
  • Referee of the Year – Mark Burrows
  • Young Official of the Year – Anthony Reed
  • Table Official of the Year – Lindsey Thompson
  • Statistician of the Year – Clair Thompson

All the regional winners across the 13 award categories will be reviewed by a panel, with a total of three nominees per category then being shortlisted to be considered for National Awards.

Due to the current situation across the country, Basketball England will not be hosting a traditional awards dinner in 2020, but national winners will still be selected. News on how these winners will be announced will be made in the coming weeks.

Well done to all our award winning Eagles and good luck to them for the national awards.