04:05AM, Wednesday 27 February 2013
An evening regarded as one of the most prestigious in the disabled sporting calendar was held at SportsAble in Maidenhead on Saturday night.
Paralympian Sophie Christiansen OBE and businessman and charity supporter Michael Shanly were among the 100 people who attended the awards event to celebrate the achievements of athletes, fundraisers and volunteers.
SportsAble, based at Braywick Sports Ground, aims to raise awareness of disability through sport and recreational activity.
A key focus is to merge the division between the disabled and able-bodied.
The night saw 57 trophies handed out to deserving winners.
These included prizes for personal endeavours as well as regional and international sporting achievements.
Highlights included The Windsor Lions receiving The Jenkins Trophy to commemorate members' fundraising efforts and support for SportsAble during the past year.
Sophie Christiansen OBE, who won three equestrian gold medals at London 2012, was honoured with the Wilkinson Sword for reaching the highest level of sporting achievement of any club member.
Club marketing manager Melissa Paulden said: 'It was very special to have Sophie there. She's just so natural and loves to talk to people and find out what they are doing. They whole evening was so uplifting."
Several trophies were won by 1992 archery Paralympian Rebecca Gale for her successful comeback following sports injuries and health complications.
In an inspirational speech, SportsAble chairman Vivienne Davies told guests: "I think you’ll agree with me that whether you’re a trophy winner or not you enjoy being here and respect the way in which the club enhances your life and you are proud to be a member."
The club is one of the only multi-sports centres in the country offering sports including rowing, table-tennis and archery.
It was used as a training facility for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.