08:02AM, Sunday 26 January 2014
Despite £100,000 of flood damage, Longridge Activity Centre can look forward to an awards ceremony where it has secured three spots on the shortlist.
The Quarry Wood Road centre is in the running at the Berkshire Inspiration & Participation Awards, which recognises those who inspire others to take up physical activity.
Luke Harding, 15-year-old canoeist, is shortlisted for Junior Sports Personality of the Year.
He said: “I used to go canoeing with my dad but I tried racing and really liked it.”
In five years of competitions, Luke has won National Championship titles in the under 12, under 14 and under 16 age groups.
A pupil at John Hampden Grammar School, Marlow Hill, he trains for two hours a day and hopes to represent Team GB at the Olympics.
He said: “Going to Rio would be cool, but I might still be a bit young.”
Rowena Tew, a voluntary housekeeper at Longridge for nearly two years, has also been shortlisted for Volunteer of the Year.
She said: “I was completely and utterly gobsmacked, I didn’t even know I’d been put forward.
“About ten of us are going to the awards so it should be a good night out.”
Amanda Foister, Longridge CEO, called Rowena “the perfect volunteer”.
Longridge’s Sporting Champions programme is also shortlisted for the Youth Sport Award.
Elite athletes are invited to meet and coach youngsters, with athletes so far including Charles Cousins, who reached a London 2012 Olympic rowing final, and Claire Bennett, a former Commonwealth Games gold medallist for fencing.
Amanda said: “They don’t just turn up, they inspire the kids.”
SportsAble in Braywick Road is also shortlisted in seven categories, including 19-year-old wheelchair table tennis player Lucie Bouron for Sports Personality of the Year.
Triple Paralympic gold medallist Sophie Christiansen, from Maidenhead, will be special guest at the awards event at the Blue Mountain Golf Club, Binfield, on February 7.
Click here to see the full shortlist.