Awards shine light on borough’s active community achievers

Lifetime achievement accolade is the climax of our Active Burnley Awards


Community health and wellbeing champions, innovative sports clubs, two supportive schools, and a history-making cricketer were recognised for their outstanding achievements at our Active Burnley Awards.

Our annual celebration (formerly known as the Burnley Community Sports Awards) pays tribute to those who show dedication at a range of sporting, health, and wellbeing activities at all levels, and those who work tirelessly to support individuals or community clubs, for the love of the sport or their community.

Eleven winners were announced at a glittering ceremony hosted by iconic underdog Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards at the Mechanics Theatre in Burnley.

Eddie captivated the nation with his exploits at the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary, Canada, where he came last in the 70m and 90m contests but won national admiration for his determination to overcome adversity and compete in the first place.

All our winners will now go forward to the Active Lancashire Awards, pitting their achievements against those chosen from similar recognition awards throughout the county. The awards, which have been re-launched after the pandemic, will be held at Ewood Park, Blackburn, on Friday 18th November.


Lifetime Achievement Award – Chris Keene

The climax of the evening was the Lifetime Achievement Award handed to community sport and wellbeing activist Chris Keene, who has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of those living in the southwest of Burnley for more than 35 years.

This award is for someone who has shown commitment for at least 20 years with their contribution to community sport and active lifestyles.

Our judges said: “His drive and passion have enabled the starting up of many projects as well as ensuring they are sustained. Chris has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for the southwest Burnley area. He is an outstanding community organiser, does not take no for answer and is still fighting for adequate health provision in the area.”

Over the years Chris has been instrumental in the running of the Stoops and Hargher Clough Community Centre, overseeing its transition to charitable status to become West End Community Centre.

His other achievements include school holiday hunger projects and fun activities, providing clothes and food for local families during the pandemic, creating a strong partnership with the Ghousia Mosque, facilitating the Parkside Partnership, Trauma Group and West End trustees, creating a nursery for the area, building a play area for Hargher Clough and securing funding for specialist therapeutic services to help local children.

The other awards were for: club of the year, volunteer of the year, young achiever of the year, coach/instructor of the year, primary school of the year, secondary school of the year, individual contribution to active communities, contribution to active communities, supporting others with health and wellbeing, and the Burnley Together Partnership Award.


Club of the Year – Pendle Forest Orienteers

The club has members based around Burnley, Pendle, Rossendale, Accrington and Blackburn and has focused on reaching out to the wider community.

It hosts ‘Come and Try’ events in several parks and connects with other organisations through the Holiday Activities and Food Programme (HAF) – government funding for children eligible for free school meals.

Our judges said: “Pendle Forest Orienteers are doing all they can to increase opportunities and raise awareness of how getting outdoors can benefit physical, social and mental wellbeing.”


Volunteer of the Year – John Buchanan

John has been described as Towneley Golf Club’s most prized asset since joining in 1998, later negotiating the transfer of the now thriving clubhouse operation to its new partner, BLC, three years ago.

Having been honorary treasurer and secretary, he now looks after the induction of new members and works with BLC staff to ensure the best possible experience for visitors.


Young Achiever of the Year – Liberty Heap

History-maker Liberty, a student at Stonyhurst College near Clitheroe, has balanced her A-Level studies with her dream of becoming a full-time, professional cricketer for Northwest Thunder Lancashire.

She recently captained Stonyhurst’s cricket team, becoming its first female captain in its long and rich history.

Liberty is now pinning her hopes on being chosen for the England squad for the under-19s Women’s World Cup in Bangladesh next winter and securing a full-time contract with the Thunder.


Coach/Instructor of the Year – Andy Ellis

Andy is a volunteer with Fulledge Colts FC with his primary involvement being the boys’ under-9s and under-12s teams, and the girls’ under-14s.

He is set to become the Colt’s development coach mentoring and assisting other coaches and aims to develop the club’s girls’ section into a ladies’ academy, building on its current success of coaching 90 girls across six teams.


Individual Contribution to Active Communities – Ted Pemberton

87-year-old Ted is the man behind the success of numerous health walks across Burnley and Padiham. His enthusiasm and support have helped hundreds of people who have taken part over the years with their physical, mental and social wellbeing.

He also attends Burnley Forum with the aim of providing further opportunities for people to move more and tackle social isolation.

Our judges said: “Giving up his time weekly, displays Ted’s selflessness, passion and pride in the town.”


Contribution to Active Communities – Karly’s Angels

Karly’s Angels running group was established in 2019 for people who wanted to continue running after completing the Burnley Couch to 5k programme.

It motivates runners of all ages and abilities to attend twice a week and encourages them to sign up for 5k and 10k runs across the region.

Our judges commented: “Fitness is becoming the norm now for so many, thanks to this brilliant group – and they never leave anyone behind!”


Health and Wellbeing Award – Justine Taylor

Justine combines her own love of physical activity with encouraging others to follow suit.

For the past eight years she has led a twice-a-week running club where members have completed many 10k runs, three half marathons and two marathons.

She is a volunteer at the Padiham Junior Park Run and has helped to raise thousands of pounds for charity, including Derian House Children’s Hospice, Mission Impossible and the Trussell Trust.

During the pandemic she helped to sustain the physical and mental health of her daughter Olivia, who has special needs, by asking BLC to create a simple exercise video to keep her active while her day centre was closed, and a very proud Olivia accompanied her mum to receive the award.


Burnley Together Partnership Award – Library Walks

This award is given to a project showcasing true collaboration to achieve its aims and objectives.

Library Walks were instigated at Padiham Library when it began distributing maps and game materials for BLC’s Beat the Street initiative to encourage more people to explore their locality.

The catalyst was library manager Alison James, who worked with BLC, Lancashire County Council and Newground Together to create three walks starting at the library. She then worked with her counterpart in Burnley to create two walks from there.

Alison has now extended her collaborations to include National Trust staff at Gawthorpe Hall and the Canal and River Trust to offer monthly themed walks from both libraries. She is exploring the benefits of social prescribing and including walking and forest school activity in the libraries’ summer SCART (Science, Culture, Active, Reading and Technology) programme.


Primary School of the Year – Padiham Primary School

This award is given to the primary school that has gone above and beyond to support its pupils’ physical and mental wellbeing.

Our judges commented: “The school supports children to engage and develop lifelong enjoyment through pupil choices.

“Physical activity is used to support character and personal development through PE lessons, and this is reiterated during cross curricular activities, after school clubs, external events and break/lunch times. In 2022 alone, they have had angling, football, dance, swimming, bike-ability, circus skills and basketball.”


Secondary School of the Year – Coal Clough Academy

Coal Clough Academy prides itself on giving pupils experiences they might not normally enjoy, such as a gardening club, caving, canoeing, kayaking, mountain biking, fishing, rock climbing and orienteering.

It recently took a group of pupils to the Chill Factore snow centre in Manchester after securing Commonwealth Games legacy funding and works closely with Active Lancashire which has resulted in £500 funding to go quad trekking.

Our judges said: “The school’s alternative curriculum allows pupils to flourish in an educational environment.”


A huge thank you to all our sponsors

Burnley Leisure and Culture would like to express its gratitude to all our sponsors who help to make our awards possible, especially our main event sponsors of many years Birchall Food Service, a fifth generation, family-run business based in Burnley for more than 80 years supplying caterers in hospitality, care and education.


Our other sponsors were:

  • BLC – Volunteer of the Year
  • Media Village – Coach of the Year
  • Cornerstone Design and Marketing – Young Achiever of the Year
  • Surridge Sports – Club of the Year
  • MultiTrade Plus – Individual Contribution to Active Communities
  • Calico Homes – Burnley Together Partnership Award
  • Holiday Activities and Food Programme (HAF) – Secondary School of the Year
  • Burnley Schools Sports Partnership – Primary School of the Year
  • HSBC – Contribution to Active Communities
  • Birchall Food Service – Lifetime Achievement Award

A representative from each of the businesses and organisations presented their respective awards and received a commemorative plaque as a thank you for their support.

Latest Posts

Send us a Message

We aim to respond to all messages within 48 hours.