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A leading Leighton Buzzard councillor has described the voluntary work carried out by people involved in supporting amateur sport organisations as the “heart blood of the community, encouraging the young and the elderly to be active for their physical and mental well-being.
Presenting Service to Sport awards to long serving members of Leighton hockey, tennis and croquet clubs, Planet Ward Town councillor Sheona Hemmings praised the behind-the-scenes work which went into ensuring a wide range of sporting organisations flourished, raising standards and developed confidence, particularly amongst young people.
Ms Hemmings, who is the Town’s Deputy Mayor and Chair of the Grants and Awards committee.  told members and guests at the presentation evening at Leighton Buzzard Rugby club that they deserved the  thanks of the community for their tireless work in promoting sport in the area.
She presented awards to:
* Steven Farrell, 73, who in his 30 years as member of Leighton Hockey club has been a player who “transitioned” to mentor and coach;
* Jim Cornell, 82, who for ten of his 34 years as a member was Chairman of the Leighton-Linslade Tennis club, promoted twin-town exchanges with tennis clubs in France and Germany, helped secure lottery funding for court flood-lighting, is the club “maintenance director”….and still plays tennis twice a week, and
* John Cundell, 80, for 20 years a member of Leighton Linslade Croquet club as a player and administrator, organising and managing fixtures and recording results and handicaps.
The Leighton-Linslade Sports Council, a grass-roots organisation which for over 50 years has helped a wide variety of sporting activities in the community to grow, develop and flourish, is funded by the Town Council.  Seventeen amateur sport organisations are currently affiliated to the Sports Council and more  are being encouraged to join  to “have their voice heard”
As  well as making grants for equipment, coaching and other sporting needs, the Sports Council is the “ears and eyes” of the town’s sporting community, helping influence the decision makers to ensure Leighton, Linslade and  neighbouring villages and communities get the support needed from advice given by people with hands-on experience.
It also sponsors awards for recognising the work of “behind the scenes” volunteers in sporting organisations and a Sports Achiever of the Year.
PICTURE CAPTION:   Gordon Fletcher (Co-Chair), John Cundell  (Croquet club), Steven Farrell (Hockey club), Town Councillor Sheona Hemmings, Jim Cornell  (Tennis club) and Cyd Smith (Co-Chair).