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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Big win for Bradford’s Baji Bantams at National Sporting Heritage Awards

In a celebration of the nation’s rich sporting legacy, the National Sporting Heritage Awards unfolded on Thursday 9 May at the iconic Headingley Stadium in Leeds. Among the cheers and applause, individuals and organisations from all corners of the UK were lauded for their tireless efforts in preserving, safeguarding, and promoting the country’s sporting history for future generations.

Dr. Justine Reilly, Managing Director of Sporting Heritage, underscored the profound impact of sports on society, emphasising its role in shaping collective memories, imparting invaluable life lessons, and fostering unity among diverse communities.

She said: “Sport in all its forms plays a huge part in our society. Whether you’re a spectator, a loyal supporter, or participant, the history, heritage, life lessons and memories we take from it has a hugely important impact on so many people and diverse communities”.

These awards serve as a beacon, illuminating the remarkable initiatives undertaken across the nation in the realm of sporting heritage. From unearthing forgotten treasures to engaging new audiences with tales from the sporting past, each accolade represents a testament to the vibrancy and significance of sporting heritage.

Dr Reilly added: “The 2024 Sporting Heritage Award Winners showcase the wealth and breadth of work saving and sharing sporting heritage for current and future generations”.

Leeds North West MP, Alex Sobel, echoed this sentiment, heralding the profound influence of sports and its enduring legacy on communities nationwide. TV sports presenter Tanya Arnold presided over the ceremony, guiding the audience through nine categories that encapsulated the spectrum of sporting heritage endeavours.

Sports heritage awards – Rhian Hughes Winners Press

One standout moment of the evening was the triumph of Baji Bantams in the Celebrating Asian Sporting Heritage category. Humayan Islam, representing Baji Bantams, expressed profound gratitude for the recognition, underscoring the transformative potential of the award in inspiring greater community involvement in sports, particularly among women.

On the big win Humayun expressed: “We are delighted to receive the award and hopefully this will inspire more women and the community to engage within sport. The South Asian Heritage Award is priceless to us, and we would like to thank all our volunteers and team. ”

Similarly, Julia Lee, alongside Professor Fiona Skillen, shared the joy of being joint winners in the Celebrating Women’s Sporting Heritage category. Their work with Women in Rugby League has unearthed hidden histories, empowering forgotten trailblazers and igniting pride among women in rugby league.

The awards are not merely accolades; they are a testament to the dedication and passion of individuals and organisations committed to safeguarding the legacy of sports. Organised by Sporting Heritage CIC, the event received a boost with a £249,281 grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, ensuring continued support for the preservation and promotion of sporting collections and stories across the UK.

The National Sporting Heritage Awards took place on Thursday 9 May at Headingley Stadium in Leeds to celebrate those keeping the nation’s sporting stories alive.

The spotlight was on the people and organisations from across the country who were honoured for their work ensuring the nation’s sporting history is preserved, protected and promoted for future generations to enjoy, learn from and be inspired by.

Dr Justine Reilly, Sporting Heritage Managing Director said: “Sport in all its forms plays a huge part in our society. Whether you’re a spectator, a loyal supporter, or participant, the history, heritage, life lessons and memories we take from it has a hugely important impact on so many people and diverse communities”.

These Awards were created to highlight the extraordinary activity taking place across the UK in the area of sporting heritage. Whether it be raising awareness of hidden and ignored heritage, uncovering and saving collections which would otherwise be lost forever, bringing stories of the sporting past to life and to new audiences, or increasing skills and knowledge through sporting heritage, these Awards demonstrate just what an incredible space sporting heritage is.

Dr Reilly adds: “The 2024 Sporting Heritage Award Winners showcase the wealth and breadth of work saving and sharing sporting heritage for current and future generations”.

Leeds North West MP, Alex Sobel and former Shadow Minister for Tourism and Heritage opened the event declaring the importance of sport and its legacy on communities across the country.

Full list of awards and winners are:

  • Celebrating Black Sporting Heritage Award – Winner: Cardiff Bay Rugby Codebreakers
  • Recognising Sporting Heritage Volunteers Award – Winner: Victoria Baths Trust
  • Celebrating Disability and Neurodivergent Sporting Heritage Award – Winner: Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum
  • Celebrating LGBT+ Sporting Heritage – Winner: Rainbow Toffees (official LGBTQ+ Supporters Group of Everton Football Club)
  • Celebrating Asian Sporting Heritage Award – Winner: Baji Bantams
  • Celebrating Women’s Sporting Heritage Award – Winner: Julia Lee and Professor Fiona Skillen
  • Celebrating Digital Innovation in Sporting Heritage Award – Winner: National Paralympic Heritage Trust
  • Celebrating Sporting Heritage in Schools Award – Winner: Eagles Foundation, Sheffield Eagles and Literacy Kicks
  • Celebrating Sporting Heritage Research Award – Winner: Lianne Parry
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