Plymouth University awards Sporting Colours to individuals or representative individuals of organisations and events, all of whom embody the spirit of partnership through sport. Our recipients are drawn from existing students, our alumni, and from the wider community of the city and region. What they have in common is their tireless devotion to sport and sports related activities that raise the aspiration of, and inspire, individuals and communities. Occasionally this is through their own achievements, but always it is through the way in which they go further to enable those around them, enhancing the opportunities available to others and enriching communities.
SPORTING COLOURS 2011
Please click on the names below for more information about our 2011 Sporting Colours awardees:
Andy Banks is a qualified diving, gymnastics and trampoline coach with a degree in Human Movement (with biomechanics and gymnastics). Originally from London he is a former national level diver moving to Plymouth in 1992 to continue his passion for the sport.
Today Andy is the Team GB diving team leader.
Andy’s passion for diving began in the 1970’s and his willingness to develop this sport and his ability to spot talent has seen him rewarded for his coaching success both nationally & internationally.
His coaching career started in 1983 and within 5 years he became a professional coach and set up the UK’s first Local Authority diving programme in Bradford. Following his move to Plymouth in 1992, he lobbied the City Council for improved diving coaching and established Plymouth’s full time diving programme. The same time period saw Andy take on his first international coaching appointment. In 1994, Andy’s hard work was rewarded we he saw his protégée, Sally Freeman, become the first Plymouth diver to make the Commonwealth Games Team.
Since 2000, Andy’s national coaching role has grown significantly. He has been the “World Class Potential” for juniors as well as World Class Performance coach for the seniors. He has also led a World Championship team, been Head Coach for the Commonwealth team and, in 2008, the GB Beijing Olympic team.
He has had a number of successes but not only with his athletes. His achievements have also seen him win numerous awards including UK Sports Coach of the Year.
His success and dedication has seen him inspire a new generation of divers to progress into the sport, particularly in Plymouth. Divers such as Tonia Crouch and Brooke Graddon have become household names but it is Andy’s association with Tom Daley that has really brought him to all of our attention.
As a world class performance coach Andy goes the extra mile to ensure the best for his athletes. London 2012 is on the horizon and we all have high hopes of our divers thanks to Andy’s dedication.
Andy is an exceptional ambassador for his sport in this country and has worked tirelessly with Plymouth divers to ensure their success. With Andy so closely involved in British diving the future for our athletes looks very bright indeed.
Tom Daley started diving at the age of seven and is a member of the Plymouth diving club. His incredible talent he has seen him setting records ever since. Tom has become the face of young British sports stars since arrived on the international stage in 2005.
Spotted by a coach taking part in regular diving lessons, Tom was selected for his first competitive squad in September 2002. He entered his first competition in 2003 winning a silver medal in the 8/9 boys and won his first gold medal on 1m, 3m and platform. In June 2004, he became the National Junior (under 18) Boys Platform champion, at the age of 10 – the youngest ever winner of that event. He continued to perform in junior competitions with great success until 2007, where at the age of 12, he won his first senior title at the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) National Championships, the national championship for English divers. This success paved the way for Tom to compete at international level at FINA’s Grand Prix and World Series events.
At the end of 2007, Tom was voted BBC Young Sports person of the Year, following in the footsteps of Wayne Rooney, Theo Walcott and Andy Murray (an accolade that would be repeated in both 2009 and 2010).
In January 2008 Tom won the 10m platform event at the British Championships and in doing so became the youngest winner of the senior British 10m title. He also won the 10m platform synchro title with partner Blake Aldridge.
At the age of 14, Tom went to the Beijing Olympic Games where he was the youngest competitor from any country. He came 8th in the Synchronised event and 7th in the individual.
His first major international Gold medal came in 2009 at the Grand Prix in Fort Lauderdale, scoring a set of 7 perfect 10’s for one of his dives.
At the age of 15, Tom reached pinnacle of his diving career when became the youngest ever World Champion in any sport when he won the 10m platform competition at World Diving Championships in Rome.
He then won two gold medals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, the first in the 10 metre Synchro event with his diving partner Max Brick, and the second in the 10 metre Individual Platform competition in which Tom performed the second perfect dive of his career, gaining 10s from all seven judges.
Tom’s success in sport has made him a role model for young adults across the local community and around the world. He regularly responds to masses of ‘fan mail’ through his ‘twitcam’ as well as continuing his academic studies to great success. Tom’s dedication and determination to succeed is an inspiration to people of all ages and an example that hard work really can bring gold.
Heather Fell was born in Plymouth and lives in Tavistock, Devon where she spent her early years learning to ride and shoot; both disciplines in the pentathlon. Heather graduated from Brunel University with a degree in Physiotherapy.
She has established herself as one of the world’s top modern pentathletes bursting on the international scene in 2003 by winning the World Junior Championships in Athens. Injury threatened to curtail what was a promising career but with typical determination she continued to train. In 2007 she had a terrific season winning her first medal on the World Cup circuit – a bronze in Moscow - and followed that up with an individual silver medal at the 2007 European Championships in Latvia to achieve the qualifying standard for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
Heather carried her form into 2008 with her first World Cup gold in Millfield in March followed by a bronze medal in Kladno, the Czech Republic in May. Her performances in Kladno included personal bests in both the 200m swim and the 3km run.
Without a doubt the highlight of 2008 was winning the Silver medal in the Olympic Games in Beijing; an amazing performance that catapulted her into the public eye. Heather finished 2008 season ranked World No 1.
Heather’s sights are now very firmly fixed on London 2012 and winning a gold medal in her home country.
Within the local community Heather has been an ambassador within the Regional Educational Legacy in Arts and Youth Sport (RELAYS) project delivering motivational and inspiring speeches to young people at a number of events across the region to raise aspirations within sport. She continues to be a role model for people of all ages and supports widening participation in sport whenever possible.
As a Law with Criminology and Criminal Justice Studies student at Plymouth University, Natalie combines her course with her sport, Bowls.
Natalie started playing bowls at the age of nine having seen her father playing the sport. Her outdoor bowls career started at the age of 11 at Newton Abbot Bowls Club. Her first England trial came at the age of 12, and she played for England for the first time at 15 in both indoors and outdoors versions of the sport.
As a naturally competitive person Natalie has taken part in a variety of sports including swimming, badminton and cross country. But bowls remained her passion. Last year led Natalie to become the youngest woman ever to win the UK National Lawn Bowls singles title, taking victory over the former world number one. Later in the year after putting her university studies on hold Natalie went on to win the singles gold medal on the synthetic greens at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi. This achievement has not only given Natalie international recognition but has also raised the profile of Bowls nationally. Her success clearly demonstrates that academic study and extra-curricular activity can complement each other but require hard work, dedication and successful organisation skills.
Natalie’s love for bowls has meant striking a difficult balance between studying, training and socialising, things that most students may take for granted. However this challenge does not faze Natalie who believes that making sacrifices for things that you love is definitely worth it; especially when it is rewarded with gold.
Natalie is a true ambassador for her sport and since returning from Delhi has held an open day event at her club, Kings Bowls Club, in hope that her success will bring a much bigger interest to bowls by younger sports lovers throughout the community and beyond. Her achievements at such a young age are remarkable.