A MULTI-TALENTED athlete raced ahead of the competition after collecting the overall winner’s trophy at a prestigious ceremony to celebrate grassroots sport.

Young swimmer and runner, Alex Boyer was presented with the Ron Lewis champion of champions’ award at the 42nd annual Darlington Sports Winners Scheme Awards.

Alex, 11, a pupil at Holy Family School, Darlington, also collected the Primary Sports Achiever award after a record-breaking year which saw him win two British biathlons, swim the 4th fastest 1500m Freestyle time for 10-year-olds in Great Britain, break seven swimming club gala records, win the town Year 6 cross country competition and set the Darlington Park Run 5k JM10 category all-time record in 19 min 49 sec.

“I was very surprised to win especially when I listened to how good all of the other nominees were” said Alex. “I’m really pleased. I love sport, especially the feeling of achievement you get you when you succeed.”

Dad John Boyer said: “Since he joined Darlington Harriers he has really come on and we are incredibly proud of all his achievements over the past year.”

A capacity audience of civic dignitaries, friends and family were invited to attend the glittering ceremony hosted by Darlington College.

Sponsored by Vauxhall dealers Sherwoods, Darlington Borough Council’s Healthy Darlington Scheme, Tees Valley Sport, Cleveland Bridge, Rotary International and Capita, Paul Bielby’s Master Skills Sporting Academy and Cummins, the spectacular event outlined courage and determination in sports enthusiasts across Darlington.

Sherwoods managing director Alasdair MacConachie said: “It is always a privilege and a pleasure to sponsor these awards.”

Awards were also presented to Longfield Academy student Ross Howell for his contribution to school sport, Longfield Academy Under 13 Under 13 Table Tennis Team, St George’s School Football Team, Carmel College student Layla Bell and The Red Hall Primary School Little Leaps.

A stalwart of grassroots sport was honoured with a lifetime achievement award.

Ian Barnes, 83, was recognised for his commitment and passion to sport.

Event director of the Darlington Park Run, Mr Barnes has been a member of Darlington Harriers for more than 60 years. He is also the British record holder for over 80s at a mile and 3,000m.

Mr Barnes said he was “deeply honoured” to have received the award from former Mayor Councillor Lee Vasey.

Event organising committee member Brian Dobinson said: “I must acknowledge the hard work and commitment of the committee, who really enjoyed going through all the nominations, and the many people who have helped to make this scheme a success over the past 42 years.”

A special posthumous trophy was presented to Nicola Maxwell in recognition of the legacy left by her son Kieran.

The 18-year-old, of Heighington, lost his fight with cancer in June 2017. A keen sprinter, Kieran won a gold medal at the Brazil Paralympic School Games in 2015 and became a national champion in gymnastics. He was also selected to carry the Olympic torch through Bishop Auckland before the London 2012 games.

The Kieran Maxwell Legacy was created to help raise funds to support the research into Ewing Sarcoma and childhood cancers.


Over 17s Club Award: Darlington Harriers

Services to Sport Over 17 Award: Ian Barnes

Special Achievement Award: Kieran Maxwell

Lee Vasey Lifetime Achievement Award: Ian Barnes

Councillor Brian Jones Trophy: Darlington Harriers

Under 11s Club Award: Darlington Under 8s Quakers

Under 17s Club Award: Darlington Mowden Park Girls

Services to Sport Under 17 Award: Ross Howell

Secondary School and Further Education Team Award: Longfield School Under 13s Table Tennis

Primary School Team Award: St George’s Football Team

Secondary/FE Sports Achiever: Layla Bell

Primary Sports Achiever: Alex Boyer

Ron Lewis Award (Overall Winner): Alex Boyer

Mulheim Friendship Award: Red Hall Little Leaps