Provost hosts celebration of South Ayrshire's outstanding sporting achievements

 10 September 2018  |  

Whitletts Victoria Football Club were among those recognised

Whitletts Victoria Football Club were among those recognised

Commonwealth and European Champion Swimmer, UK's first adult with Down's Syndrome to become a qualified swimming coach, league title winners and world-class bowler among those recognised.

World records, historic league title wins, and gold-medal winning performances were among the outstanding sporting achievements celebrated at a special civic reception hosted by South Ayrshire Provost Helen Moonie in Ayr Town Hall.

The celebration honoured ten South Ayrshire sportspeople and clubs who have well and truly made this last year their own – overcoming obstacles, beating the odds and exceeding expectations to achieve some of the greatest successes of their careers.

Those recognised were:

•Whitletts Victoria Football Club: The Vics fought a heroic battle, after a poor start to the season, to win promotion to the West Region Championship and also won their first penalty shoot-out in 27 years.

Club Chairman John Dalton said: "We're absolutely delighted to receive this recognition from South Ayrshire Council to celebrate Whitletts promotion to the West Region Championship. It's been an exciting journey over the last few years and, thanks to the support of the local community and local businesses, we have been able to make significant progress on the park as well as our community work off it.

"Last season was a rollercoaster of a season and, from a difficult start, everyone rallied round under the new manager George Grierson and we went on an incredible 13 match unbeaten run to secure promotion via the play-offs and the players deserve this recognition. 

"We are Ayr's junior football club and we aspire to be a club that the people of Ayr can be proud of as we set off on a new set of challenges which we hope will take the Club into the top level of the junior game. With support from the public and local business community, under George's stewardship I am confident we can achieve that."

"It's just a shame that George couldn't be there to celebrate with us as he's currently in hospital recovering from a hip replacement operation, but we wish him a speedy recovery and hope it won't be too long before he's back in the dugout."

•Fiona Dawson: Fiona is a record-breaking para-swimmer who is also the UK's first adult with Down's Syndrome to become a qualified swimming coach.

Fiona said: "I'm very honoured and happy to receive this recognition, which is just amazing. It shows that if you believe in yourself and don't give up on your dreams, you can achieve it. Thanks for a special night."

•Emma Imrie: Emma is an up-and-coming para-swimmer who has achieved medal wins and personal bests at every competition this year.

Emma said: "I'm really pleased that all the hard work has paid off and is making a difference. It was really good to be part of this special celebration – I loved it."

•Carrick Rugby Club: Carrick achieved a treble-winning best-ever season thanks to its first league title win, taking the West Shield and holding on to the BT Shield for the third year in a row – the first team to do so.

The club's Gordon Brown said: "Last year was a truly historic one for the club and was all the more special as we celebrated our 40th anniversary with our most successful year on record. Of course, that's only the start of the hard work as we need to show that we deserve our place in National League rugby – and intend to hang on to it. 

"Our incredible success is down to the commitment, skills and talents of everyone associated with the club and this civic recognition is testament to all of them."

•Laura Logan: Laura's efforts in the pool helped the GB Down Syndrome Swimming Team become European Champions 2017 and took the team to the runners-up spot in the World Down Syndrome Swimming Championships.

Laura said: "It was awesome to be part of this sporting celebration and receive a certificate from the Provost. It was a really good night." 

•Ryan Sallens: Sailor Ryan was just pipped at the post for a medal spot in his first-ever international competition at the European Para Youth Games, taking fourth place before competing in the Scottish Club Trophy on Loch Lomond.

Ryan said: "I feel really proud that I have achieved so much and like to thank everyone that supported me. Learning to sail at Prestwick Sailing Club has given me the opportunity to progress to my Platinum level. I continue to sail at the club and I am working toward becoming an instructor, helping other deaf people understand how to sail before they start sailing and racing on their own. I love to help others to take part in sport and I volunteer in coaching other sports with South Ayrshire Council." 

•Ayr United Football Club: Ayr United had to wait more than two decades to win a league title, doing so in style. The League One champions' amazing performances were coupled with a record-breaking domestic goal scoring record that trumped even the mighty Manchester City.

Graeme Miller, Commercial Manager, said: "We were absolutely delighted to receive recognition from South Ayrshire Council for our achievements during the 2017/18 season. It was one that nobody at the club will ever forget and hopefully we helped to give the town of Ayr plenty of positive publicity." 

•Paul Foster MBE: Paul is a five times World Indoor Bowls Singles Champion and veteran of four Commonwealth games – including the Gold Coast 2018 where he picked up both gold and silver medals. 

Paul said: "While I was unable to attend the civic reception, I'm very proud to be one of the people recognised in this way, and it's all the more special as it comes from my local area. My thanks to Provost Moonie and congratulations to all those who were part of the celebration– it really means a lot to share this with you."

•Hazel McGarvie: Hazel is a young sportswoman already making history on the golf course with winning performances and impressive scorecards.

Hazel said: "I'm really overwhelmed by this and sorry I was unable to come along to the celebration event. It's great to get recognition like this from the birthplace of the Open golf championship and I'm proud to represent South Ayrshire when I head out on the course."

•Duncan Scott: Swimmer Duncan became Scotland's most decorated athlete at a single Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast in Australia in April. Taking six medals in total, he followed that up with gold and silver medal performances at the European Championships in Glasgow.

Duncan said: "It's been an amazing year in the pool and I'm really touched that the Provost and the Council included me in this celebration of outstanding sporting achievements, especially as I first learned to swim in Troon pool. 

"Becoming Commonwealth Champion and European Champion was something I've been dreaming of – and working towards – for a long time and I can only hope that my success inspires others to learn to swim and see just how far they can go."

Provost Moonie said: "My warmest congratulations to everyone recognised for their outstanding sporting achievements. We have elite athletes who are among the best in the world, teams who are playing at their highest levels ever, and sportspeople who are just inspirational in everything they do. 

"From the Gold Coast of Australia to incredible success right here in Ayr, their achievements include unparalleled medal wins, stunning record-breaking performances, emotional personal bests and numerous sporting highlights that we will remember for many years to come.

"As well as celebrating these incredible achievements, our event was a chance to say thank you to our sportspeople for the positive impact they have had as ambassadors for our area, representing South Ayrshire, Scotland and Great Britain across the globe.

"There's no doubt that, on the sporting front, South Ayrshire is punching well above its weight and that's testament to our sportsmen and women of all ages and abilities. 

"It was a privilege to help celebrate South Ayrshire's outstanding sporting achievements and I know there will be many more to come in the future."