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Spelthorne sports award winner 2019

Spelthorne Sports Awards Winners

The sporting success of local players, coaches and volunteers was celebrated at the annual Spelthorne Sports Awards at Shepperton Studios on Tuesday 19 November.

Members of Ashford Tennis Club were featured in 2 of the awards.

Caroline RutherfordCONGRAULATIONS to Caroline Rutherford who has won the Best Sporting Personality at the Spelthorne Sports Awards for 2019.

Caroline is a member of Ashford Tennis Club and we’d like to say well done on a well-deserved award!

Caroline reached national level in swimming and international level in kayaking as a junior but devastatingly at 20 she was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy (heart failure and disease) which put paid to her sporting life and dreams. She had to stop all competitive sport because she couldn’t physically walk up a flight of stairs without being out of breath and it was unsafe to do so. Clearly, this was devastating for her and she had to create a life without sport. She then made the best of life with an ICD ((implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator) but a decade later she required a LVAD (heart pump) as she was too ill to wait for a heart transplant. However, after 18 more months she received the life-saving gift of a heart transplant.

Whilst in hospital the British Transplant games were taking place in Birmingham (2018) and she immediately had the 2019 games as her aim to compete in. After a few months she began to attend her local park run, walking the majority of the way, gradually running a bit more each week, which continued throughout winter 2018/19. She then started to play some tennis with her father (William), once or twice a week..

Despite having only taken up tennis a few months previous she held her nerve and won gold in the British Transplant games and then on the final day on the track she ran the 800m, which she found tough, but finished with a silver medal. Her final race was the mixed 4x100m relay (3 men, one female) and they won an unexpected bronze against some excellent teams! To top the whole event off she was awarded the Best Senior Female at the games, which is fantastic as it was her first games, just over a year after her transplant.

Congratulations also to long-standing husband and wife team Mary and Len Claremont.

They were winners of the Gerry Ceaser Special Recognition Award.

As many of you will know they have contributed hugely to the running of the tennis club for many years. Much of the work they do is behind the scenes and we would certainly be lost without them!

Len & Mary Claremont

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