THE countdown to the Examiner’s community awards is underway. Each edition until the awards night at the Galpharm Stadium on October 8 will profile each of the three people or organisations shortlisted in each of the 10 categories. Today DAVID HIMELFIELD looks at the second to be featured, SPORTS PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR
About the sponsors ...
KIRKLEES Active Leisure is a charitable trust responsible for the management, operation and development of 12 sports centres – including nine swimming pools – in Kirklees.
It aims to get “more people more active more often in Kirklees” and provide opportunities for affordable sport, leisure and recreational activities for local people.
Kirklees Active Leisure recognises it is important to meet the needs and aspirations of the community of Kirklees as a whole.
It is therefore dedicated to continually improving the service and developing the facilities to bring them up to the standards of the 21st century.
Geoff still a winner!
GEOFF Brook is 78 and still an international table tennis champion.
Geoff, from Honley, won hundreds of titles for Huddersfield and Yorkshire over 56 years.
But it wasn’t until his 70th year that Geoff began collecting trophies for his country.
He has since notched up more than 20 international trophies, including world gold at Switzerland in 2003 and European gold in Slovakia in 2005.
This year alone Geoff has won gold for his country in doubles and gold for his six nations team in Ireland.
He also won silver in the international team championship in Germany and European gold in Rotterdam, Holland, in June.
Geoff, who has three sons, is a former driving instructor.
His niece, Anne Crook, nominated him for the award.
She said: “The professionalism and dedication my uncle has shown to the sport, Huddersfield, Yorkshire and England deserves some recognition.
“For over 50 years Geoff has been a true professional in his field and has passed on his knowledge to others.
“I am very proud of my uncle for his achievements.”
Geoff said: “It’s very nice to be recognised, because I wasn’t for so long. Table tennis isn’t a sport that receives much attention, but it’s on the way up.
“It’s the best sport for any age and you can play at any level.”
Squashing in his sport
ON top of a full-time job Malcolm Pickup dedicates 14 hours each week teaching squash for virtually no money.
When 56-year-old Malcolm, from Rastrick isn’t working as a safety manager at the Galpharm Stadium, he’s rushing around Kirklees coaching his beloved sport.
Even a knee injury hasn’t stopped Malcolm from his relentless dedication to tutoring players of all ages and abilities.
Malcolm started playing squash in 1973 and began coaching four years later.
He represented Huddersfield in the Yorkshire Premier League in the 1980s and won the 1985 Kirklees Individual Championship.
Now Malcolm teaches at Royds Hall Sports Centre in Paddock, Almondbury High School, Mirfield Old Bank, and Lockwood Park Academy, as well as running group and one-to-one training sessions.
And he’s also a cricket umpire!
Royds Hall duty manager Lesley Bates said: “He’s always bounding over with energy. He puts in so much effort. He selflessly promotes squash.
“Malcolm is not motivated by money. He quite simply loves squash. He goes all over the place and dedicates so much of his own time to it.
“His legs give him problems, but he never moans. He is a true hero and super personality.’’
Malcolm said: “It’s very humbling to be nominated. When you’re teaching for so long you don’t really think about these things. You don’t do it for the recognition, you do it for the sport.
“I get a lot of pleasure watching people improve, especially kids. It’s great when you’ve nurtured someone to a higher standard.
“It gives the children a social background and some structure.
“That’s where I get my buzz.”
HE helped to create Huddersfield’s first junior bowling league, which is now the envy of all other crown green bowling counties.
Huddersfield’s junior stars have formed the backbone to the all-conquering Yorkshire team for several years as the county went on to achieve an unprecedented five consecutive British Junior Inter-County Championships.
Geoff Martin, 50, of Dalton, set up the Huddersfield Junior Crown Green Bowling Association in 1994 with Tommy Wilson after the pair noticed there were not enough opportunities for under-18s to compete.
The same year the league was formed under the guidance of Steve Batler, John Senior, Alan Sharpe, Dougie Mellor and Ralph Gill. It now has 11 teams.
Geoff has been junior secretary since 1997 and secretary of the Huddersfield Liberal League since 1995.
He is also secretary of Almondbury Liberal Club.
Enthusiastic Geoff dedicates at least 20 hours a week to his passion, from administration to organisation.
“My main philosophy is there isn't a bad kid born,’’ he said. “With time, patience and lots of encouragement you can put kids on the right path and, with luck, they'll stay on it.
“It’s their successes which are the only reward anyone needs.
“The association has produced some fine young bowlers, but its main claim to fame is the friendship and team spirit it has fostered throughout the years.
“You’ve always got that nephew or grandson who has seen an older relative play and wants to have a go.
“I’m flattered to be nominated, but I’m no hero. It’s nice to be recognised, but my pleasure comes from kids coming up to thank me.’’