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Welsh coaches recognised for #GreatCoaching at UK Coaching Awards

The showpiece annual event, which is seen as one of the most prestigious by the coaching community, took place at The Honourable Artillery Company, London on Thursday 29 November 2018. 

Included in the list of winners are Swansea’s Francesca Lewis and Aberystwyth’s Lee Coulson BEM.

Additionally, after an outstanding year for Welsh cyclist Geraint Thomas in which he won the Tour de France, his coaches were named as winners in The Coaching Chaincategory. Maindy Flyers’ Head Coach and Founder Debbie Wharton and Welsh Cycling’s Head Coach Darren Tudor were named alongside Team Sky’s Tim Kerrison, Matt Parker and Rod Ellingworth for the contribution they have made throughout Geraint’s life.

Maindy Flyers’ Head Coach and FounderDebbie Wharton said:

“It’s a real honour, we are really proud and can’t believe it’s happened. It makes it all worthwhile. 

“Myself, my proudest moment has been watching his career unfold over time and watching his progress from that 9-year-old boy coming on leaps and bounds.”

Tennis coach Lewis won the Talent Development Coach of the Year award after an incredible 12 months which saw her also shortlisted for the British Tennis Coach of the Year award.

Francesca Lewis

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Lewis has been responsible for bringing through a huge number of players from entry level into the local academy programmes, with her players winning five national singles titles. She is also recognised for delivering individual coaching packages and inspiring participants to achieve their goals. She works with parents and players, on-and-off the court, supporting her players at tournaments and looking after their physical and mental development.

Her achievements were also instrumental in Swansea Tennis Centre being awarded both Regional and Local Player Development Centres in the LTA’s new High-Performance Strategy, which will provide even greater opportunities for children in the region to receive high-performance coaching. What’s more, she has set up a foundation through which she raises in excess of £10,000 annually to help support players at regional level or above to train and compete.


Francesca Lewis, after receiving her award said:

“To win at the UK Coaching Awards is the greatest honour for any coach – and I can’t believe I have managed to win this award against such incredible competition in this category.

“I am still a young coach with many years of coaching ahead of me, so to be recognised at this stage in my career gives me a huge boost.”

Lee Coulson BEM has been named as Community Coach of the Year, recognising his great coaching achievements in 2018, following a 26-year stint coaching basketball and 15 years coaching disability sport.

The Aberystwyth coach is helping to raise the profile of disability sport in Wales exponentially. As a Disability Sport Wales national performance pathway coach, many of his participants have won international gold medals and this success has enabled Coulson to grow the performance pathway. Even more children and young people can now take part in, and excel at, disability sport.

Multi-sport coach Coulson said:

“It’s crucial that everyone gets the chance to participate in sport – no matter if they are disabled or not. This is what I am trying to help people recognise across Wales. Great coaching ensures that sport is accessible for all. 

“After coaching for 26 years, it’s a huge honour to have been recognised at the UK Coaching Awards. Here’s to the next 26 years.”

Emma Atkins, Director of Coaching at UK Coaching said:

“The UK Coaching Awards is a way for the nation to praise the great coaching that takes place, and a chance for us in the coaching sector to reflect and celebrate the effect great coaching has on society.

“We are privileged to be able to recognise more great coaching again, especially, in a year where we’ve worked hard to help the public understand what great coaching looks like following the launch of the first ever Coaching Week. 

“I am also thrilled to see that more women coaches were recognised for their great coaching expertise, which is testament to the hard work and dedication of many partners who work tirelessly to ensure we create a culture in the coaching sector where everyone can thrive. 

“I would like to congratulate all of this year’s winners – as well as the finalists – for their incredible achievements and for benefiting the lives of so many. Well done”

The winners of the 2018 UK Coaching Awards are:

Awards for coaches

The following categories have been awarded to coaches:

Children’s Coach of the Year – supported by sportscotland

  • Ady Gray (Karate) (Wetherby)

Community Coach of the Year – supported by Sport England

  • Lee Coulson BEM (Multi-sport) (Aberystwyth)

Disability Coach of the Year

  • Melanie Timberlake (Multi-sport) (Aylesbury)

Heather Crouch Young Coach of the Year – supported by Youth Sport Trust

  • Izzy Cottrell (Multi-sport) (Chesterfield)

High Performance Coach of the Year

  • Matthew Lawrence (Paracanoe) (Nottingham)

Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Peter Stanley (Athletics) (Loughborough)

Talent Development Coach of the Year

  • Francesca Lewis (Tennis) (Swansea)

Awards in support of coaches

The following categories have been awarded in support of coaches:

Coach Developer of the Year

  • Richard Cheetham MBE (Multi-sport) (Winchester)

Coaching Culture Organisation of the Year

  • British Canoeing (Nottingham)

Coaching for an Active Life Award 

  • Move More Northern Ireland (Northern Ireland)

Transforming Coaching through Technology – supported by Reading Room

  • Project 500 (Kent)

Great Coaching Moment of the Year

  • Kris Stafford, Stephen Quinn and Harrison Marshall of Old Otliensians RUFC – 2018 RFU Junior Vase (Rugby Union) (Otley)