NEW College Student wins top award for Boccia

Sophie Weaver from NEW College in Pontefract has been awarded the Jean Ratcliff Outstanding Achievement Award 2014 following her team’s blazing performance at the Boccia County Championships.

The award, which recognises exceptional achievement in disability sport, was handed to Sophie in a ceremony at Ponds Forge in Sheffield last week.

The student was nominated for the award by her NEW College Sports Coach Andy Green after her outstanding performance playing in the regional Boccia championships. After being shortlisted, Sophie secured all 10 votes from the judges – a unanimous verdict.

Sophie knew nothing about the nomination and attended the ceremony as a surprise.

Boccia can be played in singles, doubles and teams. In November the NEW College team travelled to Doncaster, where they won all their group games, before winning the final to become County Champions.

Sophie said: “When I got told the week before that I was going to Sheffield to plan for next year, I didn’t think that I was going to collect an award. I had no idea that I had won this special national award and it was a complete shock. I couldn’t believe it. It’s such a honour to collect this award, especially as it was in remembrance of Jean Ratcliff.”

She added: “I want to say a massive thank you to Andy Green for nominating me, and to Andy and the College for showing their continuous support, and helping me with my sporting ability. It has been fantastic to be given a chance to play and captain under NEW College. It has been a great couple of months of dedication and brilliant results.”

Jean Ratcliff, who sadly passed away on 22nd November 2013 was both a successful business woman and a prolific fundraiser for young disabled sportsmen.