Ilkley Cycling Club scales royal heights with national award

Wharfedale Observer: Chairman of Ilkley Cycling Club Katherine Church being presented the award by HRH The Earl of Wessex Chairman of Ilkley Cycling Club Katherine Church being presented the award by HRH The Earl of Wessex

Ilkley Cycling Club has raced to victory in a prestigious national award.

The club this week won the Sport and Recreation Alliance’s Community Sport and Recreation Awards Club of the Year at an awards ceremony at St James’s Palace in London.

The prestigious award, presented by the Alliance’s President HRH The Earl of Wessex, celebrates the very best that community sport and recreation clubs offer across the country.

Re-founded in 2011, Ilkley Cycling Club has already become the benchmark that other cycling clubs are measured against – developing into one of the largest cycling clubs in the UK with over 1,100 members from across the local area.

Ilkley’s club is all about inclusion and with an army of 300 volunteers – including a youth officer, women’s officer and a social officer – the club aims to be at the heart of community life for many years to come.

Tim Lamb, chief executive of the Sport and Recreation Alliance, said: “Cycling has been one of the big success stories of the past few Olympics and particularly London 2012, with the likes of Sir Chris Hoy, Sir Bradley Wiggins and Victoria Pendleton leading the world on the track and on the road.

“Their achievements at the elite end of sport inspire people to go out and get active, but it’s the brilliant work of grassroots clubs like Ilkley Cycling Club that keeps them coming back.

“The club has gained more than a 1,000 members from scratch in two years. That’s more than 1,000 people who will live longer, healthier lives through regular physical activity and it is wonderful to see.”

Ian Drake, chief executive officer of British Cycling, said: “Cycling is enjoying unprecedented growth and British Cycling clubs like Ilkley are vital to our success.

“Club officials, coaches and volunteers are the lifeblood of our sport and play a crucial role in inspiring more people in their communities to get into cycling. It’s fantastic to see how far this club has come in the space of just two years.”

John Mills, director of coaching, education and development at British Cycling, said: “Ilkley Cycling Club has truly harnessed the interest in cycle sport and turned that inspiration into participation. The club is an outstanding example of a team of volunteers and cycling enthusiasts, who put their all into the sport. We are extremely proud to see the club awarded with this accolade, it couldn’t be more deserved.”

Katherine Church, chairman of Ilkley Cycling Club, said: “We are delighted to win the Community Sport and Recreation Award. It’s a massive pat on the back for all the people that work so hard, week-in week-out to make our club what it is.”

Paul O’Looney, founder and secretary of the club, said: “We’ve come a long way in a very short period of time but we are not going to stop here.

“We’re about to launch our ambitious go:cycling project to help even more cyclists get on the roads and for us this is very much the beginning of what we hope to achieve as a club. 2014 will see the eyes of the cycling world focussed on Yorkshire as it welcomes the Tour de France for a few days, and we will be doing all we can to make it a great experience for both local people and visitors to our region.”

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