When student Anna Jackson arrived at a Chester basketball court for a BBC interview, little did she know that she would be going home with a very special award.
Anna, who has just started a Master’s of Arts in Clinical Counselling and is Head Coach of Cheshire Phoenix Wheelchair Basketball Club, was interviewed by BBC North West at Live! New Scene Youth Centre in Chester, about sport during the pandemic.
Unbeknown to Anna, Vice-Captain of the Club, Stephanie Taylor had nominated her for the BBC North West Tonight Christmas Star Award, in recognition of all her hard work and selflessness throughout the pandemic.
Anna has been working tirelessly to make sure the club meets every week via Zoom, helping club members by getting fitness equipment and making everyone’s mental health and wellbeing a priority.
The team at BBC North West thought that it was a wonderful story and chose Anna as one of just a few to win the award.
After arriving at Live!, the interviews and playing shots were taken, including a sneaky interview with Stephanie and Anna’s partner Karen about the award. At the end of filming a few more shots were taken as a group, all socially distanced, which is when Stephanie spilled the special secret and Karen presented the award.
Anna was in complete shock and said she could not believe what had happened.
“I am so honoured to win this award, my aim over lockdown was to keep our club together even though we could not be together,” she explained.
“Not being able to train has been tough for everyone but with a weekly Zoom catch-up and some extra fun sessions online I feel we all know each other so much better and it has been amazing to see everyone supporting each other.”
The award was presented on November 17 and the filming was aired on BBC North West on December 14. To watch the interview and presentation, please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFSavAJW76Q&feature=emb_logo.
Anna is a former wheelchair basketball international who represented Great Britain for 10 years and competed at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games. As well as currently studying at the University of Chester, she is an alumna having previously gained a PE and Sports Science degree in 1996.
Stephanie, who nominated Anna, is a class of 2020 University of Chester graduate and was recognised by the University for her own volunteering efforts earlier this year.