There was a memorable double for table tennis as Liam Pitchford and Isobel Ashley were named Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year at the Active Chesterfield Sports Awards.

The awards, run by Chesterfield School Sport Partnership, seek to honour schools and school teams, volunteers and also elite performers who inspire young people to achieve in sport.

Liam and Isobel both hail from Chesterfield and have hit some real heights in the past year – including in Liam’s case competing at the World and European Championships and the European Games, reaching the last 32 of the Worlds.

Isobel won her award for achieving incredible A-Level results whilst continuing to climb up the rankings – she is now ranked seventh in the Under-21 Women’s list and studying at Sheffield Hallam University.

Isobel was a special guest at the awards ceremony and showcased her skills against pupils during the interval. Soon she had a long queue as all the youngsters wanted to get involved.

She said: “It’s a great achievement. It’s nice to get the recognition as people see the hard work that goes into training. Winning the award tonight is a really proud moment.”

Liam was unable to attend due to his club commitments in Germany but his father collected the award on his behalf and said: “Liam left for Germany aged 17. He’s given up a lot and you could say he’s missed out on some things but he’s achieved so much more. He’s put the effort in and still has things he wants to achieve.”

Both Liam and Isobel started their table tennis career at the Staveley club (now the Colin Deaton TT Academy).

The club once fielded three out of the four National boys’ cadet team – Sean Cullen and Daniel Lowe as well as Liam.

Sean Cullen, Liam Pitchford and Daniel Lowe during their cadet boys' days
Sean Cullen, Liam Pitchford and Daniel Lowe during their cadet boys’ days

Mark Tournier, Partnership and Development Manager at the Chesterfield School Sport Partnership, said: “The Active Chesterfield Awards provided an exciting platform to recognise and celebrate local sporting success and honour the dedication of sports leaders and volunteers.”