England Women’s football captain Steph Houghton was tonight named as BBC North East’s sports personality of the year.
The award was announced at the BBC North East Sports Awards at the Silksworth Community Pool, Tennis and Wellbeing Centre in Sunderland.
Houghton, from South Hetton, skippered England to their first ever semi-final at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada earlier this year. Steph currently captains Manchester City Ladies but the 27-year-old has previously played for Sunderland Ladies.
Basketball team Newcastle Eagles scooped the title of BBC North East team of the year, while Durham and England cricketer Ben Stokes was awarded performance of the year.
Other winners include Hexham rugby player Stuart Ridley (Stay Strong Stu) who won the award for providing the year’s best sporting inspiration. Stuart was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour shortly after making his debut for Tynedale and sadly passed away in the summer.
In addition to the regional awards, the night also saw, netball’s Liz Wisniewski, from North Shields, receiving the North East Unsung Hero Award, which honours those involved at the grassroots level of local sport, and is part of the nationwide BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards.
The ceremony was co-hosted before a 600-strong audience by BBC Look North presenter Jeff Brown and Anna Foster, who presents the mid-morning show on BBC Newcastle.
Foster said: “I am thrilled to be presenting these awards to people who have shown such courage, skill and determination in their respective sports. It’s been a fantastic year of sport for the North East and I hope tonight’s winners will be an inspiration to people across the region.”
The BBC North East Sports Awards are supported by Sport England, BBC NE & Cumbria, BBC Outreach and Sunderland City Council.
Sports Personality of the Year: Steph Houghton
Jackie Milburn Award: Jonathan Edwards
Disabled Sports Award: Joint award to Stephen Miller and Gemma Collis
Junior Sports Award: Amy Tinkler
Sporting Inspiration: Stuart Ridley (Stay Strong Stu)
Team of the Year: Newcastle Eagles
Performance of the Year: Ben Stokes
Unsung Hero: Liz Wisniewski