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Sports Awards Evening 2017

Varndean School honours its top sporting students.

Varndean School was thrilled to welcome back former student and professional footballer, Russell Martin. Invited as Guest Speaker at the school's first Sports Awards Evening, Russell helped celebrate the sporting successes of current Varndean School students. Planned and realised by the PE department, the event was created in recognition of the large number of sporting achievements of students in school, extra-curricular activities and also in their own time.

I was honoured to be invited back to Varndean to talk about my journey to where I am today. Varndean means a lot to me and it was great to be back and see the brilliant work the teachers still do there, some of whom taught me many years ago. Their effort and passion for sport rubs off on the students and makes sure they enjoy and maximise their time at school. I want to say well done to everyone who won an award and most importantly to everyone who takes part and represents the school in a wide range of sports. Keep up the good work! I hope to be back again soon.

 Russell Martin


I had the great pleasure of hosting Varndean School's first Sports Awards Evening on Wednesday 14th June. A packed hall listened intently to Guest Speaker Russell Martin, as he spoke about his journey from Varndean School leaver to professional footballer.

Mr Thomas, Head of Physical Education

Students spoke about their sporting achievementsThe evening culminated in the presentation of a number of awards including Sports Personalities of the Year which were won by Edith Yelling (Year 7) and Josh Bottrell (Year 10), who each spoke about their own journeys and successes. 

Josh and Eadie also wrote about their experiences on the night.

"A couple of weeks ago Varndean held it’s first ever Sports Awards Evening. It was a memorable night where we celebrated and recognised student’s achievements in sport both in and out of school. 

Firstly, I’d like to give my thanks to the Varndean PE department for their hard work and dedication to supporting us all with our physical education. This was thoroughly shown the other night when they ran an amazing award ceremony for students and parents, well done and thank you! Watch out Gary Lineker Mr Thomas is after your job!

Throughout my time at Varndean the promotion of sport has been good but this year especially there has been a noticeable drive to get as many students as possible involved in a variety of sports on offer and from my point of view this has been really successful. This was shown by the amount of teams and individual names nominated and mentioned throughout the night which I found very impressive and inspirational.

Russell Martin Guest Speaker at Varndean School's Sports Awards Evening 2017Another inspiring moment of the evening was hearing from our special guest, Russell Martin, an ex Varndean student, deputy head boy and captain of Norwich football team. He spoke about his long path to becoming a professional footballer, the ups and downs of his career and how he persevered to make it to the top.

He [Russell Martin] really put into perspective that anything is achievable if you work hard enough.

After hearing all the success of individual sports teams it was time for the awards, the moment all the students had been waiting for. I myself was honoured to receive the Sports Personality of the year award which I would like to say a massive thank you to all the P.E department for choosing me I feel privileged and it’s a moment of my school life that will stand out the most. I would also like to say a big well done to George Miller for winning the boys Elite Performer, Mia Holman-Harris for winning the girls Elite Performer and Charlie Tuck for winning Outstanding Performer. All three of them are fellow Year 10 students and close friends who fully deserved to win the awards they won. Additionally congratulations to all the other students who picked up an award you did yourselves proud.

Thank you yet again to the P.E department for all your hard work you should definitely aim to run another awards evening next year!"

Josh Bottrell, Year 10

Students collected awards for sporting achievements

"On Wednesday the 14th of June 2017 Varndean School held their first ever Sports Awards Evening. This was a prestigious event hosted by the P.E Department, Mr Deighan and Special guest Russell Martin.

Russell Martin is an ex-Varndean student who has gone on to captain Norwich City in the Premier League and play for Scotland at international level! He delivered an excellent speech at the Awards Evening telling us about his journey to success and that even though you will get knockbacks you must never give up.

Russell Martin and Stuart TuckThe evening started off with each individual sport getting its own presentation and the PE staff talking about the successes of that sports team. There were also non-competitive sports mentioned.

After the presentations, it went on to the awards. There were around 25 different trophies to be handed out!

All the nominees were amazingly supportive even if they didn’t win and it was a great environment.

Overall, the Sports Awards Evening was a great success and I can't wait for next year!"

Eadie Yelling, Year 7


Other outstanding achievements include:

U13 Sussex Champion (gymnastics) - Emily Webb

U13 Spring Board Diving Champion - Joseph Barr

World Championships participant (cheerleading) - Mia Holman-Harris

Brighton Cross Country Champion and Inter-county representative - Henry Yelling

and Bronze Medalist at the gymnastics British Championships 2016 - Amelia Dean.


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Feedback from the event has been overwhelmingly positive - it'll be back!

I know how important sport is for the welfare and development of children and seeing you all as role models on the stage was really inspiring.

Year 9 Parent

Russell Martin has continued to work with the PE department over the years, including opening the school's all-weather 3G football pitch in 2014, the first to be opened in north Brighton. He also continues to inspire children locally through the Russell Martin Academy.

Photo gallery

PE department page

Students collected their sporting achievement awards