BECOMING a World BMX Champion at the age of just 11 was a special moment for Freia Challis and she hopes that her achievements and the Active Braintree Sports Award that she has now won can inspire other youngsters to take to the track.

The Braintree BMX Club ace, who is from Halstead, picked up the Young Sports Personality of the Year award at a gala ceremony at the Braintree Arts Theatre after riding to glory at the UCI World BMX Championships in Belgium earlier this year.

A video of her triumphant ride in the final was shown to the audience at the awards and she is delighted to add another honour to a rapidly growing list of achievements.

“It’s lovely to get this and I’m so happy," she said.

“It has been a great year; I’m World Champion, got second overall against the boys in the British Championships and third in the National Championships racing the boys.

“That World Championship win was something special, though, and my best achievement so far.

“It’s nice to get recognised with this award locally as I want to inspire people in the sport and get others into it."

Challis said she is setting her sights on defending her world title when the BMX championships head to Texas next year and she is targeting a place in the Great Britain team for the Olympic Games in 2028.

At the other end of the sporting age spectrum was the award for Lifetime Services to Sport and it went to another well-known Halstead sporting star - Halstead Boxing Club head coach George Cook.

The 73-year-old has dedicated much of his life to boxing, both as a young fighter himself and coaching others at the Halstead club, as well as raising thousands of pounds for charities including the Mary Barron Cancer Suite at Colchester Hospital where he himself received treatment.

And he said it was a proud moment when his name was read out as Lifetime Services winner.

“I’m very proud to receive this," he said.

“I started boxing since I was nine years of age back in January 1956 and boxed up until the age of 35, but I then carried on with coaching so boxing has been my life.

“I’ve been a coach since 1970 so it will be 50 years next year.

“But it’s not just for me, we have a great club down there at Halstead.

“We’ve recently amalgamated with the Essex University club and we are looking very strong.

“This award means a lot to me.

“When you have done something for years and years and years and no-one has ever put you forward and then all of a sudden you get something like this, you think ‘wow’.

“It’s lovely because it shows that what you do is appreciated."