Emilie Simpson and Joey Taylor win Roy Burrell Awards
Emilie Simpson and Joey Taylor have been crowned sportswoman and sportsman of the year respectively in the Roy Burrell Awards.
The annual awards, organised by the Cambridge & District Secondary Schools Sports Association, recognise the achievements of the most talented young sportspeople in the Cambridge area.
The pandemic meant that schools awarded certificates to pupils entered, while the association decided on the winners of the sportsman and sportswoman awards.
Impington Village College student Simpson was recognised for her impressive achievements in football, and her hard work, determination and skill.
She has twice been selected for the England under-16s squad, playing her first international aged 14, and is signed to the Arsenal under-16s team.
“I was shocked when I first found out that I had received the award,” said Simpson.
“I didn’t realise just how prestigious it is; it was incredibly flattering and lovely to be a part of!
“The teachers at Impington Village College have definitely helped with my budding football career. All of the staff have been incredibly supportive and flexible around my sporting commitments.”
Philippa Mugan, director of sport and assistant principal at Impington Village College, nominated Simpson for the award.
She said: “It is fantastic to see Emilie’s determination and hard work be recognised through the Roy Burrell Awards. We’re all immensely proud of her achievements, and know that she will go far in her future career.
“We have always fully backed Emilie’s choices to pursue football, as we do with all students who decide to follow their ambitions. We can’t wait to see what’s around the corner for Emilie.”
Victoria Hearn, principal of Impington Village College, said: “This award, in addition to her previous achievements, serves as a wonderful inspiration to other students who want to follow this path; she is an amazing role model for everyone at Impington.”
The Perse School student Taylor is a talented sailor.
Along with regular crewmate Kuba Staite, the Year 11 pupil has been included in the Royal Yachting Association’s Youth Performance squad in the 420 class, and is one of the youngest members of the group.
“I feel chuffed to have been chosen as the outstanding performer,” said Taylor.
“It came as a big surprise as there is a strong field of athletes in Cambridgeshire.
“Having won the award for sailing I hope it encourages more people to get involved with sailing in Cambridgeshire.
“Last year has been a strange ride for anyone involved in sport, including sailing.
“However, we are lucky that sailing is a naturally socially-distanced sport, so we have been hugely fortunate that sailing was fairly quick to come back after lockdowns.
“After a summer of just training, as big events were unable to happen under the Covid restrictions, events slowly came back last September.
“We performed well in the events and were selected for the GB Youth Performance Squad for the winter. We were again fortunate that being in the youth squad meant that we gained elite athlete status meaning we were able to continue sailing throughout lockdown in the new year.”
A packed schedule of events is ahead, including a selection series for the world and European championships this summer.
“I’m really excited to get going with some racing and can’t wait to bring on new challenges,” added Taylor.