Looking ahead to the start of a new basketball season later in the summer, Reading Rockets has used the opportunity to reflect on another bumper year for the club, as it celebrates its 21st year.
At its recent annual presentation awards evening, held at the Berkshire Conference Centre, councilor Sarah Hacker and business consultant Nick Humby presented the senior awards. Players from the men’s and ladies’ senior teams handed out the junior accolades.
Over 300 guests packed out the Princess Suite for the occasion, with Rockets very own Operations Director, Ben Fisher, on MC duties, bringing fun and humour among the serious presentations process.
Chairman Gary Johnson set the scene, challenging the members and players in this ‘coming of age’ 21st year for Rockets, with some history of the club. This was coupled to exciting developments and challenges about engagement and vision with Councillor Hacker, who outlined sport in Reading and facility development in and around the town.
Rockets Head of Community Development, Steph Johnson, had everyone on the edge of their seats as she outlined the amazing work the players and community coaches deliver as they serve the communities.
Projects and specialist programmes that serve the able bodied, the disadvantaged, the deaf, those on the autistic spectrum, the wheelchair bound, those in primary, comprehensive, independent and special schools. Programmes such as Reach Me, Play Unified, and A.S.P.I.R.E. coupled to Rockets healthy lifestyle programmes and its Young Coach Education Academy.
The Chairman had spoken of the Special Olympics and its focus on the joy of sport and then announced that Steph had been appointed as the head of the basketball programme for Berkshire for this movement.
Director of Coaching and Trustee, Matt Johnson, spoke on the growth and goals of Rockets charity, Rockets Sport and Educational Foundation, together with outlining Rockets A.A.S.E (Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence), college and Universities programmes.
Then each Head Coach of all the age groups shared the experiences and successes of a magnificent year, volunteers received gifts. Finally, the Margaret Kenderdine Award went to the Colley family and Coach of the Year to Ben Fisher.