EVESHAM multi-sport athlete Helen Russell was recently recognised in the British Canoeing Virtual Awards which celebrated the great spirit of the paddling community throughout the challenges of Covid-19.
The accolades recognised paddlers, clubs, coaches, leaders, volunteers or individuals who gave up their time and have gone the extra mile during the pandemic to make a significant difference to their community through their contribution.
Russell, a member of Fladbury Canoe Club, was one of only three athletes nominated and then shortlisted for an award in the Digital category which was for the best paddling-related digital piece – showcasing how the nominee continued to love and embrace paddling during the summer lockdown.
A former world and British quadrathlon champion, she more recently turned to the political arena as the Labour Party candidate for Mid-Worcestershire in the 2019 General Election and is the Labour candidate for Evesham North and West in the 2021 Worcestershire County Council elections.
A panel shortlisted Russell for her digital efforts to encourage people to try kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding during the pandemic.
This included writing beginners guides to kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding and promoting the sports on social media.
The winner was decided by a combination of a 50 per cent public vote and 50 per cent independent panel and was eight-year-old Olivia Moore, who participated in and helped to promote the World Back Yard Rolling Competition on Facebook.
On being shortlisted, Russell said: “It was a lovey surprise to be nominated and then shortlisted for this award but to be honest I am delighted that Olivia won, as it is great to see someone so young demonstrating their drive, passion and love for paddling and encouraging other youngsters to get on the water.”