COLCHESTER’S long-standing sports personality awards ceremony has been cancelled for 2020.

Organisers have reluctantly called off this year’s event, due to take place in November, because of the covid-19 pandemic.

The Sport Colchester Sports Personality Awards, sponsored by the Gazette, Inntel and The Duley Partnership, usually take place at the JobServe Community Stadium.

They were first made over 30 years ago and are now recognised as one of the best of their kind in Essex.

However, this year’s event will not go ahead as planned.

Awards ceremony chairman John Powell said: "Sadly, we had no choice.

"Community sport has been badly hit by the pandemic and it would have been difficult to replicate our usual highly diverse nomination from many different sports.

"Like so many annual award ceremonies, we have bowed to the inevitable.

"It's disappointing as the event is a great way to celebrate the outstanding achievements of local amateur athletes and volunteers and the fabulous work done by local clubs.

"I'm sure we'll be back in 2021 and this time next year looking for readers to nominate outstanding performances in local sport."

Boxer Lewis Richardson was named Male Sports Personality last year after a whirlwind 12 months that saw him land a full-time place in the Great Britain squad, being picked for an Olympic test event in Tokyo.

Athlete Rebecca Jeggo received the Female Sports Personality prize, following a year of success at both regional and national level.

“I’ve been involved for 20 years and we certainly haven’t missed one ceremony in that time,” added Powell.

"One of the highlights is to look at the trophies and see the names inscribed there - Olympic and Paralympic medal winners such as Saskia Clark, Natalie Jones and Hannah Stodel, world and European competitors such as Charlie Dobson and Sarah Claxton and Colchester United, the winners of our Premier Award when they gained promotion to the Championship.

"And who will ever forget the rousing standing ovation for Downs Syndrome sufferer Dan McGauley, to recognise his national and Commonwealth powerlifting achievements?

"It's a well-established and long-standing event and something so many of us look forward to; a highlight of the sporting calendar."

Active Essex will be organising a social media and web-based celebration of sport throughout the county later this year.

Further news and details will be published in late September.

Sport Colchester has been in existence for half a century and is an independent, non-profit making forum for sporting organisations in the borough of Colchester.

It’s key function is the organisation of this event by a small team of volunteers and funded totally by members of the Colchester Business Community.

Powell added: "Thank you for supporting us so generously over the years and we are sorry that the inevitable has happened.

"We hope 2021 will be a bumper year for sport so we can celebrate in style."