Former Lioness Hosts 2023 Active Burnley Awards

Published on: December 20th 2022

Former Lioness turned TV pundit, Rachel Brown-Finnis will host the 2023 Active Burnley Awards – the annual celebration of health, sporting and wellbeing activities and achievements at all levels across the borough.

The Burnley-born former goalkeeper won 82 caps for England in a stellar career that saw her collect a Women’s FA Cup winners’ medal, play Women’s Super League (WSL) soccer for Liverpool Women and Everton Ladies, and represent GB at the London 2012 Olympics.

She also carved out a successful career in the US, where she earned a degree in sports science at the University of Pittsburgh and holds Pittsburgh Panthers’ record for the fewest goals conceded in a season.

Since retiring, Rachel has become a regular TV co-commentator and pundit working on BBC programmes such as Football Focus and the Women’s Football Show in addition to BT Sport’s The Sport Score.

Andrea Pollard, Events and Partnerships Manager at Burnley Leisure and Culture (BLC), which organises the awards and are looking for sponsors, says: “Rachel has been instrumental in the development of women’s football over the past 25 years, helping to lay the foundations for the recognition the women’s game now enjoys – especially after the Lionesses captured the nation’s hearts when they won Euro 2022.

“We invited Rachel to host the awards because she is the perfect role model for what you can achieve when you couple your talent with hard work and dedication – all qualities that we look for in our nominations, regardless of whether that’s at a local, regional, national or even international level.”

Nominations now open

Next year’s awards, which will be held at the Burnley Mechanics Theatre on Thursday 6th July, will see winners crowned in the following 12 categories:

  • Active Workplace of the Year – for local businesses that have gone above and beyond to support employees’ physical health and wellbeing.
  • Health and Wellbeing Award – shining a light on those supporting others with their health and wellbeing
  • Burnley Together Partnership Award – showcasing a project with a wide variety of partners working seamlessly to benefit the community in their physical and/or mental wellbeing.
  • Young Achiever of the Year – recognising talented performers aged 21 and under who show exceptional dedication and aptitude to their sport.
  • Contribution to Active Communities (Individual) – for going above and beyond to support others to participate in physical activity. 
  • Contribution to Active Communities (Group) – as above, but recognising a group’s contribution
  • Coach of the Year – recognising an individual who has selflessly given up their time and invested their expertise to help those interested in sport and active lifestyles to improve their skills, confidence and realise their full potential.
  • Club of the Year – recognising a thriving organisation that has showcased it is proactive and well-governed, working hard to retain and attract new participants.
  • Primary School of the Year – for going above and beyond to support their pupils’ physical and mental health, providing varying opportunities for all to access provision, regardless of their ability.
  • Secondary School of the Year – as above.
  • Volunteer of the Year – given to a volunteer (aged 14+) who has given up their free time to promote and support active lifestyles in a non-coaching capacity at a traditional sports club.
  • Lifetime Achievement Award – for an individual who has shown a consistent lifetime’s commitment (more than 20 years) and made a major contribution to community sport and active lifestyles within Lancashire.

Nominations will close on 31st March 2023. For more details and to make a nomination, visit the Active Burnley Awards page.

All the Active Burnley winners go forward to the Active Lancashire Awards, to pit their achievements against those chosen from similar honours throughout the county.

This year saw three Burnley winners receive county-wide recognition – Lifetime Achievement Award winner Chris Keene, and Liberty Heap, who was named Young Achiever of the Year, both triumphed again at the Active Lancashire Awards as did the Health and Wellbeing Award winner Justine Taylor.

Seeking sponsors

BLC is now seeking individual award sponsors for the prestigious event as well as a headline sponsor, which will see the business/organisation become synonymous with the awards in all printed, social media and digital material. 

Andrea says: “We never stint in showing our appreciation to our sponsors because they are helping to spread the word about the amazing work that goes on at grass roots level in our communities.”
If you’d like to sponsor an award or the whole event, please contact Andrea Pollard for more details on 01282 664 444 (ext. 3252) or email [email protected].