BE Awards 2023: Services to Basketball

Seven worthy recipients of the prestigious Services to Basketball award have been announced for 2023.

The group joins 46 other winners from across the history of the sport, who have all been selected to the roll of honour since its inception in 2018.

Bob Martin, Gareth Birkett, Craig Sorrell, Duncan MacKenzie, Kate Lewis, Roy Blake and Yvonne Winkelman have all been inducted as this year's cohort, with a summary of their achievements listed below.

Bob Martin

An instantly recognisable name in Yorkshire and beyond, Bob Martin is a well-respected coach with a wealth of experience in the game.

Renown for his shooting clinics, Martin has worked with some of the best players in the game. As a head coach he's collected honours both domestically and internationally, including spending several years at Doncaster Danum Eagles.

Equally adept at coaching seniors, juniors, performance or grassroots sessions, Martin's sheer love of the game and overall enthusiasm is a credit to the sport.

Gareth Birkett

Club director and founder of the rapidly expanding Whiteley Warriors in Solent, located on the South coast between Portsmouth and Southampton, Birkett has helped the club from modest beginnings to catering for over 300 players across junior and senior teams.

Winner of Basketball England's Children Coach of the Year for the South Region is a testament to Birkett's unwavering commitment to nurturing young talent, and the club's 'Hoopz 4 Skoolz' initiative has helped to raise thousands of pounds to provide balls and equipment to local primary and secondary schools.

With a current club membership of around 500 that continues to rise, over 100 people attend game days as the club has firmly established itself as an integral pillar in the community.

Craig Sorrell

After restarting and running Bridport Evolution in Dorset, Sorrell has put his time and effort into building the club to the point where they have four different age group teams and a pair of adult teams competing in the Dorset Basketball League.

The Bridport 3x3 Basketball Tournament is nationally recognised as being a premium 3x3 competition, with Sorrell providing countless hours to its organisation and growth each year.

Attracting around 40 teams last year spread across male, female and junior categories, Sorrell's drive for pushing 3x3 is a admirable as it is impressive.

Duncan MacKenzie

A stalwart of the Archers Basketball programme, MacKenzie commits so much of his time to not only the club but also the wider region of Wales and British Basketball as a whole.

He is a both a referee and a statistician and is well-known across Cardiff and South Wales, also covering BBL and WBBL games as well as European contests.

Be it handling the officiating appointments at Archers, running courses to train the next generation of statisticians, or sitting on the BUCS advisory board, MacKenzie selflessly gives back to the sport he loves with so much of his own time.

Kate Lewis

Lewis is the driving force behind a regional pilot in the North West that has provided both rapid and sizable results across the region.

Building on a wealth of experience, Lewis has helped to oversee the creation and development of new leagues comprising of over 80 junior teams, and a huge increase in participation.

The area's Female Basketball Association - led by Jade Bow-Butters - has also gone from strength to strength, whilst both new and established clubs in the region have reported the positive impact of the regional pilot and an increase in support.

With over 40 years of experience as a player, coach, referee, and club administrator, Lewis is now bringing even more to the sport and improving the game for everyone in the North West of England. 

Roy Blake

With over half a century in the game, Roy Blake has made a lasting impact in the North West and beyond.

Taking up the role of PE teacher at Blackpool's Hodgson High School in 1973, Blake worked there for 38 years before continuing to help people in the area as a life coach in recent years.

A former player from his own days at Crewe and Alsager College, Roy quickly found a passion for coaching that would lead him to Stockport Belgrade, Warrington Vikings and eventually Manchester United, before Roy then founded his own club, Bolton (then Bury) Lobos.

Building up and strengthening the club so it would eventually realise its goal of bringing NBL basketball to the area, Blake also enjoyed significant success coaching school teams to local, regional and national glory as a mainstay of the Blackpool basketball scene.

With the vision to develop the game and constantly wanting to develop young people in the sporting arena, Blake's efforts over the past 50+ years have helped countless players, coaches and officials across Blackpool and the North West.

Yvonne Winkelman

Yvonne Winkelman has done so much for the sport through John Fisher School in South London, setting up and coaching seven teams by herself, with at least one team from each year group.

Taking each team to and from games and running training sessions both before and after school, Winkelman's efforts have put the school on the map as a great programme that has reaped the benefits for players of all ages and abilities.

Despite being a full time maths teacher, Winkelman still dedicates as much time as possible to basketball, including table officiating for clubs like Cobham Cobras, Richmond Knights and others in her area across busy weekends throughout the season.

A big congratulations to all seven inductees this year, and for the other 2023 award winners announced over the last two weeks.

For more information on this year's winners and the Basketball England Awards, click the button below.