Sporting community heroes were honoured for their efforts through the coronavirus pandemic with prestigious awards.

Cumbria Sports Awards went live on BBC Radio Cumbria’s Breakfast Show this year.

Cumbria’s sporting elite including, England Goalkeeper Dean Henderson, joined in the presentation of the awards by creating short videos from home.

Karate sensei Mark Heaton was presented with the award for coach of the year by former England Under-20s football team and Carlisle United boss Paul Simpson.

Heaton received the gong for showing dedication to his pupils, converting his garage into a fully matted dojo to hold virtual classes via Facebook Live during lockdown.

With fiancé Donna operating the camera and his 16-year-old son Lewis his demonstrating partner, he set about delivering two online classes each evening, Monday to Friday. He was pleased to receive the award and proud of his students for their own commitment.

“They’ve done really well to keep going,” he said.

When restrictions allowed, the instructor held one-to-one classes outdoors with his pupils.

The Carlisle-based Chojinkai Karate club reopened its doors for a spell between the two coronavirus lockdowns and pupils demonstrated the results of their hard work.

Heaton said: “We managed to get some people graded after doing one-to-ones with people; they’ve progressed really fast.

The fifth dan black belt and his pupils are looking forward to returning to the club when gyms can reopen after lockdown.

The Be Inspired award went to Mark Harding, from Wigton for his virtual rowing challenge, presented by Team GB hammer thrower Nick Miller.

Army veteran Mark was shot while serving his country 10 years ago and was told he would never walk again.

But in spite of all obstacles, he set himself the challenge of virtually rowing the Atlantic Ocean in his kayak in his back garden. Rowing between 40 and 60 miles a day, he reached his goal after three months, raising more than £3,000 for the NHS and ABF Soldiers’ Charity at the same time.

Badminton star and sports personality of the year winner Lauren Smith presented the 2020 Active Education award to Kingmoor Junior School in Carlisle.

Teacher Alex Graham engaged pupils as well as schools up and down the UK and worldwide with Kingmoor’s Sock Olympics.

Alex wanted to remove the barrier of children feeling like they could not participate due to a lack of equipment or space to carry out Sports Day.

The inclusive event was comprised of eight skill-based, physical activities demonstrated by teachers online.

Following the event, children emailed their score cards to school, revealing the winners.

Distington Rugby League Club received community club or group of the year from Manchester United shotstopper Dean Henderson.

Recognising their role at the heart of the community, Distington ARL wasted no time in launching their ‘Friend Not Foe’ service, providing much needed support to the whole community by delivering food, medicine and anything else that was needed.

They also set up a befriending service, a vital provision to vulnerable people during lockdown.

A spokesperson for the club said: “This award is amazing and we are honoured to receive it.

"Commiserations to all other nominees, but well done and thank you for the help you gave to your own communities.”

Whitehaven RUFC’s Jordan Mattinson received volunteer of the year, presented by Abbie Ward, England RUFC player.

Jordan has raised a staggering £23,000 for Great North Air Ambulance Services, and over £8,000 for NHS charities after designing an NHS RUFC shirt for the team, topped up with a £500 donation from Whitehaven RUFC Sharks Junior Section.

He has brought the rugby family together to help their local community and has been helping with food and toiletries donations across Copeland with the support of Tesco, Morrisons and Spar.

And he was delighted to be recognised with the award. He said: “It’s nice to know that what you’ve done is thought of in that way.”

Richard Johnston, chair of the judging panel said: “The awards have been quite different this year, but we wanted to make sure they still went ahead, and it’s been fantastic that we have been able to do so.

“We have had some great nominations from across the county; in many places the sport sector really has been on the frontline of the response to the pandemic.”

He added that the panel had their work cut out when it came to picking the winners.

“It just goes to show that our coaches, volunteers, clubs and groups really are at the heart of our communities," he added.

Pippah Webber, from St Pius School in Barrow, picked up the young sports leader/volunteer of the year award. Presenting the award to Pippah, England Lioness and fellow Barrovian Georgia Stanway said: “She’s a brilliant example to all young people.”

When the world changed in March 2020 and the nation was told they could only go out for exercise once a day, Pippah asked to join in running with her dad, Dan Webber. Pippah, aged six, found that she really enjoyed this time with her dad and enjoyed running.

Sharing short videos of them running together pounding the streets of Barrow, the pair harnessed the power of social media to encourage others, with Pippah sharing her new-found love for running – her message was simple; running "makes people happy."

The youngster became an inspiration, sharing quirky ways to get active. Through her Facebook page Diary of a Running Girl she has done a lot of fun runs and activities like running at night-time, in pyjamas, in fancy dress, a VE day 5k and even sunset walks that have inspired others to do the same. Pippah has helped make it fun with her positive messages and videos encouraging others to get involved.