Sussex Sports Awards: Rob Cross, Sarah Graham and Teresa Bennett among winners

Bexhill College student Sarah Graham clutches her award
Bexhill College student Sarah Graham clutches her award

Two people from St Leonards and a teacher at The St Leonards Academy were victorious at the Sussex Sports Awards.

Rob Cross won the coveted Freedom Leisure Sports Personality of the Year Award and Sarah Graham scooped the Active Sussex Young Volunteer of the Year Award.

Teresa Bennett, a teacher at The St Leonards Academy, won the Wave Leisure Outstanding Contribution to Sport Award.

The winners were announced during a black-tie gala dinner, organised by Active Sussex, at The Grand Hotel in Brighton last Friday night.

See also: * Sussex Sports Awards: Hastings & Rother pair among finalists
* World Darts Championship: Rob Cross to face De Zwaan or Kumar
* Cross sinks Taylor to win world title

Cross completed a stunning rise to stardom by winning the PDC World Darts Championship on his first appearance at the sport’s flagship event.

After edging out world number one Michael van Gerwen in an epic semi-final, he produced a masterclass to convincingly see off the great Phil Taylor in the final on New Year’s Day.

Cross - the highest ranked Englishman at number three on the PDC order of merit - has subsequently reached the semi-finals of the Premier League and won the Brisbane Darts Masters.

Graham, meanwhile, has completed well over 100 hours of volunteering with the Hastings & Rother School Games Partnership at primary school and secondary events.

She has undertaken numerous roles, including setting up, refereeing and umpiring, scorekeeping, timing and coaching.

Highly regarded as a fantastic role model to other young sports leaders, Graham has taken on the role of sports ambassador for the area, helping train new young leaders and sports crews.

Now undertaking a sports BTEC at Bexhill College, she benefited a great deal from attending the Mid Sussex County Sports Leadership group last year, meeting new people and taking advantage of coaching courses on offer.

Graham is always fully committed to whatever event she attends, and has assisted from level one to three of the School Games.

She attended the Sussex School Games in 2018 as one of the VIP groups of young volunteers and has helped with a range of activities from cross-country to hi 5 netball, key steps gymnastics to tag rugby.

Eastbourne-based Bennett has been involved with school sport in Sussex for nearly 30 years, including as a school sport co-ordinator and in her current role as the Hastings & Rother School Games Organiser.

Outside of school, table tennis is Bennett’s sport. She volunteers her time to help locally, and regionally, and is very well respected in table tennis circles.