Sutton & Epsom RFC coach Sam Phillips reckons sport in Epsom and Ewell is in a “fantastic” place right now, and he should know.

Phillips was one of the special guests at Tuesday night’s Epsom & Ewell Sports Awards, alongside GB athlete Shona Richards and England men’s basketball team manager Bob Chappell.

More than 200 people descended on Epsom Downs racecourse to celebrate the borough’s sporting achievements and recognise those behind the scenes.

Phillips, who is also a rugby referee and volunteer, was thrilled to see his club’s U13s win the young sports team of the year, as well as club of the year.

The 19-year-old said: “The night is all about making sure we celebrate what sport is about in our community.

“We hear about the BBC sport personality of the year and the international sportsmen, but that’s not what sport is all about.

“It’s about the community, and the room was packed with 200 people who give fantastic things to their sport, and this is about celebrating that.”

He added: “Some 10 individuals and clubs have won the awards, but to me that’s irrelevant.

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Talking questions: GB athlete and last year's sports personality of the year Shona Richards talked about her rise in athletics 

“It’s about celebrating the 200 people in the room because they are all special to their own sport in their own right.

“Last year, Epsom and Ewell were in a fantastic place – we’d just come off the back of the Surrey Youth Games and the women’s football and rugby world cups.

“But this year, we’ve just won the Surrey Youth Games and we’re the smallest borough. That is phenomenal.”

Despite his love for all community, Phillips, who was named young volunteer of the year in 2014, admitted he was delighted with the awards for Sutton & Epsom.

“For our young 13 year olds to get team of the year was superb, – they worked so hard last year,” he said.

“But the club of the year award was something else. We had no idea at all – there are a few proud faces tonight because there are a lot of people who do a lot of work at the club, to get the slightest recognition is not what we ask for, but to get the award is superb.”

Another double winner was Terry Bailey, who was named volunteer of the year and coach of the year for his work with the newly established Alexandra Blenheim Table Tennis Academy at Blenheim School in in Epsom.

He said: “I am absolutely delighted and gob-smacked to win, but the buzz for me is to be nominated by the parents of the students at the club.

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Setting the mood: The Epsom Youth Big Band 

“It’s really important that the boys are enjoying it and if they were not enjoying it, then their parents would not be nominating me.”

He added: “But I could not run the club without volunteers. There’s so much involved, from setting up the tables to the admin such as public liability insurance admin, it is impossible to run it without volunteers.

“They are so important, and that is why these nights of recognition are so very important.

“I also need to say a big thank you to Tracey Fantham, the headteacher at Blenheim, who has been so helpful in getting the club up and running.”

The young sports personality of the year went to former Glyn School pupil Jack Neill, who will represent Ireland on the pommel horse at this year’s World Gymnastics Championships.

He said: “It is amazing to win. I was here a couple of years ago as a nominee and I missed out, so it’s good to come back as a winner.

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Winner: Jack Neill, flanked by representatives from the Epsom Gymnastics & Trampoline Club, was named young sports personality of the year

“There are loads of people here, and everyone is getting the recognition they truly deserve.”

Neill has much to look forward to next year, with reaching the Olympics Games in Rio being highest on his wish list.

As for Bailey and Phillips, their hopes for 2016 lay a little closer to home.

Bailey said: “I would like to be in a position this time next year when I can nominate a member of my club.

“There are so many deserving people, but we have volunteers who are making the step up to coaching, and they are the ones I’d like to be nominating.”

Phillips said: “Everyone talks about the word legacy in sport, and we want to go out and deliver it.

“The next thing is girls’ rugby. We need to make sure we’re the pioneer of girls’ rugby in the country. At the moment we’re leading it in the county, we want that to be national.”

He added: “We cannot rest on our laurels, we need to make sure we build on the foundations that are already in place and, you never know, when England win the World Cup in 2019, it could become a lot easier to build on those foundations.”

The full roll call

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Dr Robin Elsdon-Dew young volunteer of the year: Peter Harding (above, left) despite suffering from brain and physical disabilities, Peter coaches at Wandgas Football for All, and is part of the Football Futures programme. He has also volunteered for the Surrey FA at events such as the Football for All League.

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Volunteer of the year and Coach of the year: Terry Bailey (above centre) - Terry's influence and organisational skills led to Epsom & Ewell fielding two table tennis teams at this year's Surrey Youth Games. The junior team took silver and the senior team won both gold and bronze. He also mentors other coaches to support him at the newly formed Alexandra Blenheim Table Tennis Academy.

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Disability sports award: Matthew Wing (above, second from right) - Matthew leads the Surrey Wheels for All Project and has been largely responsible for supporting participants, maintaining equipment, fundraising and working with local partners to ensure maximum exposure for the sessions.

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Young sports team of the year: Sutton & Epsom RFC U13s (above) - This year the U13s won the inaugural Surrey Cup and finished runners up in the Premier Outer Division of the Surrey Premier League. The team’s success has also led to individual recognition. Ten players have been selected to form part of the Surrey development squad, and another has been selected for the Harlequins academy.

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Sports team of the year: AFC Ewell Saturday first team (above) - Since the Team was formed three seasons ago they have had league or cup success every year. Many of the team now help with the junior sections at the Club Young sports personality of the year: Jack Neill.

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Sports personality of the year: Sarah White (above left) - Sarah has represented the England Hockey Ladies Masters team for the last three years. This year she was part of the over-45s squad that won the European Championships. She also led the borough’s Surrey Youth Games hockey teams this year with the girls’ team winning gold and the boys’ team winning bronze.

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Outstanding services to sport: Elaine Briggs (above, centre) - Elaine has been a volunteer at the Riding for the Disabled Association for the past 30 years. She currently helps 35 riders with a range of physical, emotional, sensory and psychological ailments.

Sports club of the year: Sutton & Epsom RFC - The club cater for more than 1,200 children between the ages of four and 18 years old. They run five senior sides, which includes a 35-player strong ladies team. This season the club has led seven after-school rugby programs at different schools in the borough, offering more than 350 children free, expert coaching.