Adversity Awards 2015 Harrogate High School Gambaru

Gambaru launches Adversity Awards for 14-18 year olds

6 May 2015

Harrogate independent gym Gambaru has launched a new awards scheme to celebrate the achievements of local young people who have used sport to overcome adversity.

The Adversity Awards 2015 have been developed by Mike Pywell and Jonathan Walker of Gambaru Fitness and were inspired by Jonathan’s own story where his passion for sport helped him overcome learning difficulties at school and eye cancer as an adult.

Jonathan, owner of Gambaru said:Sport can give young people purpose and confidence when they’re struggling in the classroom, facing physical or emotional problems or coping with difficulties at home.

The Adversity Awards will help to highlight young people who use sport to come through. And it isn’t just about winning; it’s about never giving up. When problems are piling up keeping going is the most important thing.


Andrew Bayston, principal of Harrogate High School, said Harrogate High School was proud to be supporting the awards: Sport has always been a key focus here at Harrogate High School and will continue to be so as we develop our school over the coming years.

We are delighted to be supporting these awards because we recognise the huge part physical activity can play in the physical and mental wellbeing of our young people.

We will be encouraging our students to nominate themselves and one another to celebrate their achievements and inspire others to succeed in the face of life’s challenges.

Students from the school spoke to Jonathan about their own passion for sport during an event at Harrogate High School to mark the launch of the awards.

Jack McFarlane said he trained regularly after school to prepare for a career in the military.

Jack said: My ambition is to join the marines so I set myself new goals all the time to continually improve my fitness.

Kirsty Henderson, Rebecca Thomason, Louise Turner and Carla Pollard are all members of the school’s girls’ football team and they said the social side of sport was important for building confidence and as an escape from the pressures of academic study.


Also at the event were Kyle Wallace who trains regularly in the gym and Elliott Warrington who enjoys sailing as well as training in the gym.

Mr Bayston shared his own story with students of how sport helped him achieve his ambitions.

Mr Bayston said: We all have times in our lives that are difficult and sport in any form and at any level can be a powerful way of raising self-esteem and self-confidence.

I faced academic challenges myself after moving schools at the age of seven and I owe the fact that I’m standing here now as school principal to the fact that sport became a big part of my school life, eventually leading me to become a PE teacher.

The Adversity Awards are free to enter and all schools and sports clubs in the Harrogate District are being encouraged to nominate 14-18 year olds who have used sport in some way, at whatever level, to overcome social, learning or physical adversity. Individuals can also make nominations via the website

Nominations close on May 29 and the awards will be presented at the Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate on June 25. There will be winners from each school as well as prizes for individuals and sports club members.

Jonathan said: There will be trophies and prizes for the winners but the most important thing is we are recognising the achievements of very special group of young people who have never given in.

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