A Ruthin woman says she was shocked to win a prestigious award at the UK Coaching awards.

Anna Jackson was named Disability Coach of the Year for her work in wheelchair basketball.

“I was one of three shortlisted and was just shocked when they annoucned my name,” she said.

“I was up against a swimming coach and a badminton coach, and well, they’re working with more athletes than I do and have done a lot more, but the judges must’ve liked what they saw in my work.

“I work with wheelchair basketball players from 6 and seven right up to the senior players. I I try and put a bit of a push on the whole of a person’s development, trying to to help with their self-confidence as well as sport.

“At the moment I coach wheelchair basketball in Cheshire, but I’ve also coached the Welsh under 19s team, and the Angels of the North, which is a womens’ team which draws players from all over North Wales, as far as Aberystwyth and Caernarfon.”

Anna, 45, now lives in Chester. She got into wheelchair basketball after knee injuries led to her giving up hockey.

“I made a mess of my knees really and had a lot of operations on them. I came to Chester for University and was struggling to run or play regular hockey so I stopped that in 1995 from playing and coaching and then discovered wheelchair basketball.

“I’ve played at the Paralympics, World Championships and European championships before I retired from playing 10 years ago.

“I’ve always coached, from junior hockey and tennis in Ruthin right through. When I started I didn’t have the wheelchar basketball qualifications but I’m now working towards grade 3, so I can coach all the way throught he sport.

“We set the Ellesmere Port club in 2014, and it’s exploded. We have about 40 players, people with and without disabilities, and I’m also a tutor for coaches, so putting some throught their awards. Being able to have an impact on players and coaches, it’s lovely.

“Norht Wales is a bit of a hotbed; there’s alot of hard work that’s been put in. We used to have just one wheelchair team in Wrexham and now there’s a lovely corridor of clubs from Rhyl to Conwy, Caernarfon, Anglesey, Aberystweyth and down to Newtown.

“I’m really keen to make sure it’s not just about performance level. It’s about things like our seven year olds who struggle to throw the ball in a hoop, they hit little goals and achievements, and that’s what makes you tick as a coach. They come in shy at first and really grow in confidence.”