Ben Stokes admits “Cumbria will always have a special place in my heart” after the all-rounder won two awards at the Cumbria Sports Awards.

Having starred in a dramatic World Cup final win against New Zealand before then leading England to an unlikely Ashes Test win at Headingley, Stokes claimed the prestigious Sports Personality of the Year award and the Performance of the Year gong at the 40th Cumbria Sport Awards.

Cockermouth Cricket Club’s Jon Gibson, one of Stokes’ coaches in his early days, collected the award on his behalf, with the 28-year-old currently playing in England’s second Test against New Zealand.

But Stokes did prepare a message of thanks.

He said: “I’m very proud and privileged to have won these two awards, 2019 has been an amazing year, one that I’ll never forget and I don’t think many cricket fans will forget either.

"We’ll always be able to look back on 2019 with very fond memories.

“Cumbria will always have a special place in my heart.

"It’s where everything started for me, where I got my first opportunity to play representative cricket and I owe a lot to Cumbria as a whole.”

Stars were out in force last night as the event celebrated 40 years with guest appearances from last year’s Sports Personality of the Year Helen Housby, M-Sport’s Malcolm Wilson and Leicestershire coach Paul Nixon.

Other past winners of the Cumbria Sports Personality of the Year also attended, including Steve Hanley and Charlie Shepherd.

Junior Sports Personality of the Year went to Emie Seward from the world of BMX racing. From Millom, Emie is just nine and retained her British and National Championship crowns for a third consecutive year in 2019.

The Disability Performance Award went to hammer thrower Bethan Lishman who won three titles at the British Indoor Masters Championships in March.

Whitehaven's rugby league side were crowned Team of the Year after they lifted the League One title.

The Junior Team of the Year was awarded to Cumbria’s Under-15s cricket team who were crowned champions at the competitive annual Ampleforth Festival in August.

Jimmy Nsouli, from the world of Power Lifting, was presented with the award for Coach of the Year while The Service to Sport Award was awarded to Ian Powley from Penrith Swimming Club.

Aspatria Hornets man Alan Reynolds received The Volunteer of the Year gong, with Netherhall School’s Harrison Savage named Young Sports Leader.

Elsewhere, the award for Community Club or Group of the Year went to Carlisle-based iCan Health & Fitness and the 2019 Active Education award went to St Martin & St Mary Church of England School, in Windermere.

* Carlisle climber Lily Kinnersley was one of three young prospects to pick up a Rising Star gong at the Cumbria Sports Awards, held at the Low Wood Bay Resort and Spa in Windermere.

During 2019, Kinnersley’s achievements have included being crowned Scottish Boulder champion, Welsh Lead Climb champion and British Lead Climb champion. She also represented Team GB at the Flatlander International event in Arnhem, Holland, where she was crowned Lead, Bolder and Combined champion.

Alongside Kinnersley, Kendal swimmer Elliott Woodburn was recognised, too.

At the County Championships earlier this year, he won 13 events ranging from short 50-metre sprints to 800-metre swims. Many of these resulting in new county records. Meanwhile, at the Scottish Open Championships, he claimed five open titles.

The final rising star award went to judo’s Esmeè Holgate.

Holgate has had a fantastic 2019, winning the Midland Area Age Band Championships in January, receiving a gold at the British Schools Championships in March and winning silver in the Northern Ireland Open Championships in April.

In June, while competing for England, she took bronze at the Flevvoland Open International in the Netherland, too.

Reflecting on the night, Richard Johnston, chair of the judging panel, said: “The awards were a superb event and an excellent opportunity to celebrate the enormous effort and talents of the sporting stars of Cumbria.

"We had some great nominations for the awards this year, and I know that our judging panel had a real task to choose all of the deserving winners. It just goes to show what great talent and dedication to sport that we have in the county.

"The support of the media, and our headline and category sponsors continue to make these awards a massive success, acknowledging the quality of our major sports performers and our emerging talent, as well as recognising the very important role played by the army of volunteers and coaches in Cumbria."