Chichester fencing supremo Sharon Blackman has been presented with the British Empire Medal.
The coach of Chichester Fencing Club was surrounded by many loyal fencers as she was invested by the Lord Lieutenant of West Sussex.
It was the second part of the official process of investiture following Sharon’s attendance at The Queen’s garden party at Buckingham Palace in May.
Sharon is well known in the fencing community as well as the Chichester area as one of the hardest-working and most successful coaches, not just in fencing, but in sport generally.
As the Lord Lieutenant’s deputy explained to the gathered audience what Sharon had been awarded the medal for, it was clear it could not have been more deserved.
It includes her work to improve the profile of disabled fencing over the years and her tireless commitment to making fencing accessible for all, not to mention the sacrifices and dedication that have led her to become one of the most successful fencing coaches in the country.
The past few years have seen her pupils compete for their country many times at the European, Commonwealth and world championships and she has coached countless Sussex and south-east champions.
Many of these were present at the investiture, as Sharon had characteristically chosen to celebrate the event by showcasing the talent of her fencers, who put on a display for the enthralled audience, which included family and friends as well as some of her youngest fencers and their parents.
In her acceptance speech, Sharon said the thing she was proudest of as a coach was her work to ensure children from all backgrounds had the opportunity and the self-belief to become champions. Her belief is this will help children go far in life as well as in fencing.
It was evident her fencers could not be more proud to have Sharon as their coach, and it was unanimous that the British Empire Medal could not be more deserved.
* If you would like to try fencing please contact Sharon Blackman on 07708 508332 or go to www.chichester-fencing-club.org.uk
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