A GYMNASTICS coach was rewarded for her 35 years of service with a BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

Debra Courtenay-Crane, chief coach at Carterton Gymnastics Club, received BBC South’s Unsung Hero prize at last Sunday’s ceremony.

She took to the stage alongside the other regional winners in front of a host of sporting greats.

Courtenay-Crane said: “I’m honoured, especially to be amongst so many inspirational and talented people.”

The coach has mentored thousands of young people across well over three decades, while building a successful adult squad in the meantime.

She was nominated by her husband Barry Crane, who paid tribute to the coach.

He said: “She has changed people’s lives, helping grow their values, morales and confidence.”

Courtenay-Crane learned of her achievement through a surprise visit from one of her former gymnasts, Katie Slader, who she helped reach the Commonwealth Games.