PAUL Braithwaite was today celebrating becoming the winner of the Hartlepool Sports Personality of the Year trophy.
The gifted 17-year-old lifted the prestigious cup at the annual Hartlepool Sports Council awards at Seaton Carew Sports & Social Club last night.
It was a fitting venue for Braithwaite, given much of his success has taken place on the sports fields at Hornby Park.
Braithwaite was one of the star performers as Seaton Carew’s cricket team won a historic first promotion to the NYSD Premier League.
And the Hartlepool Sixth Form College student showed his all-round talent by playing for Seaton Carew on the same Elizabeth Way complex in football’s Wearside League before signing for Northern League team Crook Town.
The teenager has also been an integral part of the Durham County U17 cricket side.
But the pinnacle of Braithwaite’s achievements have been in international football, representing unbeaten England Schools U18 in their 2013-14 programme against Australia, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, captaining the side against the Aussies and the Irish.
“We got two wins and two draws and won the Shield,which was great,” said Braithwaite, who believes the Hartlepool Sports Personality of the Year prize is up there with everything he has achieved in a whirlwind career to date.
“This is massive.
“I feel privileged to win this award which has been won by some of the great names of Hartlepool sport like Savannah Marshall and Jemma Lowe.
“It shows that if you put in the hard work that you get noticed and I feel honoured that what I’ve done has been recognised.”
Despite a hectic lifestyle, the football and cricket ace says he does not fear any burn-out.
Paul, who studies BTEC sport and A level Business Studies at Hartlepool Sixth Form College, successfully fits in his sport and his studies.
But he is ambitious to make a career out of sport and is certainly well placed to kick on, especially in cricket.
“I try to revolve my life around the cricket and the football,” he told SportMail.
“I’d love to be a professional sportsman.
“I enjoy the College and the Sixth Form have been great with me. They are very flexible and I always get my work done.
“When I’m away from college I concentrate hard on my sport.”
The Seaton Carew opener, the 2013 NYSD Young Player of the Year, wanted to thank his family and all the people at Hornby Park for their support.
“I’d like to thank my mam and dad and brother for all they’ve done for me,” said Paul, whose elder sibling David was also part of the NYSD First Division promotion-winning Seaton side.
“I could not have done anything without their help and support.
“A lot of people have helped me with my cricket, supporting and helping me from the start.
“Neil Scott is one of them who has been with me since the juniors and Brian Weatherill, the club chairman, has also been a big help.
“Seaton is my club and it’s a top club to be at.”
Braithwaite was not the only Seaton success story last night at the Hartlepool Sports Council ceremony.
Two long-serving Seaton Carew footballers clinched major awards at the age of just 21.
JESS COATES, a key figure in the growing female section at Seaton FC, won the prestigious Services to Sport trophy.
And KIERON COPE’S work in coaching the youngest footballers at Hornby Park has been recognised by winning the Volunteer Coach of the Year.