Corporal Josh McNally has been crowned the RAF Sportsman of the Year for 2018.
The rugby union star has battled back from serious health issues to help the RAF to this year’s Inter-Services title.
He also has made a major splash in the professional scene, captaining RFU Championship side London Irish and was called up to Eddie Jones’ England training squad in May.
McNally has previously suffered from a stroke and went under open heart surgery, but his path back to the top is a journey that the RAF has honoured with the award. Other men considered included Judo’s Andy Melbourne and Skelton’s Rhys Thornbury, but it was the Rugby Union player who took the top gong.
Meanwhile, Sportswoman of the Year went to SAC Natalie Marsh. The powerlifter is a world champion in her sport as well as a multi-world record holder. She saw off competition from Rugby captain Chrissie Siczowa and water-skier/wakeboarder Sarah Partridge to the award.
"Everyone has gone that extra mile this year to go above and beyond in sport", says the Chief of the Air Staff, Sir Stephen Hillier.
The RAF Men’s senior hockey team have been named as Team of the Year after retaining their outdoor and indoor Inter Services title during the year. They beat off rival teams from the Army and the Navy to win the outdoor championship for the third successive year. It was disappointment for the snowboarding and table tennis teams who were also nominated for the award.
There were also awards for rugby union’s Squadron Leader Katie Sharman who took home Official of the Year and Wing Commander Nick Robson. He was given the nod for Administrator of the Year for his work in the tug of war competition.
There were three RAF Lifetime Achievements awards at the ceremony, with Rugby’s Paul Shanks, Judo’s Fred Harris and Nordic Skiing’s Steve Perry honoured for their service.