Adversity Awards2017-02-27T23:05:45+00:00



How it started
Having struggled at school and losing his eye to cancer at 33 Jonathan Walker the owner of Gambaru Fitness knows about beating adversity. That’s why he chose ‘Gambaru’ a Japanese word that means ‘never give in’ – ‘to be the best you can be’ as the name for his business. So when I suggested we launch the Gambaru Adversity Awards, he didn’t blink. In fact, he nodded and smiled, probably knowing full well like most things this would grow to become bigger than planned.

Our objective
Our objective was to reach into the community to find young people who have ‘kept going’ when it was easier ‘to give up’. Faced with adversity – social, physical or learning difficulties – each of our winners has used sport to overcome what life has thrown at them. Their journeys are unique, and they’ve all found the grit and determination you only discover when you move from ‘victim to survivor’. We salute each one of them and this programme is a tribute to their fortitude.

Making it happen
It’s never easy starting anything from scratch but spurred on by the quality of the nominees how could we not deliver? Like our award winners, we’ve focused on turning setbacks into opportunities – none more so than the one that led us to Rachael and Simon at Sira Studios. Facing multiple deadlines they filmed and produced the superb videos that graced our event and this site.

Watch the awards evening as it happened
On the adversity awards site, we have a highlights video which gives a flavour of the awards, the full-length video which captures the emotion and celebration of the evening. This includes the ten short films shown on the night, which movingly illustrate the incredible achievements our winners have made.

Our planned expansion
Following the evening at the Old Swan, we are delighted to be in discussion with David Watson Chief Executive of North Yorkshire Sport about bringing the Awards under their charitable umbrella. We then hope to work with them expand the programme across North Yorkshire.  Harrogate will always be our home, but we know we need to do more.

How you can help
We believe anyone who experienced the event or subsequently watched the videos will connect with the ethos of this programme. It’s not just about celebrating the success of outstanding young people; it’s about showcasing their journey so others can follow their example.

We would welcome enquiries from individuals or businesses who would like to help. Please contact Gambaru Fitness on 01423 565330.