Derek Beaumont has been named Man of the Year by League Express editor Martyn Sadler.
The Leigh Centurions owner fulfilled his dream of taking the club to Super League in 2016, as Neil Jukes’ side performed superbly to clinch automatic promotion to the top flight via the Qualifiers.
Away from the field, Beaumont has worked tirelessly for a number of charities.
The club launched a special kit for their Summer Bash contest with Bradford Bulls, with all profits donated to the Team Isaac fund. Most recently, Beaumont, along with Salford Red Devils owner Marwan Koukash, started a weight loss programme for charity, which will see the money raised shared between the Steve Prescott Foundation and Lizzie Jones Foundation.
Martyn Sadler, the editor of League Express said: “Derek is the Man of the Year because he achieved something remarkable in 2016, taking Leigh to promotion to Super League, just as he said he would.
“Leigh followed the correct procedures throughout the process, and they were rewarded with a brilliant success. Derek invested plenty of his personal money into the club, estimated at £750,000 this year, to ensure it could achieve its objectives.
“For their final home game of the season he opened the gates at the Leigh Sports Village and allowed everyone in for free. The club was rewarded with a five-figure crowd that cheered them home against Batley Bulldogs.
“It was a truly remarkable season for Leigh and their supporters, and Derek Beaumont deserves enormous credit for that achievement.
“He is an owner who wears his heart on his sleeve, and he can be as enthusiastic as any other dedicated fan.
“Derek is a man who gives generously to charity and will reward those who he believes show loyalty to the Centurions.
“And he is a man of great ambition.
“He is by no means content to sit back and glory in the fact that Leigh have reached Super League. He has a tremendous competitive spirit, and I have no doubt that Leigh will not be a pushover for any other Super League club in the 2017 season.
“The fun, for Leigh supporters, is only just beginning.”
Beaumont added: “I would like to thank Martyn Sadler and League Express for their award of Man of the Year along with Martyn’s kind words towards myself and our club.
“I had no idea that I was even being considered for the title. I genuinely feel privileged to be named his Man of the Year in a sport that is littered with many great and influential figures, not least the coaches he mentions and many top quality players who have had fantastic contributions to their clubs.
“Interestingly Martyn has me spot on with his assessment and I, like I preach to my children, employees and friends learn from experiences and mistakes which I think is a quality attribute found in any successful person. There have been times in my past when I have been too headstrong with my drive and this year I made a conscious effort to curb that and approach my goals with more respect and humanity.
“I am very protective of our club and it is correct that I have fallen out with people where I have felt our club hasn’t been treated fairly and that has included journalists from the League Express but I have come to understand that it is part of the process and criticism and opinion will always be there and it isn’t something you can control.
“Indeed the very fact that Martyn and League Express have chosen me given such situations is a clear example of that and a mark of how genuine the title is. As people know my motivator isn’t for personal gratification but I must concede I do feel rewarded for what has been a year that has been as incredibly difficult as it has been successful.
“I must also mention that my achievements were also greatly dependent on everyone involved at the club, in particular my fellow board members who are equally as driven and supportive, Neil Jukes whom I spoke to more than my wife in the first part of the season along with all his coaching team and what emerged as a fantastic team representing our club.
“Ultimately it is with them that the responsibility and achievement lies but I can say I will take this with pride and despite currently not drinking alcohol as part of my challenge with Marwan will raise a glass of bubbly when I settle down to read my weekly pocketmags version of the League Express tonight.
“Thank you Martyn and best wishes for 2017 to you and your team. I hope we can have some positive contributions to your publications throughout the year.”