KIRSTY Miller said being named sportswoman of the year topped a 12 months she didn’t think could get any better.

The taekwon-do star won six medals at the European Championships and World Championships in 2017.

But news of her success at the Oxfordshire Sports Awards came, she admitted, as a massive shock.

“The last year has been absolutely amazing,” she said.

“The European Championships were just fantastic to win a silver and three bronzes.

“And then to be involved in the World Championships in North Korea was an unbelievable experience.

“I didn’t think I’d be able to top that, but maybe I have tonight. I can’t believe I have won this.”

The primary school teacher, from Didcot, understandably had a few reservations about travelling to North Korea with the unrest surounding the country.

But she would not have wanted to miss it for anything.

“To go there and see such a country which you have read so much about was amazing,” she said.

“I had a real blast. So to speak!”

Miller was back at Willowcroft Community School yesterday, having spent the day after the awards marking homework.

“At least I have got an easy assembly now,” she joked.

More than 250 people were in attendance at the Kassam Stadium for the 12th annual event, organised by the Oxfordshire Sports Partnership.

One person who was unable to be there, however, was sportsman of the year Eddie Pepperell, who had been competing in golf’s Abu Dhabi Championship earlier that day.

A stunning second half to 2017 saw the 27-year-old record seven top-ten finishes in eight European Tour events and also finish tied 16th at the US Open.

“I was not expecting it,” he said in a video message played to the audience.

“I looked down the nomination list and if it was up to me I would’ve definitely given it to the goalkeeper (Luke Southwood).

“But obviously the sentiment towards golf is changing.”

Oxford Brookes University’s men’s rowing 1st VIII beat all before them this season – including a win over the Great Britain crew – and they landed the team of the year honour.

Vice-chancellor Alistair Fitt collected the award on behalf of the crew, who also retained the Temple Cup at Henley Royal Regatta – the first boat to do that since 2002.

“We’ve had some amazing results and hope it will continue,” he said,

“Success breeds success, and it is also helpful that we have Dame Katherine Grainger (six-time world champion and Olympic gold medallist) as our Chancellor.”

Coach of the year went to Oxford Hockey Club’s Paul Hogben.

The 57-year-old has been developing goalkeepers for 15 years, including Miriam Pritchard who made her senior debut for England in 2017.

He has never padded up himself, but it all started when his son decided to go in goal at an under 8/9 training session.

“It’s fantastic to win,” said Hogben.

“Just being nominated when there were so many other sports out there, it’s great to be recognised.

“I’ve been really lucky with some of the children I’ve coached and a number of them are up to the England age group squads.

“It’s amazing how a lot of kids see all that kit and want to give it a go.”

“They like these small, hard objects coming towards their head and dealing with it.”

It was a case of third time lucky for Abingdon Gymnastics Club as they collected the club of the year accolade,

“This is the third time we’ve been up for the award, so we’re delighted to win it” said co-director Clare-Marie Dobing.

“We’ve got more than 1,000 members, with seven full time coaches, while we have lots of volunteers and the parents have been very supportive.”

During 2017, the club won a host of awards, highlighted by Tiegan Trafford taking a national title.

Fellow director Neil Moulster revealed that 80 per cent of the members are girls, and most are aged between five and 11.

“We’re one of the largest clubs in the southern region,” he said.

“Our plans for the future include improving the facilities at our gym in Berinsfield, and I hope this award will hope up to do that.”

Blessed George Napier, Banbury, were crowned sporting secondary school of the year.

“It’s about getting hundreds of kids playing sports, getting active and that leads up to winning competitions,” said head of PE Stewart Orton.

“I am lucky I work for a very supportive school who recognise how important sport is.”

And Batt School, Witney, picked up the primary school honour.

“We are a small school, but we offer four or five after school clubs in various sports,” said sports coach Dominic Baker.

“We compete in virtually every competition that is offered out to us and have seen some outstanding achievements.”