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St Helens 19°c
Charity Champion winner in 2019 Leanne Gauchwin
THE Pride of St Helens Awards – sponsored by the Mikhail Hotel and Leisure Group – is returning for 2021 to recognise our town’s amazing people and organisations.
And we need our readers to come forward with the stories of heroism, courage, brilliance and achievement after the extraordinarily challenges of 2020 and 2021.
The event, which was launched nine years ago to raise aspiration and champion achievement, did not take place in 2020 due to the coronavirus crisis.
Organisers the Steve Prescott Foundation and the St Helens Star have confirmed the ceremony will return – and are throwing open nominations for achievements over the past two years.
Saints’ Totally Wicked Stadium will again be turned into the glittering venue for the awards night on Friday, November 26.
Guests at the 2019 event
The first celebration of the town’s community stars took place in 2012 and was declared a resounding success – prompting the SPF and media partners the Star to make it an annual fixture.
This will be the ninth Pride of St Helens awards.
Martin Blondel, general manager of the SPF, said: “It was a disappointing not to host an event in 2020, particularly after the monumental acts of generosity and community spirit displayed by people during last year.
“But we will be back with a bang this year and want you to help us shout about all the great people and organisations across St Helens.
“Our mission – and what Steve Prescott wanted in 2012 when the awards were founded – was to create a truly spectacular celebration of what is best about St Helens and to raise aspiration and self belief among people across the borough. So we are going to be setting ourselves high standards to deliver an amazing event – but rising to a challenge is what this charity is all about.”
Past winners of the flagship Pride of St Helens Award have included triple amputee ex-soldier Andy Reid, charity Willowbrook Hospice, Marie McCourt and the Lilac Centre.
Images from the last Pride of St Helens awards in 2019 show Children of Courage, Joey Tildesley-Devine and Mason Naylor
Andrew Kilmurray, editor of the St Helens Star, added: “After the immensely trying times of 2020 and 2021 it is more important then ever that we share the stories of courage, talent, generosity, achievement and efforts against the odds.
“I’m sure there are many inspiring tales out there waiting to be told.
“One effect of the pandemic has been a resurgence in people’s interests in their communities and a desire to create a better future.
“It saddens me on occasions to hear people say dismissively ‘what is there to be proud about in St Helens?’, when in reality there is so much to admire – particularly the qualities of hard work, determination and smiling in the face of adversity that are interwoven into this town’s DNA.
“Along with that we have a rich seam of talent – people who live in the St Helens borough or who have grown up here and then spread their wings to achieve extraordinary things.
“There are also an incredible number of unsung heroes and unheralded achievers who do amazing things every day.
“What we need our readers to do now is to step forwards and tell us who they are.”
Organisers have thanked sponsors for their kind support, which will ensure the event goes ahead.
Mikhail Hotel and Leisure Group Pride of St Helens Award
The night’s premier award will salute a person or organisation who judges believe has made a truly inspiring or outstanding contribution to St Helens over the past two years.
Saints Sportsperson of the Year Award
Whose achievements in the sporting arena have been the brightest over the past two years?
We want nominations from all sporting fields – from amateurs to professionals, and from coaches to players.
The Kirkfield Lockdown Award
Which person, team or organisation made an incredible difference to the people of St Helens during the pandemic and resulting lockdowns. Tell us about their outstanding contribution during these unprecedented times.
Handepay Unsung Hero Award
Tell us about the person who makes a huge difference to our town’s communities, organisations or teams but who rarely gets a spot in the limelight.
Paramount Digital Courage Award
Every year the Star runs stories telling of the heroism, courage or bravery of people from this town. But many others must go untold. Nominees could have performed a dramatic rescue or maybe they’ve overcome illness or injury to record inspiring achievements.
Child Of Courage (Sponsor Available)
We are searching for nominees who have shown immense courage in the face of adversity. Courage comes in different shapes – is it a child who has battled illness, performed an act of bravery or done something truly remarkable while up against the odds?
JC Kitchens Young Community Star
Who are the unsung youngsters making a difference in our communities? It could be a remarkable community volunteer, a member of a club that has gone the extra mile, someone who has showed true kindness or immense bravery that has made a difference.
Accord Wills Emergency Services Hero:
Every day 999 crews perform incredible work; and 2020/21 has seen them face extraordinary challenges. But whose work has gone above and beyond the call of duty? Share their amazing stories with us.
Assured Life Charity Champion
Charities local and nationally survive and thrive on the cash raised by big-hearted fundraisers. And they have really needed it in tough times during 2020/21. We don’t just want to hear who has raised the most, but how they have done it, what difference has it made and why it has inspired you.
Imperial Bar &Terrace Arts Award
Often St Helens is guilty of not shouting loud enough about those who have achieved remarkable things in the world of stage, screen, and music. We want to hear about bright young things and those who have made it to the very top.
St Helens Borough Council Young Sportsperson of the Year
Which of St Helens’ sporting juniors have recorded the biggest achievement? In a town with so much talent we would expect a deluge of entries. Tell us who stands out? (Nominees must not have reached their 19th birthday by October 31.)
Torus Family of the Year
Tell us about a family who has inspired you? It might be the way they have faced adversity, or their campaigning efforts in the community.
Lifetime Achievement Award (sponsor available)
This award recognises a person who has made the outstanding and lasting contribution to life in St Helens. There will be no shortlist for this title announced prior to this award – instead the Pride of St Helens judging panel will reflect on potential candidates during the process and the winner will be awarded on the night.
Nominations will be open until September 30. A judging panel will then shortlist the candidates. Click here to fill out the form
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