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Hartelpool Heroes 23 - Celebration

More than 300 people were at the Borough Hall for an emotional night at the second Hartlepool Heroes Awards.

Frances Connolly, the founder of the PFC Trust and the driving force behind Hartlepool Heroes, was surprised to receive her own special recognition award for all the good work she has done for the town.

And the winner of the People’s Choice Award, Stephen Picton, voted by the public, highlighted the incredible work of everyone nominated for an award on the night by stating “each and every one of you are Heroes” after collecting his prize.

The winners in each of the 11 categories receive £500 to donate to their chosen charity or organisation and the other nominations have £125 to do the same courtesy of donations from the Teesside Charity. The night was supported by Hartlepool Borough Council and Hartlepool Carers.

Orangebox Training Solutions, Steel Benders UK Ltd, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the Wates Group, Lyla Belle’s and Koselig Bakeri sponsored a category.

There was further support from Rephrase PR & Media Services, Surface Smart, Footprints Nursery, InStudio and Ord Office.

Frances said: “We are so very grateful to everyone who stepped up to sponsor a category this year and to everyone else who has supported this.

“This year has been particularly challenging to organise such an event because of the commitments people have with the Tall Ships Races and the economic crisis hitting hard, so to find sponsors has been difficult and it is understandable. Special thanks to Orangebox Training Solutions who came on board for the second year.

“It is at times when things are at their most difficult when it is important to value those caring and carrying out incredible work in the community.

“Hartlepool has a strong tradition of looking after their own and I really hope the first two years of this fantastic event is just the beginning.

“I might not be from Hartlepool originally, but this town took me in and welcomed me decades ago and I will never forget that – that is why I created the PFC Trust to help improve the lives and life chances of people in the area.

“I think I was speechless for the first time when I was given a Special Recognition Award – and it was so nice. More importantly it was so lovely to hear all of the inspiring stories on the night, all examples of the work that goes on across the community every single day.”

Category winners on the night were Stu Thompson (Volunteer of the Year), Pete Wells (Teacher of the Year), Calvin Anton-George (Sports Development), Stephanie Addison (Lifetime Achievement), Mrs Sweeting & the EMS Planting Group (Green Community Champion), PC Chris Harding and PC Ben Hayes (Emergency Services Hero) and Emilie de Bruijn (Community Champion).

Other winners were Kay Laverick (Carer of the Year), Thomas Bisset (Young Adult Carer of the Year) and Amish Ryan (Young Carer of the Year).

And HartlePower’s Peter Gowland received his own special recognition award too for everything he has done in the community.

Frances added: “Peter Gowland has been a tireless community volunteer coordinator and activist for more years than he cares to remember.

“There are very few active volunteer groups in the town who don’t owe Peter a debt of gratitude and it was with great pride that the people of Hartlepool recognised his magnificent contribution.”

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