JUDGING officially got underway this week to find the Hartlepool Heroes of 2022 after hundreds of nominations were received ahead of next month’s showpiece event.
The judges gathered at the Borough Hall - where the awards night will be held on Thursday, July 7 - on Monday to begin the process of creating a shortlist for each of the 11 categories.
Organisers of the first Hartlepool Heroes awards night were delighted with the response ahead of last Friday’s nominations deadline. Now the difficult challenge is on to narrow the numbers down.
The search for Heroes is being led by the PFC Trust, Hartlepool Borough Council, Jill Mortimer MP, HartlePower, Poolie Time Exchange, Hartlepool Carers and media partner Hartlepool Life.
Christine Fewster (Hartlepool Carers), Gemma Ptak (Hartlepool Borough Council), Alison Shepherd (from Jill Mortimer's office), Ian Cawley (Poolie Time Exchange), Peter Gowland (HartlePower), Joe Dunne (The PFC Trust) and Shaun Hope (PFC Trust chairman and Hartlepool College FE assistant principal) met and those shortlisted for an award will hear at some time in the near future.
Joe, Trustee of the PFC Trust and organiser for Hartlepool Heroes, said: “All the nominations were collated over the weekend with every nomination going forward to a shortlisting panel.
“The panel will produce a shortlist of three finalists in each category. A congratulations letter will be sent to all 33 finalists from Tuesday onwards informing them of their nomination and inviting them and three guests to attend the final of Hartlepool Heroes.
“All the finalists will also be invited to have a video presentation produced showcasing their work, which will be shown at the awards evening to over 600 guests and judges before a winner in each category is announced and presented with their award.”
Hartlepool Council Adult Services, Hartlepool United Football Club, Seymour Civil Engineering, Tata Steel, Sheraton Group and Artistic Solutions are all sponsoring a category.
As are GT3, DESCO, BGP (sharing one award), Orangebox Training, Phoenix2retail and Hartlepool Carers, while Surface Smart and Crafty Monkey are sponsoring the drinks reception.
Joe added: “The support from local business and partners who have sponsored all 11 categories and helped pay for Hartlepool Heroes Awards evening has been overwhelming, and we will definitely be seeking to do more with our partners over the coming months and years.”
The aim of the night is to raise awareness of those in the community who go the extra mile to help others and having looked at the nominations excitement is already building among those behind Hartlepool Heroes.
Joe said: “The awards night is going to be an evening showcasing the extraordinary people we have working and living in our community and will provide an opportunity for the town of Hartlepool to recognise and celebrate these people.
“Most people I have talked with don’t see themselves as a Hartlepool Hero and are embarrassed to think they do anything exceptional they just like to help and support people in their community.
“We had to work hard to get people to recognise they are Hartlepool Heroes; they may not recognise it themselves but they are now been recognised by those they help and support.
“With the Tall Ships Race happening in 2023, this is one of the first of a series of events happening in Hartlepool to showcase the town, its heritage and the people which make up this great community.
“The people recognised at the awards ceremony are just the tip of the iceberg, we are hoping next year we will have many times the number of nominations as we have so many people doing wonderful work in Hartlepool we should and need to recognise them all. I am sure they are already recognised by those they personally help.”