Tears and cheers as awards shine
Reporter: MARINA BERRY and IRAM RAMZAN
Date online: 04 November 2013
TEARS and cheers, laughter, smiles and joy - the 2013 Pride in Oldham awards had it all.
Now in its 12th year, Pride in Oldham never fails to offer a well-deserved stage to an army of dedicated, committed people who work across the borough to make a difference in their own communities.
Heart-warming tales of selfless, inspirational and courageous actions from people who ask for no thanks and never expect to have their stories told in public, nor to be recognised for the incredible people they are, made it a tough choice for judges to choose the winners.
And in the words of the Mayor of Oldham, Councillor John Hudson: “It doesn’t matter whether they get an award or not, without the kind of people who are here tonight, the borough of Oldham just couldn’t function.”
Broadcasting veteran Marjorie Stephinson MBE presented the event, taking all who gathered at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on Friday on a rollercoaster ride of emotion as she told the stories of each nominee and revealed the names of the finalists and winners in 11 categories.
She said: “Tonight is a celebration of strong, determined people who have a pride in Oldham. That is why we are here, to recognise the spirit of the people of Oldham. Just by being nominated you have achieved something very special.”
Local dignitaries gathered to present the awards, including the Mayor and Oldham’s Youth Mayor, Emma O’Donnell, local MPs Michael Meacher and Debbie Abrahams, Lord Davies of Oldham, and Chris Hamilton, chief executive of Oldham Rugby League Club.
Each of the finalists was given a special certificate, and each category winner also received a special glass trophy and a commemorative Chronicle front page marking their achievement.
A big and popular winner was nine-year-old Jack Hanley, a finalist in the the voluntary award - but who stole the hearts of Chronicle readers to win the coveted Readers’ Choice award.
The Crompton Primary School pupil raised £2,046 to raise money in memory of Jamie Heaton, who died in last year’s Shaw gas explosion
Jack admitted feeling nervous as he gave a cool, clear speech of thanks to his friends and family, to Shaw baths for allowing him to make his fundraising 66-length swim, and to the Chronicle for supporting him.
Three winners caught the eye of the Rotary Club of Metro Oldham. They were the Royal Oldham Hospital League of Friends, who won the group award, Ruth Jones who won the school’s category, and Julie McLoughlin, who won the voluntary award. Each were given £200 to continue with their work.
The evening began with the Soul Inspiration Gospel Choir, in full voice under musical director Kadria Thomas and accompanied by Aidan Thomas, singing “Something Inside so Strong,” the theme tune for the night’s glittering awards ceremony.
Oldham Chronicle managing editor David Whaley commended founding sponsors Oldham Council and Molnlycke Health Care, as well as long-term supporters such as JW Lees Brewery and group sponsors including First Choice Homes Oldham, Willmott Dixon, Nov Mono Pumps and the Stoller Charitable Trust.
He told the finalists: “Be proud. You have every right to be. Nights like this make me very proud to say that I am from Oldham.”
A full report on the event and all the winners can be found in tonight’s Oldham Evening Chronicle and eChron
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