Every one of you is a winner ....
A NIGHT TO CELEBRATE ORDINARY PEOPLE WHO ARE HEROES
THEY are the inspirational people who embody the very best of the North East.
Meet the winners of the Chronicle Champion Awards 2017.
These are our neighbours, our friends, our teachers, our parents – and we celebrated them during a special ceremony at the Hilton in Gateshead on Thursday.
Our champions include youngsters who have overcome remarkable adversity, tireless campaigners who have made our region a better place, emergency services heroes who have gone beyond the call of duty, and some truly courageous life-savers.
One of many highlights from the night saw the parents of Bradley Lowery – the young boy whose smile and bravery captured the hearts of the nation – welcomed on stage to rapturous applause.
With barely a dry eye in the room, Gemma and Carl Lowery received a special recognition award for their determination in carrying on their adored son’s legacy, ensuring many more children going through difficult times will receive the help they need.
Another hugely-popular category saw six youngsters crowned Child of Courage Champions, from Chanel Murrish, three, the record-breaking little princess born with half a heart, to Kian Musgrove five, whose fight against cancer has shown the generosity of our region in helping him make the vital trips to the USA for treatment.
More young battlers were celebrated at the awards, with Jac Sheldon, nine, recognised after spending the past three months in a ‘bubble’ after a bone marrow transplant and Lewis Smith, six, who had endured daily chemotherapy with a smile on his face.
Worthy winners Jack Sundin, 10, and Ryan Waites, six, have both faced lifethreatening heart problems and have overcome countless horrors that life has thrown their way.
The first award of the night, the Community Champion, went to Lynne Davis and Cheryl McDonald of Community Corner — a mother and daughter team who have raised over £130,000 for good causes in South Tyneside.
This was followed by the second winner in this category, Newcastle’s West End foodbank. Alan Purdy, 44, who sailed 2,000 miles around the UK after a devastating brain injury while on duty with the Household Cavalry, was named the Armed Forces Champion.
Mini-marathon hero Joe Denny, seven, was crowned Champion Fundraiser. Reece Group was named this year’s Champion Business, and the Good Samaritan award went to four life savers who rescued a man dangling from the Tyne Bridge – Ashley Rawlings, Abbie Mott, Andrew Fairlamb and Sgt Jamie Bell.
As the evening progressed, yet more of the North East’s young people claimed awards, including brothers Wilfred and Ted Chaffey, who took this year’s Green Champions award.
The award for Outstanding Act of Bravery went to nine-year-old schoolboy Blake Stephenson, who saved another child’s life while on holiday in France.
Three awards were handed out for our region’s Young Role Models – to Danny Murphy, Alfie Matfin and Jack Thompson.
The Champion Teacher award was presented to Eileen Race, of Kenton School. Football coach Justin Laidler won the Unsung Sporting Hero title for his work running three disability teams.
Mum and Dad of the year category was won by Helen Morgan and David Ferry, parents to 16-year-old twins Thomas and Jack, who are both disabled and require round-the-clock care.
Thomas has set his sights on a Paralympic career in boccia, a ball sport similar to bowls, with his mum and dad taking him to national competitions all over the country. The other winner was Jean Telford, who managed to stay calm and save the life of her son when his artery burst while driving. Jean’s 50 years of nursing experience kicked in as Shane lay bleeding from his groin on the roadside. Her actions, with the help of police officers Tony Barker and David Taylor who happened to be passing undoubtedly saved Shane’s life.