Hosted by BBC North West Tonight’s Annabel Tiffin, the awards celebrated the individuals, groups, teams and organisations whose work improves the quality of life and well-being of local people, and collectively makes Wigan borough a better place for all of us.
Wigan Borough Partnership had received scores of exceptional entries across 13 categories, leaving the judges with a formidable task.
“Everyone here is a winner,” the then Mayor Councillor Mark Aldred told the assembled nominees.
“The stories being recounted tonight are moving and full of the great local spirit of support and friendship that we don’t hear about often enough.”
Other dignitaries present at the state-of-the-art sports complex included council leader and borough partnership chair Peter Smith, who added: “There are real local heroes and heroines in our community.
“Working with others in their schools and streets, or with the council, or sometimes on their own, they make the borough a better place and we salute their dedication, their devotion and their successes.”
Plans are being drawn up for next year’s ceremony and the organisers will be asking for nominations for the 2011 awards later in the year. Look out for details in Borough Life and at Wigan Life (external link)
Oh what a night...
The nominees and winners, who each received an attractive etched-glass trophy, were:
Ambassador for Wigan borough
Firefighter Simon Cording from Platt Bridge, whose work in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, alongside colleagues from across Greater Manchester, saved lives and helped the country in its darkest hour.
Highly commended: Fundraiser
Jamie Rigby from Hindley and Borough in Bloom champion Christine Ridyard of Atherton.
Business contribution to the community
Moss Bank Nurseries of Atherton, for their work with locals in greening-up areas, and supplying advice and staff to transform derelict land.
Highly commended: Wigan businessman Howard Gallimore, a tireless supporter of eco schemes in Wigan town centre, and Ged Tyrrell and partners of Leigh, who think global and act local.
Jeff Johnson of Shevington High School, who has spent 40 years coaching school sports, as well as taking people to the Special Olympics.
Highly commended: Lynsey Stone, dedicated volunteer with Wigan Children’s Fund and Jamie Rigby.
St John’s CE Infants in Leigh for its enormous and wide-ranging commitment to the environment.
Highly commended: St Mark’s CE from Newtown, Wigan and Garrett Hall primary in Tyldesley.
David Bailey from Higher Folds in Leigh – the best neighbour anybody could ask for.
Highly commended: Kerry Crichley from Wigan, and Barry and Jean Doherty of Lowton.
Green and glorious
John Belshaw from Wigan, for his tireless litter picks and clean ups for the Friends of Douglas Valley in Wigan.
Highly commended: Atherton Environmental Projects and Wigan Council’s Youth Offending Team.
Health and wellbeing award for professionals
Dr Nayyar Naqvi OBE, whose efforts have led to the creation of a world class cardiology service in Wigan for the borough.
Highly commended: Wigan Council’s Supported Employment Service and NHS Ashton, Leigh and Wigan’s Health Trainer Service.
Rose Bridge High School, the single, untouchable, stand-out performer in this category, where health and wellbeing come first.
Westleigh Lodge Nursing Home, who help and support people suffering with dementia.
Highly commended: Josie Maguire of the ‘Voice of Woodcock’ tenants’ group and Sylvia Carter from Wigan.
Boroughwide Community Network, for its environmental events and activities in many venues around the borough.
Highly commended: Bridgers Community Group from Howe Bridge and Vera Clarke from Beech Hill’s Tip Tops group.
Sports personality of the year
Jeff Johnson, who devotes his evenings and weekends to coaching both able bodied and disabled players at Bryn Badminton Club.
Highly commended: Graham Marston of Lowton and Nathan Leung from Atherton.
Volunteer or volunteers of the year
The indispensible George Herring, for his astounding devotion to Wigan St Patrick’s Rugby Club.
Highly commended: Butterflies Children’s Charity and Barbara Lambert, Chair of the Wrightington League of Friends.
Young citizen of the year
The amazing Ben Cunliffe who, despite diabetes and Crohns disease, fundraises and helps out at Wigan Little Theatre as a lighting technician and drama teacher.
Highly commended: Reece Wilkinson of Aspull and Nicola Fairhurst from Hindley Green.