Best of Wearside Awards judges decide shortlist

Best of Wearside judges. (L-R) Helen O'Leary and Kelly Gleadow from Gentoo, Louise Bradford from Creo Communications, Sophie Brownson Sunderland Echo reporter and Gavin Foster, managing editor of Johnston Press North East.

Best of Wearside judges. (L-R) Helen O'Leary and Kelly Gleadow from Gentoo, Louise Bradford from Creo Communications, Sophie Brownson Sunderland Echo reporter and Gavin Foster, managing editor of Johnston Press North East.

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Wearside’s community heroes have moved a step closer to finding out whether they had won an award.

Judges were faced with a tough task when they were called upon to decide on a final shortlist of nominees in this year’s Best of Wearside Awards.

The panel spent nearly two hours deliberating over the numerous worthy entries.

They had the job of narrowing down the field into a tight shortlist.

The judges were Helen O’Leary and Kelly Gleadow from Gentoo, Louise Bradford from Creo Communications and Gavin Foster, managing editor of Johnston Press North East.

The Best of Wearside Awards aim to recognise and honour outstanding members of the Wearside community.

Those put forward for an accolade could be individuals who have made a difference in their local area or people who have gone above and beyond to help others.

In the run up to the judging process, we asked for members of the public to put forward their nominees for categories which included Fundraiser of the Year; Community Group and Sporting Achievement.

Judges Helen O’Leary and Kelly Gleadow from Gentoo, said: “It was hard to make a decision as there were so many brilliant nominations.”

Louise Bradford, owner of Creo Communications, said: “I think the word ‘inspirational’ is overused, but I can honestly say that some of the stories of courage, dedication and community-spirit that the judges heard about today were nothing short of that.”

Gavin Foster, managing editor of Johnston Press North East, praised the standard of this year’s nominations.

“Once again there were some amazing entries in to this year’s Best of Wearside Awards.

“There were some amazing stories of people overcoming adversity, stories of courage and of our community stalwarts.

“There is so much to celebrate in the community and there is much to be proud of.

“It promises to be a fantastic awards night and we wish all our nominees good luck.”

Now that the judges have made the decision who is on the shortlist, we look ahead to the finale of the competition.

Look out for our list of deserving finalists, who will be announced in the Echo in the coming weeks before our fantastic awards evening at Sunderland AFC’s Stadium of Light on Thursday, January 19.

We will be there to capture the atmosphere and the occasion in paper and on social media and a detailed supplement will be published following the event.

Make sure you continue to follow the Echo in print and online for full coverage of the awards night, including photographs and reaction from all of our winners.