Emotional night as Bradley Lowery honoured at Best of Wearside Awards '“ full list of winners here
It was Team Bradley at the Best of Wearside Awards as a brave little boy and his friends stole the headlines.
On a night filled with anticipation and emotion, Wearside honoured those who have gone the extra mile to make a difference to the lives of others.
And right at the top of that list was courageous Bradley Lowery, the five-year-old who is fighting a condition known as a neuroblastoma.
Bradley could not be there to enjoy the standing ovation in his name. The terminally-ill youngster has started a new treatment.
But he sent in an adorable video, in which he blew a kiss to say thank you for his award. He was one of six youngsters to be crowned Child of Courage.
And the Team Bradley show did not end there.
Another award went to Lynn Murphy, Michael Eggleston, Charlie Creaser, along with Bradley himself, who were all presented with a Special Recognition Award for the way they have helped the little lad with support and fundraising.
The annual Best of Wearside Awards, held at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light, brought together an exceptional group of people to collect awards, ranging from Volunteer of the Year to Local Hero.
But it was our six Children of Courage who brought the audience to tears with their inspirational stories.
They heard about two-year-old Rubie O’Brien, who faces a daily battle with condition spina bifida; as well as Courtney Collier, 13, who still manages to smile despite suffering from cerebral palsy.
Six-year-old Charlie Creaser, who also has cerebral palsy, was recognised for his efforts to fundraise for fellow battling youngster Bradley Lowery when he walked the furthest distance of his life.
Brooklyn Hutchinson, seven, was awarded for the brave way she is facing up to cancer.
Abbie Pinder, nine, who has cerebral palsy, but doesn’t let her disability stop her from trying new things.
And of course, there was the story of Bradley, who moved the room when they heard about his inspirational fight with terminal neuroblastoma.
Sunderland legend Kevin Ball got a standing ovation when he collected Lifetime Contribution Award, honouring his career on the pitch.
SAFC supporter fan Michael Ganley won the Judges Choice Award for creating the excellent The Fans Museum.
Other fantastic winners included; Students of the Year Andrea Bartlett, Lynsey Curry and Madeleine Hauxwell, who set up a counselling service to tackle mental health.
Fundraiser of the Year went to Tara Middleton, who has raised thousands for Macmillan in her mum’s memory.
Volunteer of the Year was presented to Ann & Robert Lillie, who have raised thousands for charity Grace House. The Sporting Achievement of the Year winner was Matt Wylie, who took home gold at the Rio Paralympics.
Autism Outreach Team was the Community Group of the Year for its work helping families with a relative with autism.
Highly Commended in this category was singing group The Songbirds for raising the spirits of care home residents.
Meanwhile, Jean Bramham became Community Champion of the Year for working hard to help the people in Town End Farm as secretary of the residents’ association.
The Local Hero Award went to bus driver Steven Tomkins, who leapt into action to save a little girl who suffered an asthma attack on board his bus.
Teens Ellis Coupland and Kian Henderson were highly commended in this category for helping a man who on a ledge above the Wearmouth Bridge.
Carer of the Year went to Linda and Colin Parkin, who have cared for hundreds of children since they began fostering back in 1981.
Thanks to all of our sponsors – Gentoo; Station Taxis; Calsonic Kansei; Vantec; TWR Bifold Doors; Sunderland Live; K&L Groundworks; Creo; JB Skills Training; and Sunderland City Council Fostering and Adoption Service, who made it such an incredible night.
Now watch out for a packed Best of Wearside Awards supplement in your Sunderland Echo on January 25.
It will be filled with interviews with all of the winners as well as lots more photographs from the evening.