Find out what the judges had to say about this year’s Best of Wearside Awards

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

By Sophie Brownson
Thursday, 07 March, 2019, 05:00
(Front L-R) Gavin Houghton, from Gentoo, Victoria Manghan from Calsonic Kansei, Emily Downes from BGL Group. (Back L-R) Ian Thompson from Calsonic Kansei and Gavin Foster, managing editor of the Sunderland Echo.

The annual awards aim to recognise and honour outstanding members of the Wearside community.

This year, the panel was made up of Victoria Manghan, manager of CKNE human resources from Calsonic Kansei (CK), Ian Thompson, manufacturing manager for CK Sunderland,, Gavin Houghton, community engagement manager at Gentoo, Emily Downes, corporate social responsibility (CSR) specialist for BGL Group, and Gavin Foster, Sunderland Echo managing editor.

Best of Wearside sponsors.

The judges spent nearly two hours deliberating over the numerous worthy entries before narrowing down the field into a tight shortlist.

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 Local Hero Award, Fundraiser of the Year and Sporting Achievement.

Judges said they had a hard time of selecting winners from the incredible standard of entries.

Victoria Manghan, manager of CKNE human resources from Calsonic Kansei, said: “There is a reason why CK keep coming back to these awards.

“We are proud to be from Sunderland and are proud of the people of Sunderland and this gives us a chance to show it.”

Ian Thompson from Calsonic Kansei said: “It is a privilege to be involved in recognising the success in the North East.

“You don’t realise the depth of activity that happens.

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“The standard of nominations have been very good.”

Gavin Houghton, community engagement manager at Gentoo, said; “There have been a very high standard of nominations which has made it more difficult to judge.

“It is good to see the great things going on across Wearside that don’t get a chance to be brought to the foreground.”

Emily Downes, CSR specialist for BGL Group, said: “I have really enjoyed the judging.

“It is the first time that I have done anything like this and the whole experience has been nice in helping to identify our talent in the community and the unsung heroes.”

Gavin Foster, Sunderland Echo managing editor, said: “Year after year we are blown away by how many people are striving to make a difference in our community

“These awards bring how so many people give up so much to make Wearside an incredible place to live and work.”

Those who are still in the running after that point will learn their fate at the glittering grand finale on Thursday, March 28. Watch out for more details on that coming soon.

After the event, we’ll bring you a colour supplement with photographs and interviews from the night.

This year’s competition has backing from headline sponsor BGL Group, partner sponsor Gentoo and category sponsors Stagecoach North East, Calsonic Kansei, Wearside Audi, and Northern Railway.