He was a winner, so was his mam - could you be our next Sunderland or South Tyneside champion?

A fitness expert has applauded our search to find the cream of the health industry - and told how the contest is close to his heart.

By Chris Cordner
Wednesday, 13th February 2019, 5:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 13th February 2019, 7:32 am
East Coast Fitness were highly commended in the health and lifestyle category of last year's Portfolio Business Awards.
East Coast Fitness were highly commended in the health and lifestyle category of last year's Portfolio Business Awards.

East Coast Fitness is backing this year’s Sunderland Echo and Shields Gazette Best of Health Awards and the company’s owner Graham Low loves the fact that we are recognising excellence.

He said: “I am in the health and fitness industry myself and it is important that we celebrate the effort that goes into it. The work that the NHS does is fantastic.”

East Coast Fitness receive their 2018 trophy from Mike Paterson (right) Regional Director North East, Northern Rail.

Graham has his own reason to remember the impact that the awards can have as his mum Dorothea Low was the joint winner of the Community Nurse of the Year category in 2018.

Graham himself is no stranger to success. He was highly commended himself last year in the health and lifestyle category of the Sunderland Echo-run Portfolio business awards.

And just a year earlier, he won the Sole Trader section of the Portfolio Awards.

Graham said: “My mam has worked in the NHS all her life so the awards are close to me as well. She was over the moon to be nominated.”

Now Graham and East Coast Fitness, which is based at Seaham Marina, is supporting the search for a new collection of heroes.

They are perfect sponsors to have on board as the four-year-old firm has grown to have more than 180 members.

With such great sponsors behind us, all we now are your nominations in the categories listed below.

We shall be aiming to report on most of the nominated causes in the weeks to come.

That way, the top-class workers in our health profession get the recognition they deserve, whether or not they pick up an award at the end of the competition.

Nominations can come from all sources. It can come from the health service professionals themselves, their colleagues, from members of the public – or from anyone who feels they know someone who deserves to be rewarded.

Once nominations come in, it will be up to a panel of judges to decide on a shortlist.

Then it is on to the finals night which will be held at the Roker Hotel, in Sunderland, on Thursday, May 9

We want you to nominate your own health heroes and here are some details of this year’s competition.

The deadline for all nominations to be submitted is Friday, April 5, and the judges will meet the following week to decide on the shortlist.

The final will be held at the Roker Hotel, in Sunderland, on Thursday, May 9.

To nominate, send your name, address and phone number, as well as your email address, if applicable.

Send the name of the person you wish to nominate, along with their address, telephone number and email (if known). Remember to include the category you are putting your nominated cause into. And send a detailed reason as to why you think your nominated person or organisation should be chosen as the winner.

There are three ways you can nominate;

* Email those entries to [email protected]

* Send them to Lynn Wild, Alexander House, Second Floor, Rainton Bridge Business Park, Houghton-le-Spring, Sunderland, DH4 5RA.

* Nominate online. Visit the website at http://www.nehealthawards.co.uk.


* GP or GP Practice of the Year.

* Dentist or Dental Practice of the Year.

* Pharmacist or Pharmacy of the Year.

* Hospital Doctor of the Year.

* Nurse of the Year.

* Optometrist of the Year.

* Therapist of the Year.

* Midwife of the Year.

* Care Worker of the Year.

* Customer Service/Unsung Hero of the Year.

* Community Healthcare Initiative Year.

* Healthier Lifestyle Award.

* Mental Wellbeing Award.

* Lifetime Achievement Award.