The amazing community champion who keeps making a difference on Wearside

A tireless Wearside campaigner reflected on the night she became an award winner – and urged others to bid for honours in 2020.

Friday, 10th January 2020, 11:45 am
Updated Friday, 10th January 2020, 11:45 am
Kirsty heads to the stage to collect the Community Champion Award.

Kirsty McGurrell was the community champion at the 2019 Best of Wearside Awards for her incredible work on behalf of families who have suffered a miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal or child death.

She described the awards finale as ‘fantastic’ and said: “It was lovely to meet so many inspirational people and have the chance to network.

“It was amazing to hear people’s stories and the tragic circumstances or how they over-achieved.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Kirsty proudly holds her trophy at last year's awards.

“The awards were fantastic because it lets someone know that they are appreciated.”

Kirsty and her family were devastated when her first son Louis was stillborn in 2009, but they channelled their grief to support others by creating a charity to provide free memory boxes to hospitals.

What started as a small batch of boxes to be given to Sunderland Royal Hospital has snowballed to become a charity which supports people across the country.

It supplies boxes to 949 hospitals and units in the UK.

Kirsty receives her trophy from Brian Spears, Non-Executive Board Member for Gentoo Group, at last year's Best of Wearside Awards.

The charity, called 4Louis, has changed the way grief from early deaths is dealt with in hospitals, as well as in national soaps who’ve consulted with Kirsty on how they handle such storylines.

Kirsty, who is also mum to Mitchell, Oskar and Daisy-Mae, is supported in her charity work by a team of volunteers who pack boxes five days a week.

Kirsty, from Newbottle, urged people to put in their nominations for this year’s awards. She added: “A lot of us do not do what we do for the recognition but it is always nice to have someone say ‘you know what, you deserve this’.”

The search is now on for entries to this year’s Best of Wearside Awards.

The 2020 Best of Wearside Awards.

This year’s competition has backing from headline sponsor BGL, partner sponsor Utility Alliance, partner sponsor Gentoo, and category sponsor Marelli.

We thank them all for getting on board, and now comes your turn to get involved.

We hope you will inundate us with entries and make the job of the judges that much harder.

Take a look at the categories, read the entry instructions, and your favourite cause will be a step closer to hopefully winning a Best of Wearside title.

THE CATEGORIES

l Community Group of the Year.

l Student of the Year.

l Green Champion of the Year.

l Child of Courage.

l Child of Achievement.

l Young Voice of Wearside.

l Fundraiser of the Year.

l Volunteer of the Year.

l Sporting Achievement of the Year.

l Community Champion Award.

HOW TO NOMINATE

To nominate, just send your name, address and telephone number, as well as your email address, if applicable. Remember to include the category you are putting your nominated cause into.

Also send the name of the person you wish to nominate, along with their address, telephone number and email (if known).

Send all of that to Lynn Wild by no later than March 2. Judging of all the entries will be held that same week with the finale at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday, April 1.

There are three ways to nominate.

l Email those entries to [email protected]

l Post them to Lynn Wild, North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC), Wearfield Enterprise Park East, Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, SR5 2TA.

l Visit the website at https://www.bestofwearside.co.uk.