Special awards for very special people

Deputy Mayor Coun Iain Kay with volunteers
Deputy Mayor Coun Iain Kay with volunteers
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A GLITTERING ceremony saw some of Sunderland’s most caring volunteers thanked and awarded for their massive contribution to the city.

The Deputy Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Iain Kay, was on hand to present the gongs at the Celebrating Volunteers event at the Seaburn Marriott Hotel.

Twelve volunteers from the city were recognised for their contribution to the voluntary sector.

Coun Kay said: “It’s even more fitting in 2011, given that this is also the European Year of Volunteering. This has added a truly international perspective to tonight’s proceedings.”

Nominations were provided by Sunderland City Council, Sunderland Teaching Primary Care Trust, Northumberland Tyne & Wear NHS Trust and City Hospitals Sunderland.

Jack Pattison was awarded Young Volunteer for his recognisable achievement as Young Ambassador of Sport through the Youth Sport Trust and the leader of the Coalfield in Bloom project.

Four volunteers who received an award for their remarkable dedication to the voluntary sector were: Rob Braines, who became the first health champion in Sunderland after becoming a regular contributor to emotional health and wellbeing projects; Eddy Moore who tackled antisocial tenants and poor quality properties in Grangetown; Jeff Coxon who raised £10,000 for Grace House after jumping out of an aeroplane on his 66th birthday; and John Killick who dedicated 30 years of his life to volunteering.

Given the long-service award for the time they had dedicated to volunteering were: Brenda Thirkel, a volunteer in the tea bar in A&E at Sunderland Royal Hospital for 34 years; Joan Gratham, a volunteer worker at Pennywell Community Centre for 30 years; Linda Bristow, a volunteer at St Benedict’s Hospice for 16 years; and Connie Bulmer, a volunteer for various organisations for more than 20 years.

Awards in the Impact category for volunteers who had shown extreme support to particular organisations, were given to: Bill Craddock, Sunderland’s finest volunteer for 25 years; Christopher Willis, a dedicated volunteer at the Royal Hospital for seven years; and Trish Sullivan, a health champion for Sunderland, supporter of the wellbeing network and who runs a mother and toddler group.

The evening was hosted by Ray Spencer and speakers included Bridget Phillipson MP and the city council’s Executive Director of City Services, Ron Odunanaiya.

Singer Anthony Stringer performed at the event.