Sunderland’s entertainment scene honoured at the Wow 24/7 Excellence Awards

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HERE they are – the winners in our first arts, culture, hospitality and leisure awards.

More than 200 people gathered at The Best Western Roker Hotel last night to see who would be victorious in our Excellence Awards, held in association with our weekly entertainments guide, Wow 24/7.

That's excellent!... The winners gather at the end of the Excellence Awards last night which was held at The Roker Hotel, Sunderland.

That's excellent!... The winners gather at the end of the Excellence Awards last night which was held at The Roker Hotel, Sunderland.

Guests at the seafront hotel were entertained by a host of North East talent including Nutopia, Anthony Stringer, Abi Garrido and The Waiters.

Among the winners was Peter Reynolds in the Lifetime Achievement Award.

The pensioner, from Barnes, has been an active member of The Royalty Theatre for more than 50 years, helping to keep Sunderland’s oldest community theatre alive.

Not only has he served on the executive committee, as chairman and as a trustee, he also builds sets, directs productions and even stocks the bar.

Judges praised him for his hands-on approach in fostering amateur dramatic talent in the city.

Other winners included Sunderland five-piece Frankie & the Heartstrings who walked away with the Contribution to Culture Award.

Judges awarded the band for taking a grass roots approach to arts, culture and music. In June last year, they transformed a derelict tourist information office in Fawcett Street into a creative hub.

As well as supporting local art and musicians, the band has staged a number of high-profile gigs from the likes of Edwyn Collins and Badly Drawn Boy.

Echo editor John Szymanski said: “It was a wonderful showcase of how much this area has to offer to Wearsiders and visitors as we have a wealth of arts and culture, and hospitality that is second to none.

“My congratulations to all the winners and everyone who was shortlisted as they really are excellent.”

The Winners

Restaurant of the Year: D’acqua

Children’s Entertainer of the Year: Emma Gerry for Emma Enchanted

Show and Performance of the Year: Remember Jim at Arts Centre Washington and The Tempest by Theatre Space North East

Pub of the Year: Lola’s Bar in Vine Place

Social Club Of the Year: South Hylton Working Men’s Club

Nightclub of the Year: Independent in Holmeside

Recreation Facility/Childrens’ Venue of the Year: Cookies Funtime in Ferryboat Lane

Takeaway of the Year: Borneo Bistro in Hylton Road

Park/Community area of the year: Dexx North East in Pallion

Contribution to culture: Pop Recs by Frankie & the Heartstrings

Hotel/Guest house of the year: Quality Hotel, Boldon

Cocktail maker of the year: Dr Feelgood’s in Hylton Riverside

Best Shopping Experience: Pussy Doll Palace in Hylton Road

Community Event of the Year: Ryhope Community Carnival

Lifetime Achievement Award: Peter Reynolds from The Royalty Theatre, off Chester Road