A red-carpet return for the Community Spirit Awards 2023!
Last Wednesday, February 15th, saw the return of the annual Community Spirit Awards, an event held to celebrate the fantastic fundraising achievements of many St Oswald’s Hospice supporters.
The red carpet was rolled out in style at the Crowne Plaza, Newcastle where 200 people gathered including sky divers, marathon runners, cake makers, musicians, sponsored silence keepers, Machu Picchu trekkers, cyclists, walkers and more.
The evening opened with a warm welcome from Davina Radford, Spiritual Care Lead at St Oswald’s Hospice, and a reflection on the last year or so, sharing about the ongoing impact of the pandemic, the continuing work of the Hospice and the important part played by our fundraisers and supporters, many of whom were in the room.
The awards presentation consisted of 7 categories encompassing the variety of fundraising events and challenges completed by our amazing supporters, with an additional 8 special achievement awards announced during the evening.
Kicking off proceedings was Susan MacKellar, Community Fundraising Co-Ordinator, presenting the Supporter Events category to all those who have set up and hosted an event to raise money for St Oswald’s Hospice. This includes friends and family events, celebrations, community gatherings, cakes and makes sales and afternoon teas, to name a few.
The St Oswald’s Choice special award was presented to Robson’s Choice Northumbrian Pipers, who continually support and fundraise for the Hospice, playing at various events locally and regionally.
The Business Partnerships category followed, led by Kirsty McDonald, Business Partnerships Fundraiser, where all those who are involved in corporate fundraising and support with the Hospice were celebrated.
The Community Spirit special award was presented to Morrisons, in partnership with Together for Short Lives, and the work they do in their local stores to promote the work of St Oswald’s Hospice to local people and communities.
Community Fundraising Manager, Danielle Harvey, introduced the 100km in May category which was an event introduced during lockdown when fundraising teams had to innovate during a time of great change. Participants in this event opted to walk, cycle or run the 100km distance all whilst raising money for St Oswald’s Hospice.
The special award in this category, ‘The Dog Whisperer’ was presented to Anna Thirlaway whose creativity led to capturing a photograph with 100 different dogs whilst completing her 100km.
Bethany George, Community Fundraising Co-Ordinator, introduced the Mini & Junior Great North Run category which sees young runners aged 3 – 16 take part in a shortened version of this iconic half-marathon.
With so many brilliant participants in this category, there was two special awards presented. The Superstar Award was presented to Harriet Hamblin aged 3 years and 8 months, who completed the mini Great North Run not once, but twice! Harriet covered the distance on the original Mini Great North Run date and the rescheduled date.
The Budding Athlete award was presented to Elijah Farndale aged 7, who completed the Mini Great North Run in his own way by covering the same distance whilst spending time with family, after not being able to attend either the original or rescheduled event date.
Keeping with the marathon theme, Emily Corney, Senior Fundraiser, opened the second half of the evening with the awards for Great North Run and London Marathon participants.
The ‘Going the Extra Mile’ special award was presented to long-time St Oswald’s Hospice supporter Brian Paisley who has completed both running events over the years, and most recently, the London Marathon.
The penultimate category focused on challenge events which can include anything from marathons to overseas treks and even sky diving from 15,000 ft.
Presented with ‘The Sky’s the Limit’ award were Mike Humphreys and Karan Chiverton who completed this ‘bucket list experience’. Mike comes into St Oswald’s through his work and after being onsite and meeting staff members, felt compelled to raise money to support patients and their families.
Concluding the awards ceremony was the Machu Picchu Trek category. Danielle Harvey introduced the trekkers who took part in this overseas epic adventure back in October 2022 and shared some of their journey. This included spending time with the local people and learning about their culture and traditions.
The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Sue Hayes, who completed the Machu Picchu trek and in doing so, fulfilled a life-long ambition shared with her late husband Ted. Sue has raised in excess of £8,700 in memory of her husband Ted, supporting the work of St Oswald’s Hospice, sharing that it is ‘such a special place’ and somewhere that she will ‘continue to support and raise money for’.
The evening was closed with a short musical set from local singer & guitarist Alf Hill, with support from some members of the Klack band.
Community Fundraising Manager, Danielle Harvey, said, “We were delighted to announce that the combined fundraising total generated by our amazing supporters and fundraisers in 2022 is a fabulous £412,000.”
Danielle added, “Our supporters and fundraisers play an integral part in the life of St Oswald’s Hospice and it was great to celebrate them and their achievements.”
A big thank you and a huge well done from all of us here at St Oswald’s for all you’ve done – we’re proud of you!
You can view a selection of photographs from the evening, here.