IT was, as ever, a night of emotion, celebration and tears.
The 11th Examiner Community Awards brought out all that’s best in the town.
And, as Examiner editor Roy Wright so eloquently described, it was a night in which everyone was a winner.
Hundreds packed into the Galpharm Stadium’s main banqueting suite last night to honour the town’s finest citizens.
There were 13 awards on the night but every single one of those nominated could feel pride in being there.
So, too, could the hundreds who turned up to celebrate the achievements of all the nominees.
Young and old, the nominees had each brought hope and distinction to their lives and, more importantly, to the lives of others.
Co-hosts for the glittering evening were the Examiner’s Head of Content, Andrew Hirst, and ITN newsreader Nina Hossain.
And Ms Hossain, delighted to be back in her home town, said: “It is all about the people who make Huddersfield such a great place to live.
“We are here to say ‘Thank you’ to each and every one of them”.
There were stories of courage, as in youngsters like George Jackson, who has battled leukaemia, and Moor End student Reddin Rizgar, who had escaped from the tyrannies of Iraq to build a new life in the UK with his father.
And there were stories of great personal sacrifice, with people such as foster carer Brenda Whitworth, and Sandra Tremaine, of Rawthorpe, who had battled to re-establish true community spirit in the area.
Huge applause greeted the winning mother and son team who set up the help group Waves and, again for cheeky-faced Ben Pogson, the Linthwaite youngster who showed enormous courage to battle serious heart problems.
The main award of the night, the Achievement Award, went to Marsden-born poet Simon Armitage and, fittingly, he followed his dad up on stage.
Peter Armitage, who has raised more than £100,000 for charity, took the arts award after a distinguished career.
The pair of them hugged each other to show the true spirit of the awards night, a night when Huddersfield’s true persona shone through.
And the younger Armitage, who has never forsaken his home town for the bright lights of London or New York, said it was humbling to hear the stories of all the nominees.
“It sums up what Huddersfield is all about”, he told an appreciative and admiring audience.
“It’s a large town with a big heart and an open mind.”Related content
Examiner Community Awards 2011: David Deaves wins Emergency Services Personality Award
THE judges said it was rare to have come across someone with such amazing dedication to help so many others for such a long number of years.
David Deaves has been with the ambulance service for 38 years and works as an advanced technician based at Dewsbury Ambulance Station, but almost every moment of his spare time is spent organising and taking part in fundraising events for Dewsbury Ambulance Charities which he set up in 1980.
His charity has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for charities and even bought a chalet at Bridlington over 20 years ago to provide respite care.
Paramedic Basharat Rafiq, who nominated David, said: "He has dedicated his life to others and never received any recognition at all.’’
David said: "I’m totally stunned. It’s so good to get recognition like this from the people we serve.
"It’s not just a job. But then again it is and like any job, you go home and you think you could have done things so much better.
"I am just so glad that I have been in a position where I can help people who need it."
And he promised to carry on the good work, even if problems are piling up.
The seaside chalet has been hit by a flood – but David is rolling up his sleeves and is determined to raise the money for repairs.
Other nominees in this category were Pc Dawn Sutcliffe and Dr Jez Pinnell.
Examiner Community Awards 2011: Brenda Whitworth wins Friend of the Year Award
THE JUDGES chose Brenda Whitworth because she is a person who has brought so much stability, kindness and hope into the lives of 100 children and some had only known sadness, fear or isolation before.
Brenda provides a warm and loving home for the children who can't be cared for by their own families and since 1985 more than 100 youngsters have benefited from her kindness.
For most of these years she has welcomed these children with husband Ian, but sadly he passed away last year. Brenda has carried on providing a stable family environment for children in need and is now caring for three youngsters.
Many have kept in contact with Brenda who they have come to regard as someone extra special in their lives – lives that she has helped to change so much for the better.
There is always a shortage of foster carers so Brenda is an inspiration to so many other people.
Brenda said: "I’ve always loved children, I have four of my own, and hopefully I’ve made a big difference to the lives of the children I’ve fostered.
"At the time when you’re talking to them, you don’t think they are listening. But it makes it all worthwhile when they tell you you’ve helped. I’m really pleased but surprised to win."
Other nominees in this category were Huddersfield Street Angels and Tony Duxbury.
Examiner Community Awards 2011: Sandra Tremaine wins Services to the Community Award
WHEN most people have retired, Sandra Tremaine galvanised her community into action and has now ended up with a vibrant community centre that is enhancing the lives of people of all ages.
A few years ago Rawthorpe Community Centre used to host the odd bingo session – and was in danger of closing down. But now it’s a hive of activity thanks to Sandra who was determined it would stay open and become a focal point for the community.
Helped by a small band of volunteers, she now devotes her time to organising different activities for young and old residents, as well as raising funds for the building.
She used the centre to help set up Rawthorpe Tenants’ and Residents’ Association and through this the volunteers started serving hot lunches twice a week to the elderly. Now the centre hosts everything from yoga to a youth club with sports for children in the summer holidays.
Sandra, 67, said: "I am thrilled to have been given this award and I must thank the ladies from the luncheon club who I know supported my nomination.
"I felt so passionately that we couldn’t afford to let the centre close and seeing what we have achieved, particularly for the elderly residents in our community, is fantastic.
Other nominees in this category, sponsored by Kirklees College, were Bernadette Lawton and Danny Moriarty.
Examiner Community Awards 2011: Robert Read wins Sports Personality of the Year Award
TO set an historic sports record that is unlikely to be ever beaten is a remarkable achievement, but to do it when you’re still only 40 is absolutely outstanding which is why Robert Read won this category.
Robert made history last month when he officially became Huddersfield’s most successful snooker player.
He passed the previous record of 12 titles when he beat Trevor Liversidge in the town’s Open Snooker Championship.
He won his 13th title on Friday, May 13, so he certainly isn’t superstitious and it’s a record that is unlikely ever to be beaten. Now it looks like he may give his rivals a chance – for a short while at least.
"I might take a year off now,’’ he said. "I want to spend a bit more time with my lads, Oliver, 12 and Jake, eight, as they both want to start playing snooker."
Robert found out about his nomination after receiving a call at work from reporter Barry Gibson.
"My colleague had just gone outside and I thought he was pulling my leg. I didn’t realise I had really been nominated," said Robert.
Robert started playing snooker when he was just three years old on a six-foot table bought for him by his parents.
"I practice two hours a day when I’ve got a big match ahead. The lads love all sports, but it looks like I’ll have to take some time out now they want to follow in my footsteps," he added.
Other nominees in this category were Ivan Boyes and Tyrone Nurse.
Examiner Community Awards 2011: Honley Show wins Community event of the Year Award
HONLEY Show has put Huddersfield on the agricultural show map and ploughed money back into the community.
It marks its 90th anniversary this year and attracts visitors from all over the country.
The agricultural show – which first ran in 1921 – attracts more than 10,000 visitors every year to The Showground on Moor Lane in Farnley Tyas.
Sharon Smith, from Leicester, nominated the show and said: "There is such a variety of stalls, animals and craft fairs to look at – there is something special for the whole family.’’
Money raised by the show helps the local community and charities which, in recent years, has helped Riding For The Disabled, Colne Valley Museum, school and youth projects.
This year’s chosen charity is the Royal British Legion.
Show chairman and president Allen Turner said: "It’s a lot of hard work, by a large number of people and it’s a 12-month job.
"We get lots of positive comments about the Farnley Tyas site and the show has gone from strength to strength since we moved there in 2000.
"Whatever the weather it’s always a success and this Saturday when the show goes ahead of course the sun will shine!"
Other nominees in this category, sponsored by Pearson Funeral Directors, were Mirfield Agricultural Show and Golcar Gala.
Examiner Community Awards 2011: Waves Day Centre wins Community Project of the Year Award
WAVES has put disabled people right at the heart of the community.
Almost all the people who attend this day centre in Slaithwaite now work for a few hours a week in Colne Valley businesses – and that is a testament to the vision of Sallyanne Green and her son, Ben Wright.
The centre teaches the people vital life skills ranging from running an allotment to organising how the centre itself is run and has been set up at a time of great worry about the future of social care.
Michael Blake, who nominated the centre, said: "Waves provides a level of care for young people with learning disabilities which I think is unrivalled anywhere else in the North of England.
"Everyone who comes into contact with the centre comes away inspired by Sallyanne’s energy and vision."
On accepting her award, she said: "I am completely overwhelmed. When we decided to name the charity Waves little did we know what waves the community would make to benefit the lives of others.
"Slaithwaite has whole-heartedly embraced us with their generosity and for that we are truly grateful.
"To have so much backing from businesses has been fantastic."
Other nominees in this category, sponsored by David Brown Engineering, were Woodscape and Gateway To Care.
Examiner Community Awards 2011: Bay Athletic win Sports Team of the Year Award
BAY Athletic made history at a high standard of football and notched up a treble this season – and are already looking to take their game to an even higher standard.
Bay Athletic have won the West Riding County Amateur Football League title for the fourth successive year – the first team in the league’s history to achieve this feat.
And they have also just revealed they are looking to the future by setting up an Academy team to start next season.
The ambition now is to move up to another level and play in the Northern Counties East Football League which could be as early as 2012 if they keep up their winning ways.
The club, based at Canalside on Leeds Road, is also representing the West Riding League in the Counties Cup after lifting the league trophy this season.
Chairman Martin Byrne said: "This award is fantastic, coming from people in Huddersfield. We are delighted with what we have achieved and we have a long-term plan to develop the club still further.
"A lot of our people have been with the club for many years and have it at their heart.
"Huddersfield deserves another semi-pro club and we would like to see the players from this town who go elsewhere, to other leagues, to stay here with us. The players we have now are good enough but there are others to come in the years ahead of us.
"We are so pleased to win this award."
Other nominees in this category, sponsored by Ramsdens Solicitors, were Deighton’s Demons and Diamonds basketball teams and Honley High Year 11 Netball Team.
Examiner Community Awards 2011: Reddin Rizgar wins Young Personality of the Year Award
REDDIN Rizgar overcome physical disabilities, language barriers and an epic journey in every sense of the word to become an absolute inspiration to everyone who meets him.
The 16-year-old, who is from a Kurdish background, came to Britain at the age of four from Northern Iraq after his father, a deserter from Saddam Hussain’s army, carried him on his back during a year-long journey.
He learned to speak English and acted as an interpreter for his father even though he has physical disabilities including Growth Hormone Deficiency.
Now at Moor End Technology College, headteacher Jane Acklam said: "Reddin is considered the life and soul by many of his peers and a great friend. He is ready to attempt and surpass all obstacles that life throws him.’’
Such is the dedication of Reddin to his studies that he brought his physics revision notes to the awards last night in preparation for his exam today(Tuesday).
Reddin, who was visibly emotional after receiving the award, said: "I’m really astonished, but very proud. It is all down to my parents that I have achieved this success."
His 18-year-old sister Rezhin Ahmed said: "The whole family are very, very proud of him. I never thought I would be so proud of him. He is wonderful."
Other nominees in this category, sponsored by Huddersfield Common Good Trust, were Jhovan Hanson and George Jackson.
Examiner Community Awards 2011: Stan White wins Teacher of the Year Award
STAN White made the life-changing decision to give up a lucrative job as an insolvency lawyer to pursue a career that is making such a dramatic impact on young disabled children and their families.
He has a 16-year-old son with Down’s syndrome and wanted to make a difference to young people’s lives – and what a difference he’s making.
"I was very shocked when I found out I had been nominated. I am just doing my job. You don’t go into teaching to win awards. I am doing something that I really enjoy."
His energy, enthusiasm and empathy for the children he teaches makes Stan a charismatic figure and he has worked at Lowerhouses CE Junior, Infant and Early Years School’s special unit for children with speech and developmental delay since 2005.
One parent said: "My son has blossomed in his time with the school. I cannot put into words the respect and admiration my family have for his teacher.
"Mr White’s energy, innovative approach to teaching, patience and compassion for all of his students is truly admirable.’’
Mr White said: "It is lovely to be nominated and fantastic to win. I hope to carry on for many years doing a job I love. It is so rewarding."
Other nominees in this category, sponsored by Stafflex, were Christina Quashie and Anna Mantle.
Examiner Community Awards 2011: Ben Pogson wins Courage Award
AT a time when he must have been terrified at the prospect of undergoing major heart surgery, Ben Pogson only thought of his family and then helped them through a traumatic time in all their lives.
He took major heart surgery in his stride and has been inspirational for his family. And just a few weeks after open heart surgery, Ben was back at school and surprised everyone by returning to his beloved karate classes at Colne Valley Black Belt Academy.
His instructors were so impressed they named him Boy Ninja Student of the Year.
Eight-year-old Ben now helps raise cash for other children’s heart surgery patients at Leeds General Infirmary, including doing a sponsored karate challenge.
Ben said it was excellent to win. He wanted to know why he had been nominated and for what reason. He is so very unassuming and complacent about the whole thing.
His parents Neil and Sam said that he had multiple holes in his heart but now he was back to taking part in various activities.
His mum was very quick to say how good his school had been and they too have started to raise funds for the Leeds hospital where Ben had his surgery.
They have always been very good about all the time that Ben has off.
Ben’s face was a picture and had plenty of smiles for the camera.
Other nominees in this category, sponsored by accountants V&A Bell Brown LLP, were Susi Sadler and Jason Mather.
Examiner Community Awards 2011: Rachael and Neil Salmon win win Services to Charity Award
DEVOTED couple Neil and Rachael Salmon suffered the most terrible personal tragedy yet it inspired them to do so much day in and day out to help others going through the pain of bereavement.
After losing their son three-year-old Joseph to pneumonia in 2005, Neil and Rachael saw that families need far more support during such tragic circumstances.
Joseph’s name continues with the Joseph Salmon Trust to help families who have lost children pay for funeral and related costs.
Since the charity was registered in 2008, it has helped 30 families.
It began in Huddersfield, but then branched out to include Mirfield and earlier this year announced that it would also provide vital support to families throughout Calderdale too.
They have paid out an average of £2,500 to each family – and there is no other charity like it in the UK.
Rachael, 36, said: "Neil works tirelessly to promote the charity which offers financial support to those who have lost a child.
"He works full-time and is a school governor, active member of our local church and is, of course and not least, a father."
She added: "I don’t feel like I do half as much as he does – he’s really the driving force behind it."
Speaking as she collected her award she added: "It is really lovely to be here surrounded by so many people who have done such fantastic work for others. It brought tears to my eyes."
Neil, 34, added: "The charity is growing all the time. We get calls from people around the country asking for help but we have to focus our efforts on supporting local people."
But the last word from the couple on their award success was remembering their late son Joseph.
Rachael said: "He was a normal, lovely little boy but very special to us."
Businesses interested in sponsorship or anyone who wants more information about the charity, should visit www.thejosephsalmontrust.org.uk
Other nominees in this category, sponsored by the Pennine Manor Hotel, were Richard Jackson and The Charity Dreamgirls.