It was a night of music, laughter and so many inspirational stories.
Two hundred people gathered at the Principal Hotel for the second YorkMix Hero Awards, championing those who go that extra mile to make life better for others.
Thirteen honours were given out to York and North Yorkshire heroes, in categories including The Outstanding Bravery Award, The Incredible Child Award and Charitable Person of the Year.
An incredible night began with a stunning live set by the winner of The Voice 2022, Anthonia Edwards.
Then, after a sumptuous meal, it was time to find out who had won.
Once again, the evening was hosted by Ben Fry and Laura Castle of the YorkMix Radio Breakfast Show.
They told the gathering that the finalists had been whittled down from countless entries from across York and North Yorkshire.
So without further ado, let’s meet the winners! And remember, the final two awards were chosen by you in a public vote.
The Best Boss Award
Winner: Olivia Cole
Finalists: Holly Hennell, Robert Haythorn
Olivia ‘Liv’ Cole is the performance manager of York Dungeon, and was appointed to the position during the summer of 2021. In that time Liv has “galvanised, nurtured, and cared for her team” of up to 35 actors.
During her time at York Dungeon, Liv has written and launched three brand new shows for the attraction, and supports her teams’ personal lives outside of rehearsal – offering confidential advice and care for her team as a qualified mental health first aider.
The Environmental Hero Award
Winner: York Gin
Finalists: Angela Bare, Cat Wood
Sponsored by: The Orchid Vegan
Award-winning York Gin take their responsibilities very seriously – to the planet, to their people and partners, and to their community. From day one, they have run on 100% renewable electricity.
All bottles, labels and packaging are 100% plastic free and made sustainably in Yorkshire.
The new bottles launched in summer 2021 are made by Allied Glass in Leeds – with 20% less glass than the previous bottles.
The New Business of the Year Award
Winner: Iris Graphics
Finalists: Craybakes, The Painting Pot Selby
Sponsored by: DBD Cleaning
Iris Graphics was founded by Eirini, a graphic designer and vehicle wrapper, in July when she decided to start a home based business after the company she used to work for closed permanently. Someone who nominated her said “She started from zero, in a market with great competition with other larger companies in York.
“I admire her for the courage she had to start a new business in these difficult times and how stubborn she is to make it work.”
The Fundraiser of the Year Award
Winner: Julie Blackburn
Finalists: Alex Lloyd, Hayley Patrick-Copeland
Sponsored by: Middletons Hotel
In June 2022, Julie staged the variety show ‘The Sunshine and Happiness Show’ at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre to raise money for Cancer Research UK. It included songs from musicals, comedy sketches, magic and juggling and more.
The show was originally planned for 2020 but had to be postponed due to Covid-19. With no budget for the show, there were lots of fundraising events beforehand such as quiz nights and tombolas.
Someone who nominated her said, “The shows were brilliant, there was something for everyone and they really brought the community together.”
In total the profits were £10,150 and were donated to Cancer Research UK Relay for Life and St Leonard’s Hospice at Home Carers. Seven years ago, Julie sadly discovered she had breast cancer which developed into stage four cancer.
The Outstanding Bravery Award
Winner: Steve Watson
Finalists: Jody Dossett, Katy Tasker
Sponsored by: Mulgrave Properties
“He is our family rock,” said one person who nominated Steve Watson. Steve has unfortunately had three very close family members battle with cancer, and has took it all in his stride and put on a brave face. “We want him to know he is very much appreciated and we love him so very much.”
The Outstanding Talent Award
Winner: Harvey Stevens
Finalists: Steve Bullen, Anne Lewis
Sponsored by: York Mumbler
Harvey Stevens, 13, is passionate about dancing. One person who nominated him said that “Harvey is one of a kind, he is totally dedicated to dancing, his biggest passion being ballet.”
He has been diagnosed with both autism and ADHD, and has dealt with school bullies but “his passion and love for ballet has overcome it all.”
The Inspirational Educator Award
Winner: North Yorkshire Outdoor Learning Services at Bewerley Park
Finalists: Nik Briggs and the York Stage Team, Sarah Colestead at Spotlight Dance Academy
Sponsored by: York Sport
Someone who nominated the North Yorkshire Outdoor Learning Services said that the “centre not only cater for many of the schools in the region but what makes them outstanding is their commitment to support every child and adult that steps foot through the gates.
“Every child matters runs through their ethos.”
The centre runs projects such as providing a safe space for girls in year 7 who aren’t enjoying PE at school to talk about the barriers they face and to try new activities.
The Incredible Child Award
Winner: Cola Biddlestone
Finalists: Lenny Barlow, Rose Dearnley
Sponsored by: Fancy Dance Shop
Cola Biddlestone, 11, has a rare chromosome deletion, is moderately deaf and has ADHD. She has recently been registered as a young carer for her younger sister, and helps to dress her, has learnt how to tube feed her and knows what to do if she has a seizure.
“Every day can be a struggle for her as school is not always the easiest place to be,” said one person who nominated her. “We’re so proud of all she does despite her own challenges.”
The Neighbour and Community Award
Winner: Selby Community Fridge
Finalists: York Inspirational Kids, Ryan Swain
Sponsored by: Hayley Owen Funeral Directors
The community fridge is a brilliantly simple idea. They take unused food from supermarkets and give it away. The fridge also accepts any donations from members of the public.
“We’re all about helping each other out. If you have any food that you no longer need or just wish to give away we’re more than happy to take that off your hands and help out someone else.”
The ‘In the Face of Adversity’ Award
Winner: Tammy Banks
Finalists: The Millie Wright Charity, Jo and Rich Cadden
Sponsored by: Selby Superbowl
After facing a “complex childhood”, abuse, and homelessness, Tammy Banks made it her life mission to interrupt the generational cycle of harm and abuse. Among a range of accomplishments, she is the co-founder of Tave Training – who offer training, coaching and consultancy work to front-line professionals on issues such as safeguarding, equality and diversity, and managing challenging behaviour.
Someone who nominated her said, “She has provided me with more hope and belief in myself than I have encountered from anyone in my 14 years of working life. Working alongside such a wonderful, inspirational and kind person is a massive privilege.”
The Business Hero Award
Winner: Lauren Addinall – No.1 Health & Beauty
Finalists: Keith Morris – York Sport, Debbie Brodie and Frankie Hayes – Fancy Dance Shop
Sponsored by: Latimer by Clarion Housing Group
Lauren Addinall owns an award-winning beauty salon and “never actually takes a day off.
“She will do anything for anybody no matter what, and is strong, independent and hardworking.”
The People’s Choice Award for Charity Event of the Year
Winner: Macmillan Hopes and Dreams Ball
Finalists: Yorkshire Balloon Fiesta, Live 4 St Leonard’s
Sponsored by: Principal York
The Macmillan Hopes and Dreams Ball has raised tens of thousands of pounds for the cancer charity.
Matt Ascough, from Malton, is in the sixth year of organising the ball. He fundraises for Macmillan following the support he had from the charity eight years ago.
In 2013 Matt, then aged 26, was diagnosed with testicular cancer and was supported by a Macmillan nurse in the weeks after his diagnosis and surgery.
The People’s Choice Award for Charitable Person of the Year
Winner: Ian Donaghy aka ‘Big Ian’
Finalists: Dave Brown – Snappy Trust, Natalie Needham
Sponsored by: Yorkshire Profiles
Tireless fundraiser and the frontman of York party band Huge, Big Ian is the driving force behind A Night To Remember.
The charity concert fills the York Barbican every year, raising huge sums for good causes across the city and beyond. This year’s event was held on the night of the Queen’s death, and Ian paid a fulsome tribute to Her Majesty before ensuring the show would go on.
A big thank you to all our awards sponsors.