It was an extraordinary night filled with extraordinary people.
The third YorkMix Hero Awards showcased and celebrated incredible folk with inspirational stories to tell.
More than 210 people gathered in the sumptuous surroundings of the Voltigeur Suite at York Racecourse last night, including the Lord Mayor of York Cllr Chris Cullwick and Lady Mayoress, Mrs Joy Cullwick, for a night of tears and cheers.
A raffle raised thousands for the charity of the evening, the York Rescue Boat.
After a delicious three course meal, our special guest star Harriet performed a fantastic live set, ending on her latest single, Heartbreak Holiday.
Twelve honours were given out to York and North Yorkshire heroes, in categories including Neighbour of the Year, The Incredible Child Award and In The Face Of Adversity Award.
And everyone assembled at the ceremony were able to vote for one finalist to be crowned the Ultimate Hero at the end of the night.
The evening was hosted David Green, Laura Castle and Leigh Nicholson, better known to all as the hosts of the YorkMix Radio Breakfast Club.
They said the awards had attracted a record number of entries. So without further ado, let’s meet the winners!
The Best Boss Award
Winners: Jess and Sam Kyei-Yamoah from The Hearing Place
“Jess and Sam treat the whole team as family, are always welcoming of new ideas, feedback and are constantly striving to make the business better for customers and employees alike. They trust us to do our jobs, and treat our team often to pamper sessions and days out just to tell us they appreciate our hard work. Because they treat their team so well, we always want to go the extra mile for them and a win for the business is a win for us all. On a personal note, and Jess and Sam supported me through this the loss of my father last year. I can’t think of better bosses at a time like that and am eternally grateful to them both.”
Nominees: Adam Wardale from Middletons Hotel; Lauren Adinall from No.1 Health and Beauty in Malton
The Outstanding Talent Award
Winner: She Was Walking Home, A Next Door But One project
“This team of women have created a performance that holds true testimony to the real life experiences of women in our community. She Was Walking Home is a series of monologues created from the testimonies of women living, working and studying in York, and explores vital topics such as women’s safety, public spaces, harassment, abuse and reporting of crimes.
“The outstanding talent shown to do this comes in so many forms: in the ability to encourage and support women in the first instance to tell their stories, in the skill and craft to transpose 33 testimonials into a new play, in the empathy and conviction to create this into a touring performance and the unquestionable talent to perform these stories in an authentic and compelling way. The team is now on its third tour of the show, this time engaging young people and young adults in schools, colleges and universities and it is because of this all-female team’s talent that the tour is having the impact it is having.”
Nominees: Nikki Brown, captain of York City Ladies FC; Stephen Tearle, chairman and creative director of York NE Theatre
Sponsor: Cray Bakes
The Environmental Hero of the Year Award
Winner: Will and Christine Durrant
“Will and Christine along with volunteers have transformed the land around where they live in New Earswick. They dedicate their time unpaid to supporting Community Action for Nature. They look after many of the wildlife making sure that they have the right habitats to survive in. At the same time they welcome everyone from all sorts of backgrounds to be part of the group. They are completely inclusive and have teamed up with services to support individuals and families to join them. They have prevented people from becoming isolated and these people now feel connected and part of a welcoming community. New Earswick is a better place because of them.”
Nominees: Millers Fish and Chips; Twenty Two Kicks
Sponsor: Latimer by Clarion Housing Group
The Incredible Child Award
Winner: Isabella Martinez
“Isabella is an exceptional individual who has shown unwavering dedication and commitment to OSCAR’s Paediatric Brain Tumour Charity through her involvement in various activities. Isabella volunteered her time to help produce Booster Boxes to support brain tumour patients and their siblings. In addition to her creative contributions on the boxes, Isabella has actively supported and shopped for items, written heartfelt cards, packed boxes, and personally delivered them to families in need in York. Isabella’s generosity knows no bounds, One of Isabella’s many other noteworthy achievements to is her climbs of Snowdon and Scafell Pike. These challenging endeavours not only demonstrated her physical endurance but also served as opportunities to raise funds and awareness for charitable causes. Additionally, Isabella organised a bake sale at her school, took part in an Inflatable 5k event and used her voice to raise awareness and inspire others to get involved with raising money for charity. She is also captain of Wiggington girls U14s football team that successfully raised a massive £7000 for the charity. She is an inspiration to all.”
Nominees: Mollie Smith; Max Howdle
Sponsor: The Fancy Dance Shop
The New Business of the Year Award
Winner: Sign with Sarah-Jade
“Sarah-Jade is a young mother of two. She herself is deaf, and has recently started her business teaching British Sign Language to groups in Selby and York. She runs 4 week BSL “boot camps” and 10 week BSL courses for adults, one to one tuition and signing sessions for babies and toddlers. She also runs sessions for children at play centres like Lollipop Lane near Selby, and has also run some of the Selby walk for health, signing as attendees walk. This autumn she is teaching her learners how to sign to a song which will be performed in Selby, by the Abbey, in December. She’s truly inspirational! She shares her knowledge of BSL, and both the joys and difficulties that come with being deaf. Sarah-Jade meets all these challenges head on and always with a smile. She has infinite patience and understanding, is kind and thoughtful and brings a positive energy into the room.”
Nominees: Youth Sport Institute; Little Play Dreamers
Sponsor: Taylor’s of Acomb
The Parent or Guardian of the Year Award
Winners: Linda and Paul Gledhill
“Mum got Covid extremely badly and was in hospital from 14th January – 21st March 2021 This was so hard as we were not allowed to visit at all. Mum ended up on a ventilator and we received the horrible call saying they didn’t know if she would survive another 48 hours. But she somehow got that little stronger and made it through. She had to have a tracheotomy and learn to walk again. It has been a massive battle over the last few years but she has not given up. She was determined to get home and made it back on 21st March, my little girl’s birthday to family and friends clapping outside our house. We have adapted our life style and still enjoy as much as we can. Following all of this we have sadly found out this year that my dad has motor neuron disease. He has kept a positive attitude and is trying to keep as much independence as possible. He has gone from walking miles to now needing a zimmer frame and mobility scooter. He gets very tired but still enjoys family time and keeps his dad jokes coming. Mum and dad have had a rough time. They have been married 40 years and are loved very much by family, friends and our community. I Think they deserve the world.”
Nominees: Aston Beatson; Caroline Rhodes
The Outstanding Bravery Award
Winner: Cain North
“At the age of 22, Cain suffered numerous seizures, after undergoing a significant amount of tests and scans, he was diagnosed with a stage 3 growing into stage 4 malignant brain tumour. Cain under went a massive operation to remove as much of the tumour as they could, however it is still continuing to grow. Cain was recovering well and had even gone back to his Job as a personal trainer, until he went for a check up and the doctors told him the tumour had grown a lot quicker than they were expecting and had to undergo another surgery. He was then due treatment to keep the size of the tumours down and has also been told they are growing elsewhere. Since this surgery Cain has been doing fundraisers for Brain Tumour research. He organised a day full of fun, excitement and awareness on the 30th September at the Knavesmire. Never once has Cain been negative about his condition, he has always kept his beaming smile and positive attitude every step of the way whilst supporting other people and this charity.”
Nominees: Izzy Stanton and Bex Bottomley; Nicola Watson
Sponsor: White Rose Finance Group
The Educator of the Year Award
Winner: Laura McFarland
“Now Laura had quite a few nominations from students and parents alike, here are a just a few of those: Miss McFarland helps me when I’m sad. My Grandad died and she even gave me a booklet to draw and write about him, she would always come into classrooms to see if anyone was sad and if they needed a check in. After I see Miss McFarland I always felt better about whatever situation I was in. This Lady was wonderful for my son Jacob who moved to Dringhouses school at the end of year 5. Jacob has ADHD it she was so good with him. My Jacob is unbelievably fond of her and I’m am so thankful.”
Nominees: Chris Kelly; James Varney
Sponsor: York Sport
The Neighbour of the Year Award
Winner: Samantha Ripley
“I have lived next to Sam for 15 years, we always had the odd cuppa but then when Covid hit things changed. I was struggling and reached out if she wanted a bottle of wine in my garden. We chatted until 2am. From then I have gained a lovely friend. Sam has recently lost her mum and had her own struggles but always has that smile on her face and ready to help me when ever. I personally have had a bad few years, nearly losing my mum due to Covid. Then my dad had been in and out of hospital before sadly, passing away in July. Sam has always been free for a cuppa and chat or support when-ever needed. She pops medicine through my door when I’m poorly and even lends the odd tin of tomatoes when I forget, as I’ve had lots on my mind! Through Covid something lovely has come out and I have gained a fantastic caring lovely friend from a next door neighbour.”
Nominees: RJC Plant Services; Vivienne Osbourne
Sponsor: Hayley Owen Funeral Service
The Charity Fundraiser of the Year Award
Winners: Kate Twiddle and Jess Richardson
“Over the last three years, Kate and Jess have amassed a huge portfolio of charitable giving for a wide range of charities, including the Teenage Cancer Trust, Crohn’s & Colitis UK, Andysmanclub, and dementia and parkinson’s awareness. Their list of achievements is so long that we may be here all night reading them out, so please do take a read of the programme where they are listed in their full glory. Beyond their philanthropic endeavours, they generously volunteer at the Newton upon Derwent cafe, embodying the spirit of giving. Their heartwarming friendship, which blossomed through the ‘Con’Fit’dent Fitness‘ class at YorkSports in 2020, stands as a shining example of how, even in the midst of a challenging time like the COVID-19 pandemic, fitness can bring people together. Kate’s personal journey with mental health struggles, which she openly shares on their Instagram, is a testament to the transformative power of exercise. Their dedication extends from charity fundraising to supporting anyone on their fitness journey. Through their weekly personal training sessions at Shapeitfit, which they occasionally share on Instagram, Kate and Jess continue to inspire and uplift others. The remarkable achievements of Kate and Jess in the domains of charity, fitness, and mental health advocacy make them truly exceptional candidates for the title of YorkMix Charity Fundraiser of the Year.”
Nominees: Carol Henk; Jo Jackson
Sponsor: Middletons Hotel
In The Face of Adversity Award
Winner: Louise Prashad
“In 2016, aged only 21, Louise was diagnosed with a rare condition in pregnancy called AFLP – Acute Fatty Liver of Pregnancy. She collapsed, and was rushed to hospital. Unfortunately, Louise and her husband would be told the devastating news that their twin babies, a son and a daughter, no longer had a heartbeat. Louise was also experiencing severe organ failure, and had to undergo an emergency c-section with a 10% survival rate. Against all odds, Louise survived and was placed on the European organ transplant list – which, amazingly, she reaped the benefits of only 8 hours later. After a 14 hour surgery, Louise was in recovery for a month and awoke with no memory of her horrific ordeal. Following from this, she powered through the mental traumas of loss and grief, as well as physical traumas by learning to have control over her body once again. Louise has since ran over 100 races and raised thousands of pounds for Tommys, The British Liver Trust, and NHS Organ donation. She has achieved so much despite being classed as disabled and being told she would never be able to work again. In addition to this, Louise has also given birth to a further two amazing children. She is determined to live every day to the fullest in memory of her son, her daughter, and her wonderful donor, Sarah. For as long as she is on this earth she will continue to inspire, support and make a real difference to the organ donation and child loss community.”
Nominees: Harry Wright; John Venable
Sponsor: MattGray Hospitality
The Ultimate Hero Award
Winner: Cain North
The winner was chosen from all the finalists by a vote from everyone gathered at the awards.