BEST OF NORTHUMBERLAND AWARDS: Inspirational Stu Ridley honoured

Paul Larkin, of Johnston Press, presented the Judges Award to Stu Ridley's mum and friend, on behalf of Stu who died in July. 'Picture by Jane Coltman
Paul Larkin, of Johnston Press, presented the Judges Award to Stu Ridley's mum and friend, on behalf of Stu who died in July. 'Picture by Jane Coltman
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A brave farmer, who lost his battle with cancer in the summer after inspiring a huge fund-raising campaign, was given special recognition at last night’s Best of Northumberland Awards.

Stu Ridley died in July after a five-month fight against an inoperable brain tumour. The 25-year-old fronted the Stay Strong Stu campaign, which had raised more than £200,000 for charity at the time of his death and gained the support of celebrities including Jonny Wilkinson, Colin Jackson and Zoe Ball.

Stu Ridley playing the sport he loved.

Stu Ridley playing the sport he loved.

His determination and courage touched the hearts of many and in a poignant end to yesterday’s ceremony at Linden Hall, Longhorsley, Stu was honoured with a special Judges Award.

After accepting the prize, his mother Celia gave an emotional and tearful speech. She said: “We are so proud of our son. He achieved so much in those last few months of his life and I don’t know how he stayed so strong. The support we have had has been overwhelming and it has helped enormously.”

The audience came together in a standing ovation to honour inspirational Stu, who has left behind a huge legacy.

Stu was a rugby player for Tynedale and lived near to Wark.

SEE NEXT THURSDAY’S PAPER FOR REPORT AND PICTURE SPECIAL FROM THE BEST OF NORTHUMBERLAND AWARDS