Entries begin to roll in for awards

ENTRIES are already coming in for this year’s Pride of Northumberland awards, and the Morpeth Herald needs your help to find the county’s unsung heroes.

Now in their fourth year, the awards recognise people who have gone beyond the call of duty to help their community – or who inspire family and friends by their bravery.

Nominations can be made in 10 categories, and there are individual, community group and sporting achievement awards.

There are also categories for young people: the Child of Achievement and Child of Courage awards.

One of the first to be nominated this year is 14-year-old Paige Sillet, who has battled through a string of operations to help her to walk.

Paige, from Ashington, was born with hip dysplasia, a painful condition where the hip joints are not properly formed. Her treatment means she has had to spend much of her childhood in plaster from the chest down.

Older sister Sharmaine Atkins, 28, nominated her for the Child of Courage award as a mark of her bravery.

Sharmaine said: “She’s struggled all her life but she’s so brave, she always has a smile on her face.

“Adults would be in such a depression, but she just battles through. She doesn’t focus on the things she can’t do, but she concentrates on the things she can do.”

Top student Paige, who hopes to work with animals when she is older, may have to have another major operation in the autumn to realign her pelvis.

Her mum Yvonne said the Pride of Northumberland nomination will be a big boost for her.

She said: “She will absolutely love it. She doesn’t have a clue she’s been nominated yet. It’ll make her day.”

Other nominations so far include one for Longhirst Hall-based radio station Koast in the Community Group section - a category expected to be hotly contested this year.

The categories for over 16s are: Community Champion, Community Group, Green Champion, Role Model, Fundraiser of the Year, Safer Community, Student of the Year and Sporting Achievement.

The Pride of Northumberland Awards are organised by Northeast Press, publishers of the Morpeth Herald, Northumberland Gazette and News Post Leader, alongside Berwick Advertiser publishers Tweedale Press.

Major sponsors this year are Northumbrian Water, Banks Group, Northumberland County Council and NBSL.

The winners will be revealed in an exciting ceremony at the Alnwick Garden on September 13.

To make a nomination, just fill in the form on the right and return it to the Gazette office, or email lisa.aynsley@northeast-press.co.uk. Nominations close on Friday August 17.

Or enter online at northumberlandgazette.co.uk/community/events-exhibitions