Celebrating the best of Ashton

Community spirit is sky high in Ashton after the town came together to celebrate unsung local heroes at the first ever Amazing Ashton Awards.

The ceremony, developed and organised by Ladysmith Shopping Centre, featured eight categories with three shortlisted finalists in each category.

The initiative has been strongly supported by locals, with over 100 people nominating during the course of the summer.

Jackie Moores, principal at Tameside College, was one of the five strong judging panel, which was also made up of Samantha Robinson (Assistant Centre Manager of Ladysmith Shopping Centre), Nigel Skinner (Tameside Reporter editor) Kevin Taylor – (About Tameside founder) and Carol Parker (treasurer of the Ashton Town Team).

Finalists were invited down to attend a glamorous black-tie evening at The Village Hotel in Ashton last Thursday (November 21), which included performances from a range of local talent.

Samantha Robinson, 27, said she was overwhelmed by the support the awards received.

“Ashton is filled with amazing individuals that work hard to make the community a better place and we are proud to put together this awards night to honour those who truly deserve it,” she explained.

“These awards are about celebrating the work people do in our local community to help the lives of their neighbours, friends, family and colleagues better and it’s really touching to see how many people are out there helping others.

"It was wonderful to see so many familiar faces and new faces getting behind this event right from the start, which I can assure will be the first of many events to come.”

As well as recognising the efforts of the community, guests were invited to get involved in helping raise funds for The Believe and Achieve Trust, which was voted Ladysmith’s Charity of the Year.

More than £250 was raised on the night.

Samantha added: “I have been completely overwhelmed with people’s generosity and it just shows what can be achieved when the community comes together.”

The full list of Winners and Highly Commended is as follows:

Charity Fundraiser of the Year, Donna Thomas (50)

“She uses her dogged determination to get people the help they require, she does not judge, she is funny with a great sense of humour, caring and so invested in changing how people perceive those with mental health. She attends meetings to try and get mental health the same funding as other illnesses. I know she doesn't do this alone but without Donna, I know a lot of people would not be living on this planet and living life again without her.”

Community Local Hero, Jonathan Griffiths Barnes (28)

“Jonathan set up a group called Ambitions in 2011. It is a group where people with learning or physical disabilities can go and enjoy themselves in a safe place without feeling anxious or insecure, and without judgement.”

Business of the Year, Lee Brown Hairdressing

“Apart from Lee being a very talented hairdresser who takes his craft very seriously, Lee and his salon offer a welcoming, open and accommodating space in which nothing is too much trouble. The salon uses and sells exclusive hair products and his knowledge of the products, their contents and their use is extensive and impressive.”

Market Trader of the Year, Bunz

“They make a great team and work endlessly all day serving the freshest cakes (try the Manchester Tart, you'll be glad you did) and delicious pies”

Shaping the Future, Infinity Initiatives

“Infinity Initiatives assess the clients’ needs individually and prioritises the issues causing the most harm. Their holistic approach allows for intervention at an early point which will produce better outcomes for users and take the strain off local statutory services.”

Employee of the Year, Sharon Hulmes (Boots)

“Sharon is a lady whose smile matches the size of her heart, it instantly lifts your mood and fills you with joy. Sharon has a passion for charity and only recently she donated £100 worth of Boots items to One Great Day, this is only ONE example of many.”

Carer of the Year, Kings Park Care Home

“Kings Park Care Home goes above and beyond the initial call of duty. With each person, they care for not only do they put the individual first but also the family. For example, a family stayed overnight when a member of their family staying at the home was entering into the end of life care, this gave the family some peace and assurance that they needed in a time that was delicate to them. With dementia, they put in place.”

Spirit of Youth, Harriet Atkinson (18)

“She has a mature and professional approach and takes total responsibility for her own learning. Staff across ALL subjects report that Harriet really is the epitome of the student that is “A pleasure to teach”. She has set her own personal standards of performance and behaviour from the first day and has been an example to those around her.”

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