All the winners on stage from last night's (Thursday) Pride in Harborough awards ceremony at The Three Swans Hotel in Market Harborough. (Picture by Andrew Carpenter)
All the winners on stage from last night's (Thursday) Pride in Harborough awards ceremony at The Three Swans Hotel in Market Harborough. (Picture by Andrew Carpenter)

There was a cracking atmosphere at the seventh annual Pride in Harborough awards ceremony held at The Three Swans Hotel last night (Thursday).

Hosted by the Harborough and Lutterworth Mail, the awards aim to recognise the people who work so hard helping others in the community and to celebrate our special achievers.

“We never cease to be amazed by the stories of bravery, dedication and commitment that make this awards night so special,” said Mail editor and co-host Neil Pickford during the opening address to a packed conference centre suite of more than 110 people.

After a three-course meal provided by the hosts, it was time for the awards to be announced.

Below is a summary of the winners and finalists from last night’s event. See next Thursday’s Mail for a full report and lots of pictures from the event.

Young Achiever of the Year, sponsored by Regent Street Wrought Iron Works and award presented by Mark Hope.

WINNER: Kaitlin Wood, a lead young person volunteer for the Harborough Against Bullying Charity.

Finalists: Young gymnast Andrew Stamp; 15-year-old Oxfam charity shop volunteer Jed Rutherford; Sophie Miles who has turned her life around since being with foster mum Carol; eight-year-old young charity fundraiser Millie Kempster; Tamzyn Clarke of Market Harborough who had become a national kickboxing champion after overcoming weight troubles; and Matthew Chilvers, young tennis player who has represented the East Midlands Special Olympics team.

Raising the Profile of the Town, sponsored by The Angel Hotel and award presented by Darren Barton.

WINNER: Arts Fresco organising committee, who brought the event back to the town’s streets for the first time in four years and brought many thousands of people to the town centre for an event which is now the largest of its kind in the whole of the East Midlands. It really put Harborough on the map.

Finalists: Town dog-walking firm Paws 4 Walking; Harborough branch of Specsavers who helped the Comic relief charity with an amazing ‘strut’ video which has now been viewed more than 24,000 on YouTube; The Ideal Merketing Company for its business and charity efforts; and the Mo’Ket Harborough campaign.

Inspire a Generation, sponsored by The Three Swans Hotel and award presented by Nick Kilmartin.

WINNER: Jed Rutherford, who volunteers at Oxfam and helps train new and old alike.

Finalists: Netball teams co-ordinator Wendy Haywood; Lutterworth charity runner Karen Stanhope; young explorer Alex Woodford; and scouting leader Mike Burden.

Fundraiser of the Year, sponsored by Nomad and award presented by Jacqueline Rumsey.

WINNER: The Mo’Ket Harborough campaign, which last autumn galvanised and cajoled the whole town into supporting Movember UK, creating an amazing series of events and helping to raise over £18,000 for the cause.

Finalists: Specsavers; Harborough Against Bullying supporter Chloe Goode; charity skier Mark Glasscock of Braybrooke; charity volunteer Susan Dilks; and the Harborough Against Bullying charity.

Service with a Smile, sponsored by Adams and Jones estate agents and award presented by Becki Adams.

WINNER: Paws 4 Walking, town dog-walking service whose customers told us they are the ‘ultimate professionals’.

Finalists: Waitrose worker who supports charities Tracey Pickering; The Market Place cafe at Harborough Market; Solutions shop in Harborough; and Danni Foskett of Harborough’s Tesco store.

Excellence in Education, sponsored by Stanair industrial door specialists, and award presented by Simon Barnicoat.

WINNER: Marie Connor, of Harborough Against Bullying, which helps many young people.

Finalists: Hilary Hearnshaw who carried out research into the effectiveness of primary care professionals in primary care diabetes; netball co-ordinator Wendy Haywood; and Lutterworth High School teacher Katy Nichols.

Friendly Neighbour award, sponsored by Seven locks Housing.

WINNER: Anne Stewart, a volunteer in her neighbourhood who encourages residents to integrate at a social club who volunteers selflessly and helps others.

Finalist: Margaret Bullock, who volunteers and helps others in her neighbourhood.

Care in the Community, sponsored by Edward, Hands and Lewis solicitors, and award presented by Harborough branch manager Kate Godber.

WINNER: Home Farm Trust team, which supports people with learning difficulties to integrate into the community.

Finalists: community volunteer Margaret Bullock; Andrew and Kate Cartwright of Great Bowden Recital Trust; Hilary Hearnshaw; and Sandy Handley of Voluntary Action South Leicestershire’s social car scheme.

Community Investment Award, sponsored by Spire Homes and award presented by Derek Doran,

WINNER: Karen Watts, the charity coordinator at Harborough’s Tesco store.

Finalists: Harborough FM; Harborough Athletic Club; Welland Valley Broadband Group; and youth group leader Robert Constable-Maxwell.

Outstanding Example of Bravery, sponsored by Market Harborough Building Society and award presented by Steve Barringer.

WINNER: Motorbike rider Nick Matthews, who survived a 120mph crash and then defied the doctors who said he might not walk again by completing the Berlin Marathon last autumn.

Finalist: Alex Woodford, who won Land Rover’s first Young Explorer contest last year and won a trip to the USA with Bear Grylls!

Unsung Hero or Heroine award, sponsored by CDS Global and award presented by Tom Eldridge and Jav Nabli.

WINNER: Ian Joule, town character and stalwart of some 54 years, a business for many decades who has supported Arts Fresco, theatre, music and the arts and is now the president of Market Harborough Chamber of Trade and Commerce.

Finalists: the Rev John Morley, chairman of the town’s Royal British Legion and the county Legion chaplain; Danni Foskett of Tesco, and neighbourhood volunteer Anne Stewart.

The overall winners’ winner Choice Award, sponsored by Market Harborough Building Society and presented by Mr Barringer.

WINNER: Nick Matthews.

Mail deputy editor Alex Blackwell thanked all the awards sponsors for their crucial help in making the awards happen

Story by Alex Blackwell.

Follow Alex on Twitter