HUNDREDS of people honoured the unsung heroes of Hartlepool’s health sector at an emotional awards ceremony last night.
Tears flowed as emotional tributes and accolades were given to individuals and groups who have changed people’s lives through their determination and dedication.
During the second annual health awards, doctors, nurses, dentists, opticians and hospital teams were honoured, as was one NHS stalwart who has been with the health service for more than 50 years.
The first award of the evening was for GP of The Year and that went to Dr Simon Acey, 46, of Havelock Grange, who was nominated by grateful patients for his “outstanding care and professionalism”.
After collecting his award he told the Mail: “This award was made possible by fantastic team-work. I am really grateful that people took the time to vote for us, it is excellent.”
GP Practice of The Year went to IntraHealth’s Hartfields Medical Centre.
Retaining their title as Team of the Year were the nurses from the Chemotherapy Unit at the University Hospital of Hartlepool.
They were winners in last year’s inaugural awards and the modest, unassuming team again took the honours to massive applause.
As each award was presented the genuine respect and admiration for colleagues could be felt in the room.
The Mail teamed up with NHS Hartlepool and North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust to publicly honour those health workers who make such a difference to people’s lives.
The Best of Health Awards are shaped by the public and Mail readers who were given the chance to nominate those they felt deserved recognition and the response was amazing.
We received hundreds of nominations in numerous categories and such was the response that we extended the shortlists in a number of categories.
At last night’s glittering black-tie event at Hardwick Hall, in Sedgefield, awards were given in 10 categories with three special recognition awards handed out.
The categories took in every aspect of healthcare including doctors, nurses, GP and dental practices, opticians, hospital teams, community workers, carers and those with long service.
Almost 240 healthcare professionals, friends, family and guests attended the evening dinner.
Guest dined to a floral backdrop supplied by Hartlepool company Secret Garden and following the ceremony a relaxed disco was laid on.
The event was compered by acclaimed after-dinner speaker Alan Wright, who entertained guests with a host of anecdotes and a popular heads-and-tails party game which saw the last person standing pick up a bottle of champagne.
There was also a prize of an overnight stay at the plush countryside hotel.
As well as partner sponsors NHS Hartlepool and North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, the event was backed by Hart Biologicals, Hartlepool College of Further Education, IntraHealth and Cleveland Fire Support Network.
The charitable network support service was given a cheque for £2,000 at the end of the evning to help enhance the work it does with fire victims in the community.
Chief executive Heather Whyman said: “It was a fantastic evening in the presence of some fantastic people. Everyone at the venue was a hero and the work they do day-in and day-out is amazing. It is brilliant to be part of a event that celebrates their achievements.
“To be given a donation rounded off what was an excellent evening and we are extremely grateful for the donation.”
NHS Hartlepool chairman Steve Wallace praised the Mail for hosting the prestigious event.
He said: “Hartlepool is a great community and the Mail is the glue that holds it together.
“I would like to thank everyone at the Mail for putting the effort into arranging events like this one.
“It has been a fantastic evening and is a credit both to the newspaper and the medical profession.”