VIDEO: Our Hartlepool health heroes

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THE very best in Hartlepool health heroes have been honoured.

And on an emotional night, the winners of Hartlepool’s Best of Health awards collected trophies for their hard work and dedication.

Scores of people enjoyed a glitzy evening at the Hardwick Hall Hotel in Sedgefield where a three-course meal was followed by the nerve-wracking wait for the announcement of the winners.

Stunned victors in categories such as GP of the Year, Carer of the Year, and Long term Achievement came forward to accept their honours.

The highlights included Cath Siddle who collected a long term achievement award for her 40 years in the health service.

The Chemotherapy/Haematology Day Unit, based at the University Hospital of Hartlepool, lifted the team of the year trophy for the fourth year running while the Chadwick Practice won GP Practice of the Year.

Neil Gilhespie was dentist of the year and Ross Hutcheson the top optometrist.

The full list of winners is attached. The finals night was the culmination of a competition which started two months ago.

We asked people willing to nominate unsung heroes in the health world. By the closing date, we had 150 nominations from 300 people.

But as well as handing out trophies, there was poignancy.

The Hartlepool Mail provided a cheque for £1,000 to the chemotherapy day unit, in memory of the paper’s head of news, Paul Watson, who died in November last year aged 50.

Paul was a good friend of the staff at the unit who are converting a room there, into a dedicated area for patients to chat to staff – complete with new decoration and blinds.

It will carry a plaque on the door saying “In memory of Paul Watson from the Hartlepool Mail and a good friend to the chemotherapy unit.”

The staff came to the stage to accept the honour and afterwards, chemotherapy nurse specialist Rosie Livingston said; “Paul was a good friend. We think the room is a fitting tribute to him.”

This year’s awards were backed by NHS Hartlepool, the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, IntraHealth, Seneca Homes, and the Cleveland Fire Support Network.

l Watch out for more coverage of the event in a 12-page supplement in the Hartlepool Mail next Wednesday.