THE finalists have been chosen for the Pride of Hartlepool awards – but it was a tough challenge for the judges who took more than two and a half hours of deliberation.
The standard of entries in this year’s competition was so high, it proved an almost impossible task for the panel of three.
But at the end of it all, and after being left close to tears at some of the heart-warming entries, the shortlisted entrants in each category was confirmed by Joy Yates, Frank Antropik and Steve Bell.
Their names will be revealed in the coming weeks but each of the judging panel admitted they’d found it difficult to narrow down such a worthy list.
Now, there’s only a matter of just over two weeks to wait for the entrants to find out if they will be lifting a trophy at the spectacular finale.
Frank Antropik, the managing director of the Niramax Group, described the judging process.
He said: “It was challenging. Every nominee in its own right deserved to win.”
Steve Bell, the land and development director for Gus Robinson Developments, said: “It is really difficult to single out anyone. Throughout the categories, everyone is outstanding.
“It really brings to your attention that there is lots of good work that is going on in the community and so many people out there who are willing to make personal sacrifices for the benefit of others.”
Hartlepool Mail editor Joy Yates said: “Pride of Hartlepool judging is always a humbling experience and it is an honour to read about the amazing charitable work and kind-hearted gestures of people and organisations in our town.”
She praised the “courage, tenacity, determination and community spirited attributes of our readers” and said all of them continued to amaze with their endeavours.
Joy added: “Every single nominee is a worthy winner and should be very proud to have been included in the competition.
“I really look forward to celebrating the achievement of all these incredible people.”
Nearly 70 people were nominated in this year’s competition with hundreds of people putting names forward. In fact, some entrants received dozens of nominations each - such was the impression they had made on the public.
The next stage is the grand finale.
The winners will be revealed in a ceremony at the Hardwick Hall Hotel, in Sedgefield, on Thursday, April 24.
Winners will be unveiled in the categories which consist of Sporting Achievement; Community Group; Community Champion; Student of the Year; Fundraiser of the Year; Child of Courage; Local Hero; Green Champion; Emergency Services; and Young Performer of the Year.