Making A Difference: Worthy recognition for our inspirational readers

The Pride of Hartlepool Awards 2014 winners one and all.
The Pride of Hartlepool Awards 2014 winners one and all.

WE never fail to be amazed by the remarkable achievements of our readers.

Whether it’s a youngster defying the odds to beat illness, kind-hearted fundraisers taking on gruelling efforts for charities or the remarkable work carried out on a daily basis by those in health care - the touching stories feature in the pages of your Hartlepool Mail every day.

The Pride of Hartlepool Awards 2014, held at Hardwick Hall. Zoe Neesam with her Child of Courage award.

The Pride of Hartlepool Awards 2014, held at Hardwick Hall. Zoe Neesam with her Child of Courage award.

So what better way to recognise those achievements than honour the unsung heroes at the various awards evenings organised by the Mail every year.

As part of Local Newspaper Week, running throughout this week, we look back at the awards and the deserved recognition of the talented, dedicated and brave people in the town.

“We never thought in our wildest dreams we would get this award, it makes all of the hard work that we do worthwhile.”

The dedicated members of the Friends of Stranton Cemetery beamed from ear to ear.

Just moments earlier they had been called on to the stage to receive their Green Champion award at the picturesque Hardwick Hall - just one group of deserving winners at this year’s Pride of Hartlepool awards.

“It’s fantastic to get an award like this,” said one of the hardworking volunteers Jackie Reed.

From laughter to tears. This year’s Pride awards evening conjured up every emotion.

But it was an honour for the Mail to once again reward the truly worthy at the town at the event, to congratulate the community for their outstanding achievements throughout the last 12 months.

Caring policeman Sgt Dave Halliday, hardworking student Aarthi Suresh, lifesaving Mary Readman, talented youngster Ali Rasul - just some of the those who were honoured for their achievements.

And then of course there was Aaron Collins, the young man who brought the room to a standing applause as those in attendance heard how he bravely saved the lives of 100 soldiers after a suicide car bomber drove into an Army compound in Afghanistan.

There’s still the chance to watch a video interview with all of the award winners online at

As part of Local Newspaper Week, the Mail’s Callum’s Dream was voted as one of the best 30 editorial campaigns in the UK, which readers have been voting on throughout this week.

Callum was one of four inspirational Children of Courage at this year’s Pride event and his parents, Zoe Neesam and Luke Smith, proudly show off the award in Callum’s specialist sensory room, paid for by the incredibly generous residents in Hartlepool.

“I was amazed when I collected the trophy,” said his proud mum Zoe, 21.

“I was just so proud of Callum, he amazes us every day.”

From one group of worthy nominees and award winners to another.

Nominations are coming in thick and fast recognising the work of our health care heroes ahead of this year’s Best of Health awards.

Take a look at page 31 in today’s paper for the latest.

And later this year we will once again be congratulating the depth of sporting talent in the town at the Hartlepool Mail sports awards.

Last year’s sports awards slogan read: “Everyday people...outstanding talent.”

The same can be said of every single nominee and winner at all of the Mail’s glittering awards events.