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Two Hartlepool councillors have been shortlisted for prestigious national awards

Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher.
Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher.

Hartlepool Borough Council's leader Christopher Akers-Belcher and a fellow councillor Stephen Thomas have been nominated for accolades.

Coun Akers-Belcher has been nominated for Leader of the Year award and Coun Stephen Thomas in the Health and Social Care category at the 2018 Councillor Achievement Awards.

Coun Stephen Thomas.

Coun Stephen Thomas.

As well as being council leader, Coun Akers-Belcher is also chairman of the Finance and Policy Committee, and Coun Thomas, is chairman of the Adult Services Committee and development officer at independent consumer group Healthwatch Hartlepool.

The annual awards are the only national ceremony to honour the hard work of councillors from across the country that often goes unrecognised.

The awards are run by the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU), which is a think tank and membership body with 200 councils subscribing, and the CCLA, which has a 50 year heritage of managing funds for local authorities and has recently launched the Public Sector Deposit Fund.

With nearly 200 nominations, the organisers say competition was extremely tight this year.

Some of the nine categories up for grabs include Leader of the Year, Young Councillor of the Year and Community Champion.

Winners will be announced at the Awards Ceremony, which takes place on Tuesday, November 6, at the London Guildhall.

The winners will be selected by a group of judges made up of local government experts and councillors.

Jonathan Carr-West, chief executive, LGiU said: “We received nearly 200 nominations for the 2018 Councillor Achievement Awards, so it’s a huge achievement to be shortlisted.

"The shortlisted councillors went above and beyond the call of duty in 2018, making a real difference to their residents.”

The full line-up in the Leader of the Year category is:

* Coun Darren Rodwell – Barking and Dagenham;

* Coun Adam Paynter – Cornwall;

* Coun Linda Haysey – East Herts;

* Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher – Hartlepool;

* Coun Janet Walton – Poole;

* Coun Roger Lawrence – Wolverhampton.

The Health and Care category line-up is:

* Coun Aneela Ahmed – Bradford;

* Coun Stephen Thomas – Hartlepool;

* Coun Clare Mosdell – Isle of Wight;

* Coun Michelle Lowe – Sevenoaks;

* Coun Marlene Quinn – St Helens.