A SOUTH Tyneside arts centre chief says he is humbled after being nominated for an award for his lifetime achievements.
Ray Spencer, executive director of the Customs House in South Shields, is in the running for a What’s On Where award.
He told the Gazette: “I am amazed, and I am humbled.
“With all of the cultural heritage that we have in the North East, it is unbelievable to have been nominated for an award.”
Mr Spencer, also well known as children’s entertainer Tommy the Trumpeter, has enjoyed considerable success over the years.
He was made an MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list in June 2010.
His career started with an appearance at the age of three on Tyne Tees’ One o’Clock Show half a century ago.
His first appearance on stage came two years later in a school nativity play.
He later became a stalwart with the Westovian Theatre Society and spent 15 years as a performing arts lecturer at South Tyneside College, before taking charge at the Customs House in 2000.
His nomination says: “Ray has worked tirelessly for years at the Customs House to bring arts and entertainment for all, from stage performances to cinema screenings.
“He works with more than 120 schools delivering arts awards, arts marks and offering educational resources.
“He provides a platform for young talent to write, produce and perform in front of packed houses and support community groups to learn new skills and develop existing ones.
“Ray is also a very talented performer, and his panto performances are legendary. Ray deserves this award for all of the hard work that he has contributed over many years.”
Ray said: “When there are so many people and so much significant work being done across our region, it is lovely to be considered for an award.”
The awards are held in association with our weekly entertainments guide, Wow 24/7, and aim to reward the elite in everything from restaurants to children’s venues, takeaways to parks and community areas, and hotels to the best shopping experience.
We want you to nominate your favourites in each of the categories listed on this page. The deadline for entries is Thursday, February 5.
•Enter your nominations here