Incredible young performers were recognised for their achievements at this year’s Best of Hartlepool Awards.
On a night filled with emotion, a packed audience heard the stories of the young stars who have put their town on the map with their talents.
Street dance crew Ruff Diamond Company, led by choreographer Zac Healey, kicked off the night with an incredible routine. And America’s Got Talent star and former Best of Hartlepool Award winner Courtney Hadwin presented the Young Performer of the Year Award to VA Senior Dancers.
The dance troupe from Val Armstrong’s Academy of Performing Arts, based on Whitby Street South, were crowned the winners of the Young Performer of the Year Award after wowing the crowds with a show-stopping performance on the awards night.
This year alone saw the group become three-time world champions in the 2018 Dance World Cup in Spain and win the Barbara Sharples International Choreography Entertainment Express Award.
Proud teacher Hollie Sorelle McCully, who was nominated for a Role Model of the Year Award, said: “I really didn’t expect to get nominated myself but this is even better than that. I train them and they are brilliant.”
Hartlepool Hawks Cheerleading Academy picked up the Sports Team of the Year Award.
They made the country proud after coming home with three gold medals – and 11 medals in all – from the European Cheerleading Championships in Holland in July this year.
Based on Moreland Street, the team is led by head coach Beccii Taylor, who was overwhelmed with the award. She said: “It’s brilliant they have been recognised.”
Hartlepool Hawks star Neisha Webb was also celebrated for her achievements at the awards, picking up the Child of Courage Award. Twelve-year-old Neisha was born with part of one leg missing and last year was fitted with a prosthetic blade.
In June she joined the Hawks and has become a talented cheerleader.
Her mum Liz said: “It’s really good and Neisha’s about to go in for her first cheerleading competitions, with one in Blackpool and one in Manchester.”
Young Performer of the Year nominees Katie Allan and Jay Allan, from Val Armstrong School of Performing Arts, also impressed with their dance performances on the night. While fellow award nominee Libby Cox wowed with her rendition of Hallelujah.
The Best of Hartlepool Awards were sponsored by Hatlepool Sixth Form College, Joel D. Kerr Funeral Directors, Hart Biologicals, NHS Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees Clinical Commissioning Group, Tilly Bailey & Irvine law firm, The Northern School of Art, Utility Alliance, Stagecoach North East, English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College.