Our unsung heroes recognised for outstanding contributions made across the district

The districts Unsung Heroes had their achievements celebrated at a special event at Wakefield Cathedral.

Thursday, 14th October 2021, 10:28 am
The event was held at Wakefield Cathedral. (@JaJa Photography Ltd)

Organised by the Community Foundation Wakefield District, it recognised the outstanding contributions made by volunteers from across many different organisations.

Of the many nominations received 11 were shortlisted and invited to the awards and their work was showcased through a series of short films.

They were Abbi Jones, Christine Stephenson, Helen Richardson, Dave and Joolz Turner, Karen Stockhill, Louise Menzies, Owen Chen, Penny Moore, Sandra Keighley, Joanna Geary and Michelle Grainger.

eople’s Choice Award winner Michelle Grainger with Jennie Raine, community relations manager Banks Group. (@JaJa Photography Ltd)

At the end of the night two special awards were given.

The Overall Winner, was decided upon by the awards panel and given to Helen Richardson.

Helen is described as a community powerhouse; as well as running Little Legs Playgroup, and founding and running the Hemsworth Food Pantry foodbank, she runs a couple of very active Facebook community groups.

She is also on the committee of Hemsworth Springfield Community Allotment Club and works closely with organisations like Bag Fairies and The Embrace Project to help out struggling local families.

Overall winner Helen Richardson is presented with her award by Craig Shepherd, chair of We are Wakefield. @JaJa Photography Ltd

Helen has also set up a group for all the Wakefield area food banks to coordinate and help each other out when they have shortages or a surplus of food.

Speaking after the event she said: “Thank you so much for a beautiful evening, it really was just amazing.

“I am well and truly overwhelmed at the response I’ve received through comments and messages.

“I feel so privileged to have taken the overall winner when I was up against so many fantastic nominees doing such amazing work”.

The People’s Choice Award, chosen by Express readers was awarded to Michelle Grainger who took almost 25 per cent of the more than 2,000 votes received.

Since 2011, Michelle has raised £94,100 for the Prince of Wales Hospice, in memory of her father.

She organises several annual events in the community to raise money and she has also introduced ‘Star Jars’ which inspires children to fill a jar with loose change; these alone have raised over £10,000.

The event, which was attended by 250 guests, was hosted by television personality Harry Gration.

Compere Harry Gration.

At the end of the evening, the chairman of the Community Foundation, David Dinmore, thanked all those who had made the event possible, including headline sponsors, We are Wakefield, and other local businesses for their sponsorship and donated raffle and auction prizes.