Part 1 of The 2019 Unsung Hero Awards – The Scene is Set!

20th March 2019

On Friday, March 1st 2019, the Unsung Hero Awards celebrated in style at The Hilton, Manchester, with over 350 guests in attendance. 

Guests enjoying a relaxed and social Champagne drinks reception.

We welcomed NHS ‘Unsung Heroes’ and volunteers from Trusts across the UK, including locations as diverse as Borders, Cardiff and Kent. We were also joined by a strong cohort of Senior Management, our fantastic sponsors max20, Cerner, Enovation and Reed and partners Blair ShepherdPannone Corporate and Prestige Flowers; as well as a plethora of inspiring presenters.

Our presenters this year included, Chris Browne (one of the UHA Ambassadors) from Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. Chris was also in attendance last year and helped officially open our nominations back in September at Alder Hey with Antony Cotton from Coronation Street and Antony’s mum Enid Dunn, a 2016 UHA winner. Chris is an inspiration to all and despite his disability will travel many hours to and from Alder Hey each day as a volunteer and also working there as a concierge.  He is always greeted warmly by all those who work with him, including patients.

Chris Browne awarding Katie Claydon the 2019 Apprentice of The Year Award.

Another presenter of note was Marguerita Gallagher from The Christie, who has the unusual, but highly important job of organising weddings for terminally ill patients. Marguerita herself was nominated in 2018 for her role, which she created and has made her own, and it was noted that she really will go “above and beyond” to help those whose last wish is to be wed to the one they love.

Marguerita Gallagher was in attendance on the night and presented the Patients’ Choice Award. Here she is pictured with her colleague back in 2018 at a promotional visit from the UHA to The Christie.

Once our Champagne drinks reception had drawn to a close, and people had sufficiently mingled and enjoyed the close-up card work of our magician, guests were seated so the Awards could begin.

Close up card work from magician Ian Lanvin wowing Apprentice of The Year Nominee Nia Issac and guests.

This year Don Tomlinson, the founder of the UHA, was our compere and his warmth and genuine enjoyment of the night was obvious to all.

Don Tomlinson on stage wecoming attendees to the 2019 Unsung Hero Awards.

As events got underway, we welcomed our first key note speaker to the stage: Amy Overend. Amy is a specialised neonatal intensive care nurse, as well as previously having worked within adult critical care and cancer care. Amy spoke compassionately and with pride when referencing all non-medical members of staff who helped her on her own journey as a nurse in the NHS. Amy also spoke of the non-medical volunteers, who were paramount in assisting in events such as the Grenfell Tower Disaster of 2017, and their involvement in dealing hands-on with the badly affected victims.

Amy Overend during her thoughtful and considerate key note speech.

After our first key note speech ended to a wide round of applause, dinner was served. The room was bathed in comfortable background music and people happily dined on an excellent choice of dishes catering to a wide choice of tastes including vegan. Dinner was taken at a relaxed pace and once guests were suitably “fed and watered” the Awards began!

Guests eagerly awaiting the handing out of the first UHA 2019 trophies.

Please look out for Part 2 next week…