The Only National Awards For Non-Medical / Non-Clinical NHS Staff & Volunteers

The Unsung Hero Awards 2020

20th March 2020
Mandy Bates from Luton and Dunstable University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust winning for Estates & Ancillary 2020

Being a proud supporter of the NHS, including the Non-Medical and Non-Clinical staff behind the scenes and working as the Social Media Intern for the Unsung Hero Awards was a fantastic opportunity and I think we can all agree that this year was a smashing success.

Everything was put in place to make sure the evening was to run smoothly, from the chair bows and place settings, to the running order, NHS Choir and live entertainment. The goal of the event was to give the hard-working and inspirational nominees and other NHS guests a night they deserved, so it was important to get even the minute details, such as the room decorations and gift bags, correct, aiding in a relaxed and memorable evening. We were so pleased with the feedback we received post Awards about the event, particularly regarding our choice of Keynote Speaker, Sir John Timpson, as well as magician Ian Lavin.

Sir John Timpson’s speech touched the whole room and everyone seemed captivated by his words regarding the importance of Management Roles in the NHS and why you should, of course, look after your workers. You can read more about the inspiring work of Sir John Timpson here.

One of the most touching things I recall when talking to the attendees was being told that either they, or someone they know, started their working career in a Timpson’s chain, making the speech by Sir John even more significant.

Sir John Timpson giving his Keynote Speech at the 2020 Awards. 


One thing in particular that made the Sixth Annual Awards Ceremony a success was our theme surrounding Mental Health. This year we had well-known mental health advocate Jake Mills as our MC, who runs the mental health charity, Chasing the Stigma. Jake spoke in more detail about his charity at the end of the night, and emphasised just how important looking after your mental health is, as well as your physical health; highlighting the importance of NHS staff in helping with his own mental health struggles.


2020 Host: Jake Mills


Another feature of this year’s Awards that really caused a “buzz” in the room was our Manchester ‘worker’ Bee, designed by START; the Salford-based Mental Health Charity that uses creative outlets such as art, photography and creative writing and woodwork to help people who may be experiencing mental health difficulties or social exclusion, in the form of creative stimulation.

After months of teasing on social media, our wonderful UHA bee was finally revealed at the Awards, complete with the official UHA colours and an NHS Hospital Theme. The Bee received great traction from attendees, and we were so pleased to support a charity that shows how we can all be our own Unsung Heroes.


The UHA Manchester Bee designed by START in the Hilton Hotel Foyer


There were many tear-jerking and moving moments during the night, particularly the incredible videos of Apprentice of the Year winner Rebecca Carlson and Lifetime Service Award Winner Harry Mercer. Both have shown amazing ‘unsung hero- like’ attributes, gong above and beyond in their roles and making their marks on their Trusts respectively. See Harry’s video below and for more UHA Youtube content in general, visit our official YouTube account. 



The highlight of the night for myself was being able to talk to the inspiring nominees and winners throughout the event. On the run-up to the Awards, from when I first started in November, I got to learn about our Heroes’ stories; the kind of role they do, why they were nominated and it made a big impact in helping me understand why we must recognise the vital workers behind the scenes, as well as on the ‘front-line’.


Me chatting to 2019 winner Alma Stewart and her colleagues at the 2020 drinks reception


Getting the chance to interview these inspirational people like ‘glitzy celebrities’ was a great honour and hearing stories from the winners and nominees, and their nominators stating why they are proud of them, highlighted what the Awards are all about – the people!

While I was running the social media accounts during the night, it was encouraging to see so many attendees use the hashtag #UHA2020 and everybody in their ‘Dress to Impress’ attire. Social media has proven to be a great way for us to keep in touch with our nominees and other guests. Seeing how engaged everybody was that night, uploading selfies and updates about their time at the awards, really showed this to me.

The UHA team are overjoyed at the feedback we received Post-Awards and it was evident on the night that so many of our guests were enjoying themselves, particularly during the Disco and using the Magic Mirror in the main foyer after the Awards had wrapped. Ultimately: the aim of the Unsung Hero Awards is to make sure our Unsung Heroes’ incredible achievements are acknowledged and that everyone had a night to remember. I can say that myself and the UHA team achieved this.

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Lily Harrison, Social Media Intern at Unsung Hero Awards