NELSON has again honoured those who make a major contribution to the town.
And despite poor weather, lots of people turned up at the ACE Centre for the third awards ceremony on Saturday.
The Pride of Nelson Awards are organised by Nelson Town Council.
The host for the evening was Vaughan Jones from Pendle Council, who is a regular figure at events in Nelson.
And he got a shock – he was announced as one of the top award winners!
He took the Chairperson’s Award for Outstanding Achievement.
It was presented to him by Coun. Eileen Ansar, who chairs the town council.
There were lots of other wins, including seven-year-old Rafe Morley from Nelson, who had been badly affected by a blood vessel disease and was in danger of having his leg amputated, but hasn’t.
At the start, Vaughan Jones introduced the Mayor of Pendle, Coun. Asjad Mahmood who said: “It is an honour and a privilege to be here tonight for the Pride of Nelson Awards.”
He felt there had been a tremendous response to the nomination requests, with 72 nominations involving 53 people, and he predicted an excellent evening. “I feel so privileged, humble and proud to be here tonight,” he said.
Vaughan praised the Nelson Leader for publishing the nomination forms and then announced the winners. Members of the council shared the opportunity to present awards to winners.
There were lots of nominations for the Adult Volunteer class, and it was divided into individual and group winners.
Mohammed Bashir, nominated by Coun. Sajid Ali, took the solo award for being an active member of various organisations, including the Ithaad Advisory Service funeral committee, supporting all communities.
And group winners were Karen Tyrer and Graham Williams, nominated by R. Hannah, for great work in the Nelson community including setting up a Beavers and Cubs group and doing a lot of charity work.
Next came the Young Volunteer Award, and there were two joint winners. Mudassar Ali was nominated by Coun. Ali for giving plenty of time to local charities and organisations, including fund-raising for charities.
And Liam Roseden (16) was nominated by Coun. Yvonne Tennant for taking part in Fusion Community Arts theatre group since he was eight, overcoming dyspraxia and showing commitment to arts for young people in the area.
The Outstanding Role Model was the Rev. James Booth from Southfield Area Residents’ Association. He was nominated by Coun. Sheila Wicks for working very hard with the group which aims to better the lives Southfield residents.
Another joint award came in the Outstanding Young Person category. Hafiz Sanwal from Pendle Pothwari Society was put forward by Imran Mohammed for promoting traditional Pothwari poetry as a volunteer. And Katy Moody was nominated by Coun. Tennant for outstanding volunteer help with Fusion Community Arts – commitment, dedication, practicality and caring nature.
The Social Inclusion award went to Susan Levy from St John Ambulance’s Nelson and Brierfield Unit.
She was put forward by Glenda Johnson. Susan has been involved with the organisation for almost 45 years. She has done lots of first aid duties and is a officer in charge of cadets, teaching them first aid.
The Sporting Hero award was won by Rehan Butt, nominated by Lancashire County and Pendle councillor Mohammed Iqbal. He has single-handed managed the Whitefield Cricket Club in a deprived area of Nelson.
And Excellence in Education went to Hafiz Khalid Mehmood (nom: Coun. Iqbal) who has led the town’s main mosque for eight years and inspires people through inter-faith and cross-community work, aiming to make Nelson “one community”.
The Helping and Caring for Others section included both individual and team awards.
The group title went to Mrs M. F. Bhat and her team of workers at the Disabled Asian Women’s Family Centre, put forward by Coun. Mike Landriau for the “love and care” work they have carried out since 1999.
And the solo winner was Haji Rahmat Khan. He was nominated by Coun. Mohammed Aslam for representing the Faith Group, working with all communities and helping all in good and challenging times – weddings, funerals and community events.
Then came the business awards.
The New Start Business title went to two starters - Mayfair Associates (nom: Mohammed Ansar) on Scotland Road, and Chocstop (nom: Shawahid Iqbal) at Pendle Rise in the town centre.
The Business Commitment to the Community title went to Dr Malik’s Surgery.
Sadly, Dr Ikram Malik died in September having suffered brain injuries in a road accident, and his wife Dr Raisa Malik had retired earlier in the year. The surgery was nominated by Imran Aslam for the doctors’ “above and beyond” contribution to promoting health and wellbeing, community services and aspirations.
The Service with a Smile title went to Ice Lounge, nominated by Abid Hussain, for catering for all ages and all tastes and creating tasty ice creams and milk shakes.
Lee Collins from the Hillendale Group took the name Businessman of the Year.
Coun. Eileen Ansar proposed him for the title, thanks to his working tirelessly to protect the livelihoods of their employees, heavy investment in Nelson and raising funds for Macmillan Cancer Support, dog rescue and The Frost Foundation, which works on children’s illnesses.
The Small Business of the Year was won by Asam Hussain of Marsden Newsagents – nominated by Mohammed Ikram for providing a business meeting local needs and giving personal services to vulnerable, elderly and unwell people.
And Large Business of the Year was Protec Fire Detection (nom: Azeem Khan) who have been in Nelson for a long time and is one of the biggest employers “flying the flag for Nelson”.
Then Coun. Ansar named her choices.
The first was her award winner Vaughan. She praised the huge amount of work he has done with Pendle Council but said it was “a great shame and sadness” that he was about to leave the council.
A rather surprised Vaughan said: “When you host the awards, you don’t expect to get something yourself.” But he added: “The people of Pendle still remain in enormous fun - we live in a great town!”
Coun. Ansar then named Rafe Morley for her Child of Courage Award after his illness, presenting him a trophy but also a remote control car.
She thanked the Mayor and Mayoress, town councillors and the ACE staff for making it a great night and regarding the nominees she said: “Some may not have got a prize tonight but in my view they are still winners!”