Now in its ninth year, the HullLive Heart of East Yorkshire Awards 2021 will be adding more inspirational stories to its long list of local legends. With such a difficult year behind us, East Yorkshire's book of unsung heroes is bursting at the seams as more and more showed their remarkable courage in the face of adversity.

The night of Tuesday, April 27 will be dedicated to the ordinary people with an extraordinary passion for the residents of our region: our community champions.

This year's event, headline sponsored by Trident, will take place virtually via The Awards Room. The pioneering streaming platform will ensure that the ceremony is just as special as always and will allow us all to congratulate the finalists and winners on other 'tables' using its ingenious chat feature. Tickets are completely free of charge so that everyone can attend the awards and show their support, all while remaining safe at home.

The Heart of East Yorkshire Awards showcase the dedication and generosity of those in our local community. By attending the Awards, we can all appreciate the hard work that these phenomenal heroes put in for no personal profit. A nomination or a win affects more than just the individual or organisation, instead encouraging the family, friends and whole community that supports them.

2019's Parent/Guardian of the Year winner, Elyse McLeod, was overwhelmed and thankful for the nomination, let alone her triumphant win. Receiving the award gave joy to more than just Elyse, it spread happiness to the sons she selflessly cared for everyday: "I think my sons will be proud, Tyler will be really excited to hear about it and Euan will be really pleased to look at his picture on the award."

We have curated 10 categories this year that are specifically designed to celebrate each and every inspiring story of our region. Through your wealth of nominations, we have 28 exceptional finalists who are the beating heart of East Yorkshire and deserve recognition for their contributions to our community.

Here are some of this year's finalists and their incredible stories:

Inspiring Youngster of the Year Sponsored by Hull College Group

There are thousands of terrific youngsters out there, but this category celebrates the role models, aged 16 or under, who deserves special recognition. This could be someone who has made a contribution to their community, taken steps to support important causes or fundraising for charities.

Maddison Johnson

When Maddi's family decided to permanently foster their young relative, to avoid him from being taken for adoption, she took all the social worker visits in her stride, was very helpful and treated the little boy as if he were her own brother. Further to this, Maddi helps out at the Hull Sunday soup kitchen.

Scarlett Johnson

With two brothers, one who needs extra support and a poorly grandparent at home, nine-year-old Scarlett goes above and beyond to help. When her grandparent took a turn for the worse, Scarlett’s quick thinking helped her mum deal with the situation, calmly reassuring her mother and getting both of her brother's ready for school.

Thomas Riley

Thomas suffers from a rare neurological condition called Friedreich's Ataxia, as well as suffering from Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. Despite all these challenges, his sunny disposition and positive outlook on life bring nothing but joy to those around him. Inspired by Sir Tom, Thomas raised more than £7,600 by walking/wheeling a mile a day in February, the physical equivalent to what would be a marathon to an able-bodied person.

Key Worker of the Year

It’s time to show appreciation for the key workers within our community. Some have risked their lives, others have kept the wheels of industry turning. This category spans over all sectors, including the communication sector, public safety, transport, food production, education, health and social care.

East Yorkshire Buses

Bus drivers have always been the unsung heroes of the community, quietly going on with their work to allow the rest of us to get around. Not satisfied with just helping their local community, volunteers from the company travelled to London during the pandemic to drive the buses in the capital during the height of the virus.

Jamie Pallant

Jamie is a full-time carer for his mother, who suffers from fibromyalgia, chronic depression and panic attacks where she loses the ability to speak. As well as this, Jamie works 12-hour shifts packing Covid-19 vaccine vials to help during the pandemic.

Lee Hill

Faced with lockdown, headteacher Lee dedicated time to ensuring the wellbeing of his pupils was met: organising remote learning packs; securing technology for students without; and organising free school meal vouchers and food hampers, delivering them personally to maintain contact with families. Further to this, he rejuvenated the school library and arranged a Christmas event to bring the pupils together.

Lee Hill
Lee Hill
Nick Smith

Nick is the beloved postman for Walkington, delivering not only the post, but a wonderful smile and a wave. He takes his time to talk to those who may need that little extra, especially the elderly, vulnerable and those isolated during the pandemic.

Business in the Community Award

This award highlights an exceptional case of a company making a real contribution to their local community. We're celebrating those amazing businesses that are reaching out and helping others in times of need.

East Yorkshire Buses

East Yorkshire Buses is committed to supporting the local community in a number of ways: it introduced new Flexi5 tickets to suit lockdown, entertained those at home with the Bus Academy, holds Chatty Bus events to raise awareness of social isolation and support the ‘It’s Everyone’s Journey' campaign to help disabled people travel safely. East Yorkshire Buses also supports local schools, providing decommissioned buses for additional learning space.

East Yorkshire Buses
East Yorkshire Buses
Pulse Rate Group

Despite difficult challenges in his life, Jon Hilton continues to build a great business reputation and gives back to his community through Pulse Rate. He has set up #StayLegalSaveLives and the ‘School Life Saver' project to provide free first aid to schools. He is a board member for Great Britain Disability Boxing, secured Hull as the home for the future Paralympic GB boxing team, sought supply chains for PPE and has provided Covid-19 risk assessments to businesses to help them get back to work.

The Godber Theatre Foundation

The Godber Theatre Foundation provides commitment and support to young people through drama and theatre arts studies. Alongside mentorship and more career-focused exercises, the programme provides financial aid, mental health support and social events. Also, in the battle against technology poverty among members, the Foundation contacted specific charities and benefactors in order to secure new equipment.

Parent/Guardian of the Year

Dedicated to those looking after the future generation, this award is for the parents who, despite their own challenges, always put their children first. The winner could be a parent who selflessly gives up their lifestyle to care for their child, or a guardian who dedicates their time to fostering children.

Angela Kell

Giving up her job to be a full-time carer for her 19-year-old daughter, Angela supports her child who struggles with independence, making friends and engaging with people. Not only is she her mother and carer, but she is also her best friend and counsellor.

Angela Kell
Angela Kell
Caroline Cook

Caroline not only provides full-time care for one of her children, she campaigned to get PIP support and to register them as disabled, as well as spending hours searching online for further information regarding the changeable condition to help her family adapt.

Joanne Hamlet

Joanne Hamlet fostered 23 children and adopted one prior to having her own children. Over the last few years, Joanne has overcome a number of challenges: caring for her mother and husband who she sadly lost, coping when her family became homeless and home-schooling her children, one with severe autism and one with a brain injury.

Martin Tomlinson

Martin is the full-time carer to his 13-year-old daughter Carmel, who has severe special needs. Martin himself has worked tirelessly redesigning their whole house to make it completely safe for Carmel, while supporting his children with appointments, sport meets, school meetings, therapy and health appointments. Alongside his wife, he runs a SEN group to support over 700 members.

Courageous Child of the Year

The recipient of this award will be a youngster, aged 16 or under, who has shown outstanding bravery and courage, which may range from a single heroic act through to battling against disability, illness or adversity.

Ariana Fewster

Ariana was diagnosed with leukaemia at the age of just one. After being terrified of doctors and nurses to begin with, she now lets the nurses take her blood and give her chemotherapy. Despite losing her hair and being unable to walk or play, she fought to learn how to walk again and is now looking forward to starting nursery.

Ariana Fewster
Ariana Fewster
Kieran Upfold

Kieran was sadly diagnosed with cancer and has been in hospital since his diagnosis in January. Despite suffering from autism and enduring some extremely aggressive chemotherapy for his rare form of leukaemia, Kieran has persevered and fought all the way. Unable to eat and speak, Kieran has lost both his hair and a considerable amount of weight but keeps fighting every day.

Max Clark

Max was having a picnic in the park with his family when he was unfortunately hit by a motorbike, resulting in him losing the lower part of his left leg. Max powered through with tremendous courage and tried to get back to normality. He has tried to keep positive, embracing the changes by describing his new wheelchair as awesome, trying to do stretches in the gym and getting back to playing with his siblings.

Max Clark
Max Clark

Community Sports Award Sponsored by Hull Culture and Leisure

This award will recognise an outstanding example of an unsung hero in the field of amateur or junior sport. It could be an individual or a club who has risen to the recent challenges and come up with an ingenious way to make sure that players are still engaged in the club and in sport throughout the pandemic.

Kingswood Knights ARLFC

Created in December 2020, Kingswood Knights ARLFC changed its agenda to prioritise helping the community when the third national lockdown was announced. The club provided a shopping service for the vulnerable and shielding, collected donations and delivered weekly to the Trussell Trust Foodbank, as well as collecting over 700 Easter eggs and distributing to local key workers to spread some joy. Following the latest lockdown easing, Kingswood Knights ARLFC has now held its first training sessions.

Michelle Hatton School of Dance

Determined to continue inspiring and teaching the pupils at her dance school, Michelle invested heavily in equipment to allow her to continue lessons over Zoom, even amending her timetables and making the sessions free of charge. Michelle set daily challenges on social media and uploaded demonstrations to her YouTube channel to keep the pupils involved, even arranging for pupils' own footage to be edited together to create a show.

Charity Champion of the Year

Our Charity Champion will highlight an individual or group whose charitable work has made a significant impact to a worthy cause. This could be someone who raises money regularly or has generated significant funds for one or many charities, someone who has raised awareness for a cause, or has been a selfless voluntary worker for a number of years.

Claire Raper

Claire is a founder of Bundles of Joy, a charity that cares for those less fortunate and supports families in crisis, with a focus on the needs of babies and children. Claire works 40 hours a week and has three children to care for, as well as fighting against fibromyalgia and other personal issues. Despite this, Claire and her team worked continually throughout every lockdown to help her community.

Clare Greaves

Heavily involved in charity and volunteer work all her life, Clare started Mental Health Mates Walk and Talk in the Beverley and Hull area. The charity has grown from an initial 12 attendees to walks of up to 45 people and 500 members in the social media group. Through lockdown Clare visited several group members, providing shopping and raising funds for various local charities.

Clare Greaves
Clare Greaves
Natasha Barley

As the director of the Hull and East Yorkshire Children’s University, Natasha knew that thousands of children and young people living in poverty would be significantly impacted by lockdown. Natasha led dozens of volunteers to put together more than 6,500 educational resources, wellbeing packs and letterbox parcels for local schools. Further to this, when 850 children in Hull had no access to IT equipment, Natasha led a campaign to rectify this issue, despite dealing with personal issues at the time.

Local Hero of the Year

Not all heroes wear capes! Our Local Hero award will recognise remarkable acts of courage or selflessness by an ordinary member of the community. They may have used their initiative in a crisis, tackled criminals or even saved a life.

Chelsey Dalee

Chelsey works as a carer in the community, caring for two young women with life-limiting illnesses and complex needs. She also works for her foundation charity Mysterious Minds, set up in memory of her son's dad to provide financial and emotional support to families that have lost a loved one to suicide. Since December she has also cared 24/7 for her mum helping her to rehabilitate after a major stroke.

Jamie Cater

Jamie dedicates time each week to picking up litter and cleaning the streets of Hull. Committed to keeping the streets and parks clear, Jamie’s hard work has already earned him a Lord Mayor’s Award. He removes fly-tipping and dirty needles, clears up broken branches and even tidies up the local cemetery.

Troy Eyaad Hammadeh

Through the lockdowns, Troy has worked tirelessly putting together over 1,500 'You’re Not Alone' care boxes of essential items and distributing them for free to the local community. In the first lockdown, Troy spent £5,000 of his own money and in later lockdowns poured his efforts into his House of Panini venture, creating a takeaway lunch vendor. He is now donating 10% of the income to helping the vulnerable and continuing with the care boxes.

Troy Eyaad Hammadeh
Troy Eyaad Hammadeh

Friend/Neighbour of the Year Sponsored by InYourArea

Friends are the family that we can choose ourselves. We are celebrating those unsung heroes who have put themselves out to improve the lives of those around them. We want to acknowledge a friend or neighbour who is always there when you need them or has done something to make a real difference in your life.

Chris and Sam Holmes

During the first lockdown, Chris and Sam entertained their local community with entertaining live performances every Friday night, performing songs or organising quizzes and bingo. Chris also carried on through the subsequent lockdowns, providing online music lessons for local children with additional need to help children and teachers with their emotional and mental wellbeing.

Jenna Brooks

Despite losing one of her sons, suffering from anorexia and supporting another son who suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, Jenna goes above and beyond to help her friends. Throughout the pandemic, Jenna has continuously helped her friend suffering from brain and lung cancer, ensuring his house was safe and clean, that he was fed and well looked after, and dedicating time and effort to improve his mobility.

Rosemarie Westmorland

65 years old and still working full time, Rosemarie is always there for those who need her. Over the years, Rosemarie has cared for her mother, children, nieces, nephews and extended family. Out of the goodness of her heart, Rosemarie also cares for three of her neighbours: doing their shopping, cooking their meals and ensuring they are safe and well. After rescuing a neighbour who had had a fall, she now helps to dress and care for them as well.

Heart of East Yorkshire Award Sponsored by Trident

Although everyone who is nominated is classed as a winner, only one can win The Heart of East Yorkshire and the judges have chosen an individual, duo or group which they feel have made the greatest contribution overall.

The HullLive Heart of East Yorkshire Awards 2021 will take place virtually on Tuesday, April 27. For free tickets, click here.