Acts of courage, outstanding achievements and community stalwarts were all recognised during the Cheshire Local Hero Awards.
Hosted by Cheshire radio station Silk 106.9 and sponsored by Cheshire East Council, the awards were held at The Tytherington Club in Macclesfield on Friday, October 21.
Twelve awards were handed out to some of the county’s unsung heroes, with the audience told of some truly selfless acts.
In a particularly poignant moment of the night, The Pride of Cheshire award – sponsored by the Council – was given to the family of Congleton man Tom Jackson, 30, who died after trying to save fellow backpacker Mia Ayliffe Chung, 21, as she was stabbed to death in Australia.
The attack at a tourist hostel in Queensland took place on August 23. Tom died on August 30, with his organs helping to save the lives of six people.
Tom’s mum, Sandra, dad Les, sister Olivia and brother Daniel took to the stage to collect the award.
Olivia said: “My brother was incredible and it’s a shame you did not get to meet him. He was a wonderful man and I’m incredibly proud of him.”
Les said: “We’ve always been proud of him and something like this just makes us that little bit prouder.”
The audience also heard how the quick-thinking actions of Act of Courage award winners Jonathan Slack, Steve Davies, Karen Espley and Matt Jones had saved the life of 33-year-old James Bailey.
On July 9 this year, James went out for his usual Saturday run in Congleton. But during his run he suffered a sudden cardiac arrest and collapsed at the side of the road.
Jonathan, of Smallwood, couple Steve and Karen, of Crewe, and Matt, of Stone, were all driving down the A34 and stopped their cars, before calling an ambulance and performing CPR at the side of the road as James’s heart had stopped.
James’s fiancé, Catherine Pollard, nominated the foursome for the award. She said: “The medical team at North Staffordshire Hospital highlighted that the CPR given in that very first stage was crucial in keeping oxygen pumping around James’s body.”
After 10 days in hospital James was discharged and has now fully recovered.
Joining the winners on stage to collect their award, James told the audience he has no memory of the event.
He said: “I’m very, very grateful because without these four and their quick ingenuity and the fact they stopped, well, you’ve heard the story. I’m so lucky to be here.”
The awards were hosted by Silk 106.9 presenter Dane Swindles and Cheshire East Council’s Trevor Green. Guests included MP for Macclesfield David Rutley, Councillors Liz Durham, Ainsley Arnold and Paul Bates and Strategic Director of Adults Social Care and Health, Mark Palethorpe. During the night, £470 was raised for Cheshire Young Carers.
Cheshire East Mayor Councillor Olivia Hunter said: “I’m honoured to have been invited along tonight and to have heard the truly inspiring stories of all our winners.
“There are people of all ages throughout Cheshire East that are working tirelessly for the good of our communities, and whose selfless and brave actions truly deserve recognition. It was a privilege to be able to pay tribute to some of those individuals here tonight.
“I’d also like to pay tribute to all those who were nominated for an award, as well as thank Silk 106.9 for organising the event and hosting such a wonderful evening.”
David Flavell, station manager at Silk 106.9, said: “We are immensely proud to host the Local Hero Awards, which are now in their 19th year, and to be able to pay tribute to some of the thousands of people across Cheshire that are doing such brilliant work in our communities.
“I’d like to thank all our sponsors, not least Cheshire East Council, our overall sponsor, for their support, without which this celebration of those who contribute so much to our community couldn't take place.”
Councillor Paul Bates, Cabinet member in charge of communities and health, said: “The Local Hero Awards have once again highlighted just how truly fantastic the people of Cheshire are.
“The stories we’ve listened to tonight have been incredible and it was an honour to have met some of the nominees and winners this evening.”