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How good was that? Pride of St Helens exceeds expectations
UPLIFTING, inspiring and enough to move you to tears.
Steve Prescott and your Star had wanted the inaugural Pride of St Helens Awards to champion our very best...and boy did it deliver.
It was a night that exceeded all expectations.
A night that showcased an incredible array of talent, courage and achievement that we, as a town, can sometimes be guilty of not shouting loudly enough about.
Many of the stories were truly heart-warming, as was the joy and the excitement in the reaction of the winners.
Accepting an award seemed to mean as much to the town’s celebrated high achievers, such as West End star Carley Stenson and boxer Martin Murray – as it did to the unsung heroes such as sports coach Dominic Hodnett and special care baby unit nurse, Gillian Haydock.
That it mattered so much to all of them underlined how much they love St Helens. It was emotional too. There were plenty dabbing their eyes as hosts Jon Wilkin and Fraser Dainton – who both did a superb job – read out the stories of those shortlisted.
From the Herculean courage of the awe-inspiring Andy Reid to the toughness of the adorable six-year-old leukaemia fighter Billy Jarvis and brave Rebecca Dineley, the words and images tugged at the heartstrings.
In the cases of Billy and Rebecca, the eight-year-old Longton Lane Primary School who asked for extra homework despite having undergone major facial surgery that resulted in a steel brace being fitted to her head, they missed out on the top awards.
But they stole the hearts of an audience of nearly 300 guests, including the likes of Paul Wellens, Andy Reid and Carley.
And although it may sound corny, a point made by Star editor Steve Leary and later echoed by Jon Wilkin, that everyone shortlisted was a winner, is true.
St Helens has its share of problems and a night like this can’t solve them all.
But last Friday showed we have many brilliant people and many reasons to be proud.
If we could all embrace the sense of self-belief that filled Langtree Park it will be a step in the right direction.