THIS Friday, November 8, we will celebrating the eighth annual Pride of St Helens Awards.

In this week's paper (out now in shops for just 50p) we published a 16-page supplement profiling each of the shortlisted nominees for this year's ceremony.

Throughout this week and last week ahead of the event at the Totally Wicked Stadium, we will be sharing our categories of nominees with you.

Here are your nominees for the 2019 Leadership Award sponsored by Allisons Financial.

Richard Owen

St Helens Star:

RICHARD Owen has led Thatto Heath Crusaders through the most successful period in the amateur rugby league club’s history.

The National Conference League (NCL) Premier Division side enjoyed another bumper season this year.

The club went on a run in the Challenge Cup in which they made it to the fifth round of the competition.

This feat had not been achieved by an amateur club since 2016 when Lock Lane progressed to the same position.

Thatto beat Stanningley, Leigh Miners Rangers, Rochdale Mayfield before knocking out League 1’s North Wales Crusaders to set up a tie with Championship outfit, Dewsbury Rams.

The club’s run in the contest came to an end at Hattons Solicitors Crusaders Park in April when they were beaten 36-10 by Dewsbury.

In the league, the Crusaders defeated NCL Premier League leaders Wath Brow Hornets 18-12 in Cumbria to grab a spot in the Grand Final.

But they were beaten 18-14 by West Hull in the final in a match won by a try in

golden-point extra time.

After being the coach for the last three years Richard is moving on to pastures new.

Rob Vaughan

St Helens Star:

WHEN your job is helping others to succeed, you don’t always think of the huge difference your daily acts mean to those you help.

That was the case for teacher Rob Vaughan who is in charge of the Launchpad Tuition, which helps educate pupils with complex and/or medical needs who would potentially struggle in a mainstream school.

When Rob found out he had been nominated by a former pupil – who wanted to highlight all the hard work “doesn’t go unnoticed” – for this award his instant reaction was one of being “shocked” but “extremely honoured”.

Rob, 45, who has worked at Launchpad for five years, said: “It was a shock to be honest because you don’t really think of what you are doing as needing praise as you are doing what you can for the students but it is amazing to get such positive messages and feedback.

“It’s lovely that pupils who go on to do so well think so much as to nominate me for this.

“I extremely honoured, a little embarrassed as well because this is very much an amazing team that do so much and without them Launchpad Tuition wouldn’t be able to do what it does.

"I’d like to thank them for that.”

Simon Foster

St Helens Star:

AS well as being the resident Dame in pantomime performances at St Helens Theatre Royal, Simon Foster does a whole lot more to help the artistic community.

When not clad in drag makeup and dresses, Simon, who trained as a primary school teacher, also runs a youth group called the Royal Theatre Drama Association (RTDA), for children who meet every Saturday morning at Wesley Methodist Church.

The group, which is made up of children from all backgrounds, is open to ages five up to 18, with the aim of getting them to come together and learn how to dance, act and sing.

The 44-year-old said: “I was shocked but proud to be nominated to be honest because I do it for the children.

“I don’t want young people growing up, like I did, thinking that the arts and performing is not a career for them.

“I wanted to grow up and have a career on theatre.

“I was told to get a real job and I did I train to be a teacher and I loved it, but I got older and decided to go into acting and never looked back.

“That’s why I do it, I don’t want other young people not thinking they can’t do it.”