ON Friday, November 24, we will celebrating the 11th annual Pride of St Helens Awards.

In last Thursday's paper (in shops now) we published a 16-page supplement profiling each of the shortlisted nominees for this year's ceremony.

Throughout this 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 Mikhail Hotel and Leisure Group Pride of St Helens Award - Charity Champion category, sponsored by Assured Life.

David Cross

St Helens Star: David CrossDavid Cross (Image: David Cross)

DAVID Cross has dedicated nearly half a century to the people of St Helens with multiple sclerosis and their families.

For more than half of his adult life, David has set up and chaired a successful support group that meets monthly, arranges day trips, holidays, Tai Chi sessions and much more to support those living with MS.

Last year, David was awarded the BBC North West Christmas star in recognition of his tireless efforts and his immediate reaction was one of pure disbelief.

Without a split second thought he dedicated his award to the people in St Helens who are living with MS.

Although David refused to believe that he was worthy of recognition for his commitment, his efforts are said to be an “absolute lifeline” to the many people living with the chronic condition in and around the borough.

After their monthly meet ups, his support group is said to have become an “MS family” for those involved, and it is these people who want to shine further light on the tireless efforts of David, just as he supports and shines a light on others.

Climb Kili 4 Cancer

St Helens Star: Climb Kili 4 Cancer groupClimb Kili 4 Cancer group (Image: Climb Kili 4 Cancer group)

EIGHT friends who have each had their lives affected by cancer climbed to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro together after raising more than £65,000 for research.

When dad-of-two Stephen Bennett, from New Bold, was told the heartbreaking news that his youngest daughter, Leah, had cancer, he knew exactly who to turn to for support.

The 42-year-old relied on his childhood friends – who all grew up in St Helens – who have each either faced their own cancer diagnoses or lost loved ones to the disease.

Drawing from their experiences and determined to make a difference, the group of friends decided they wanted to do something to help future cancer patients.

And so, they began fundraising for Cancer Research UK, and set themselves a challenge to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and raise vital funds for life-saving research.

Over an 18 month period, this saw the friends host a series of events including a mini music festival, a black-tie casino night, a sponsored swim, numerous raffles and auctions, and even sold food door to door in order to raise funds for the charity.

The dedicated fundraising culminated in August when the eight-strong group summited Mount Kilimanjaro - taking their fundraising total to a huge £67,000.

Denise Littler

St Helens Star: Denise LittlerDenise Littler (Image: Denise Littler)

SHE helps raise awareness of all that is happening at St Helens and Whiston hospitals and helped promote the Playground SOS campaign leading to £20,000 raised for a playground to be installed at the hospital.

However despite all this Denise Littler was “shocked but made up”

when she found out she was nominated in the Charity Champion category for this year’s Pride of St Helens Awards.

Denise, from Thatto Heath, who works for Whiston and St Helens Hospital Charity, said: “I just like helping people and did a lot of events and enjoyed doing that and when a job came up at the hospital it just seemed perfect.

“Now I get to help people by raising awareness of everything amazing going on in the hospitals.

“And when people come to me saying they are planning to do stuff I help the best I can as it’s so important to so many people.

“I was shocked but made up when I found out honestly because my job is so rewarding anyway, but for people to recognise what I do, because it is just me in the charity side of things, then that’s amazing and honestly I’m thrilled.”