St Leger Homes has paid tribute to people in Doncaster who make their local communities a great place to live, at their annual Tenants’ Choice Awards ceremony.
Following the success of last year’s inaugural event, new categories including a Lifetime Achievement Award, and a new photographic competition sponsored by Efficiency North were added. The number of nominations for the awards this year also increased across all categories.
The ceremony, held on 5th September at the Holiday Inn at Warmsworth, brought together people from different areas and different backgrounds in an inspiring event paying tribute to what’s best about Doncaster.
Paul Tanney, Chief Executive at St Leger Homes, said:
“Today was a real celebration of all that is good about our local area – and we want to say thank you to all those here today who have made such a wonderful contribution to their local communities.
“We were looking for individuals and community groups in Doncaster who, during the past twelve months, have shown themselves to be kind, caring and neighbourly, having gone beyond what might normally be expected. We haven’t been disappointed. Everyone at this event today deserves recognition for the work they are doing to make a positive difference.
“The fact that the award winners in each category have been nominated by those around them, and voted for by fellow tenants too, really shows how appreciated the winners are.”
The Community Champion Award was won by Glenys and Mick Hennessey, who have worked tirelessly to support the vulnerable in their community by setting up Thorne Moorends Foodbank. They collect donations and deliver food parcels to people in need as well as running the foodbank.
The Young Person of the Year Award was won by Gemma Lowe, a shining star across many activities for young people in Doncaster. Gemma has worked to develop her skills and qualifications, working with other young people, doing anything for anyone whilst always being willing to help anyone in need.
Gemma Lowe said: “I wasn’t expecting it at all. I was really shocked and when I heard what people said about me in the video, it made me cry.”
The Community Group Award was won by the Doncaster Cancer Support Group, which was founded by Marie Caygill before she lost her battle with cancer last year. Marie’s own contribution was marked with a national Housing Heroes Award in 2016. The cancer support group helps support and give advice to people on a voluntary basis, playing an indispensable part in the lives of the community. The group is run by volunteers who organise fundraising events and give free advice and guidance to cancer sufferers, their families and their friends.
Marie’s sister, Dawn Dowling, collected the award on behalf of the group, she said: “I went to pieces when I saw the video and started crying but I am pleased we won.”
The Good Neighbour Award was won by Mick Bailey in Tickhill, for going that extra mile, above and beyond what would normally have been expected to help their neighbour. He has made sure all his neighbours have his phone number so that they can call upon him at any time if they need help. Mick helps everyone despite having his own responsibilities at home. He has always put the needs of others first, taking his neighbours to the doctors and to hospital appointments, shopping for those who are housebound and even helping people with their gardening.
Mick Bailey said: “I was frightened to death when I had to do the video and was surprised to win but very pleased too.”
The Lifetime Achievement Award was won by Annie Farrand, a trustee of Moorends Miners’ Welfare and Development Centre. She has lived in the area all her life, supporting her local community, improving the quality of life within their area, working for cohesion and unity to make the estate a better place to live. She is involved in many activities and events, helping with clubs for young and the not so young, for the healthy and not so healthy, showing passion, commitment and enthusiasm for every aspect of community life.
Annie Farrand said: “When I saw who else had been shortlisted I didn’t think I would win so it came as a big surprise. I didn’t realise at first that it was me who had been nominated – I thought it was for the centre –so it’s all been quite emotional. ”
The Tenants’ Choice Award winners with the Civic Mayor, Councillor George Derx. Pictured back row (left to right): Dawn Dowling on behalf of Doncaster Cancer Support Group (Winner of The Community Group Award); Councillor George Derx (Civic Mayor, Doncaster Council); Mrs Pauline Derx (Mayor’s Consort); Tom Cunningham (Community Engagement Officer, St Leger Homes on behalf of Glenys and Mick Hennessey, winners of The Community Champion Award). Front row (left to right): Gemma Lowe (Winner of The Young Person of the Year Award); Mick Bailey (Winner of The Good Neighbour Award); and Annie Farrand (Winner of The Lifetime Achievement Award).
As part of the Efficiency North Photographic Awards, a further four award winners were announced at the ceremony for depicting what living in Doncaster means to them. All the finalists received a canvas mounted copy of their print. In addition, the winner of each category received a £40 shopping voucher, and the overall winner being presented with a 360 degree camera courtesy of Efficiency North.
The winner of the ‘26 and over’ category was Boleslaw Olszewski, for his entry ‘Let The Rainbow In’. Boleslaw, who really enjoys taking photographs, said he was very surprised to have won his category. He enjoys taking pictures everywhere he goes and plans to enter again next year.
The winner of the ‘25 and under’ category was Gemma Lowe, for her entry ‘Peace, Forgiveness, Hope and Second Chances’. Gemma said: “It has all been a big shock. I really didn’t expect any of this.”
The winner of the ‘16 and under’ category was Jack Holvey, for his entry ‘Roots’. Jack was also named overall winner, receiving the 360 degree camera. Jack said he was surprised and ‘well embarrassed’. His mum, Lisa Baines, knew he had a talent for photography from an early age said: “He’s always rushing off to take photos of sunsets and the like. I think he’s done really well.”
Paul Mitchell, Social Manager at Efficiency North, who presented the photographic awards, said:
“We are delighted to sponsor and support St Leger Homes’ photographic competition. Doncaster is a great place to live and work and these photos reflect what a vibrant place our town is. Congratulations to everyone who took part.”
The Efficiency North Photographic Award winners with Paul Mitchell from Efficiency North. Pictured back row (left to right): Boleslaw Olszewski (Winner of the ‘26 and over’ category); Paul Mitchell (Social Manager, Efficiency North); Jack Holvey (Overall winner and winner of the ‘16 and under’ category). Front row (left to right): Gemma Lowe (Winner of the ‘25 and under’ category); Gary Marshall (Runner up in the ‘26 and over’ category) and Linda Tyrell (Runner up in the ‘26 and over’ category).