Jan 29 2013 By Jane Harrison
Launch of this year's Pride in Our People
THE prestigious Pride in our People awards has launched in Ealing for another year, marking a decade of celebrating community heroes.
When the awards were first spearheaded by the Gazette and University of West London 10 years ago, no one thought their appeal and popularity would continue at such a pace.
But each year the awards and the selfless people they represent have grown in stature as west Londoners delight in the positive and heart warming stories featured in the Gazette and online each week.
Gazette editor, Adrian Seal, said: “I am delighted we have reached our tenth year and the Pride in our People awards are still going strong. We want this year to be bigger and better than ever. We know there are many people out there doing great things. We just want you tell us about them.
“It is important that we recognise and celebrate the selfless work being done by members of our local community. We are delighted once again to be working with the University of west London on these awards and hope we can make this year extra special.”
Professor Anthony Woodman, pro vice-chancellor of the University of West London, said: “As a local university it is important for us to recognise and champion the achievements of our local community.
“Once again the University of West London is pleased to be working with the Gazette, especially in the tenth year of the awards. The event is a wonderful way to celebrate those who work hard to improve the lives of others.”
The Mayor of Ealing, Councillor Mohammad Aslam, added: “The Pride awards are a very good idea and I am pleased they have run for so long. It’s very important to recognise people who work hard and I am delighted to support these awards.”
Ealing Council leader Julian Bell said: “Huge congratulations on reaching your tenth year. This is such a fantastic opportunity to recognise those who contribute to our community week in and week out; our unsung heroes.
“It’s wonderful that the Gazette and University of West London are once again working together with the rest of the community to put on the awards.
“I am looking forward to some excellent nominations and another successful Pride in our People.”
The awards were launched with guests, including the Mayor and Mayoress, Councillor Mohammad and Mrs Majeeda Aslam, and some of last year’s winners outside the university in St Mary’s Road, Ealing on Friday last week.
The aim, as ever, is to highlight people across West London who work selflessly to help others or go beyond the call of duty in the community, at work or in their business.
While nominees can win a cash prize of up to £1,000, no one knows better than last year’s winners that the awards mean so much more than money.
African artist Emma Kinani won last year’s key worker award for helping children suffering from behavioural and mental health problems using art therapy. She was spurred into action following the death of her brother in Uganda after his struggle with schizophrenia.
She said: “I never expected to get through to the finals. We are not stars or celebrities. I am a little foreigner in a big country and it meant a lot to me when I won.
“The award did a lot for my motivation and gave me impetus to carry on.
“It’s important to recognise what people are doing, so I hope readers will nominate those who are doing good deeds in our community. It’s encouraging for us all to know what they are doing, especially with all the bad news around.”
Her words were echoed by Vanessa Hyman, who was last year’s community champion for campaigning against gun and knife crime after the murder of her son, Anton.
Vanessa, who has never given up hope that one day the killers of the 17-year-old son will be brought to justice, said: “It was amazing to be nominated. I was in Ealing and a woman I didn’t know ran up to me and hugged me and congratulated me on the award.
“It’s good to be recognised for doing something positive that has come out of such a bad thing. It will be nine years this year since Anton was killed and while there are no new leads I will never give up hope.”
She praised the awards for helping to highlight her cause.
She added: “If you know anyone you feel has done something that has touched you or helped you in some way just by being themselves, please nominate them.”
As well as having the prestige of the award itself, a stunning glass trophy, nominees who live or work in west London will also have the chance to win cash prizes up to £1,000 and to attend a gala dinner at the university’s Pillars restaurant on May 30.
There are five categories, with the winner of each receiving £500 and the overall winner, the Star of West London, receiving a further £500.
One lucky nominator, randomly picked when the campaign ends, will be presented with £150 on the night.
Judges will choose three finalists in each category and the winners will be revealed by a guest celebrity at the dinner.
During the coming weeks the Gazette will publish stories and pictures, in the paper and online, about the efforts of local people. So send in your entry forms or log on to our website as soon as possible. The closing date for entries is April 22.