Inspired by a UK-wide celebration known as ‘Giving Tuesday’, I decided to find a way of recognising those in our community who give their time, efforts and energy to a voluntary or charitable cause so I launched a search for our own Wansbeck Charity Champion, who I could put forward into a nationwide competition.
Through my office social media websites and via email I asked local residents to nominate the persons or organisations they thought deserved to be our first Wansbeck Charity Champion.
I was not sure what the response would be, but to say I was blown away by the nominations that came flooding in was the understatement of the year.
More than 2,000 of you voted, meaning we ended up with nearly 50 nominees. Again, I gave you, the public, the chance to vote for your winner.
I am delighted to say that you chose as our Wansbeck Charity Champion Team Susie, a fantastic group of ladies who have campaigned tirelessly to raise money and awareness of cancer charities in memory of a very special lady from Ashington.
Four runners-up were Steve Wylie from SHAK, who looks after abandoned and abused dogs; Robin Hills, of Hilltop Farm Animal Sanctuary; Craig Leathard, of the Calendar Lads, who has raised much money for charity; and Dr Michael Wilkinson, who works tirelessly to fundraise for charity whilst practising as a full-time doctor.
I have now nominated Team Susie to the national competition and hope to hear back about any success it may achieve.
Recently I was privileged and honoured to meet most of our winners and runners-up to present them with their awards and to thank them for the amazing work they are all doing right here in Wansbeck.
To all my constituents in the Wansbeck area I would like to take this opportunity of wishing you all a happy and peaceful Christmas, as well as sending you my very best wishes for the New Year.