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7 Champions Against Loneliness Honoured at the BrightLife Champions Against Loneliness Awards 2023

Updated: Feb 22, 2023

The BrightLife Champions Against Loneliness Awards 2023, held at the Casa Hotel, Chesterfield on Friday February 17th, was a huge success as over 130 guests from the local business and charity communities came together to recognise and celebrate seven BrightLife Champions Against Loneliness. The seven category award winners were:

Award Winner Award Sponsor

Champion Young Person Luke Briddon 1866 Sport

Champion Charity Chesterfield FC Community Trust Aztec Oils Ltd

Champion Business Magnavale Ltd Banner Jones Solicitors

Champion Neighbour Rachael Mullen Heron Publications Ltd

Champion Carer Sandra Bower Age Care Bathrooms

Champion Volunteer Lynda Lewis Hastings Freight Ltd

Champion Farida McGann Hammond & Co

Having been served their main course in the sumptuous Barcelona Suite guests were treated to a Live Auction sponsored by John Pye Auctions where items donated by local businesses were auctioned off by the event’s host and auctioneer Phil Tooley - Chesterfield FC's very own match day commentator. A packed Barcelona Suite saw the guests thoroughly entertained by their auctioneer as their bidding on the various items and direction from the auctioneer raised laughter throughout, as well as much needed funds for the charity.

The awards ceremony opened with the BrightLife Champion Young Person - an award won by Luke Briddon for his work with the Senior Spireites at the Chesterfield FC Community Trust. Luke’s nominator for the award, Oliver Barnes, a Wellbeing Officer at Chesterfield FC Community Trust, commented “People might be isolated, lonely, they might have lost a significant other, but Luke’s always there to put a smile on their face. I don’t think he realises how much impact he has on their lives, and that’s why we’ve nominated him for this award”.

By recognising and celebrating the fantastic work of the award winners the awards evening was able to shine a light on the issue of loneliness and isolation amongst older people living within our communities, and more so, what we can do to prevent it from occurring.

Mark Lord, Managing Director of Aztec Oils Ltd, a Bolsover based company who sponsored the Champion Charity Award Category commented “Aztec Oils were very proud to support this inaugural BrightLife event. It is so encouraging to meet so many community minded people giving their time and energy to support worthwhile projects in our region.”

The final award to be presented on the evening was that of the BrightLife Champion Award, as sponsored by Hammond & Co. This award was presented to Farida McGann, who was nominated by Mel Dorna, a health and wellbeing coach for Derbyshire County Council. Farida’s work to prevent loneliness and isolation began during Lockdown when Farida felt compelled to want to support a neighbour. Following her experience of offering companionship and support to her neighbour Mrs McGann was inspired to start a community group. The one community group then grew into two and Mrs McGann now runs a number of community groups on a weekly basis. Mel Dorna, who nominated Mrs McGann for the award commented: “Over the last year Farida has developed groups and now runs a weekly mental health support group, a health and well-being group, a group exclusively to support men….she welcomes everybody through the door.”

The awards evening was a tremendous success and many guests came away inspired by the various award winners. Claire Hewitt, Business Development Director of Hastings Freight, sponsor of the Champion Volunteer Award Category commented "It was a privilege to be amongst the award winners on what was a wonderful night - an inspiration to the difference that we can all make within our communities. Looking forward to next year!”

BrightLife is a local charity dedicated to preventing loneliness and isolation occurring amongst older people living in Chesterfield, Bolsover and North East Derbyshire.

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