Newcastle United Foundation United As One Awards gala celebrates community after extraordinary 18 months
The inspirational achievements of a proud and diverse community connected by Newcastle United have been celebrated at Newcastle United Foundation's United As One Awards ceremony.
The exclusive event returned to St. James' Park on Tuesday night, honouring the accomplishments of children, young people, families, adults, and staff following an extraordinary 18 months like no other for the charity.
Amanda Staveley and Mehrdad Ghodoussi were among 400 guests, former Newcastle United players, Foundation supporters and participants in attendance at the black-tie gala.
Hosted by Newcastle United Foundation Patron Gabby Logan, the 12th annual dinner shared the inspiring individuals supported by the charity to achieve their goals in life - fully inclusive of all people, of all backgrounds.
The prize-giving portion of the night saw Newcastle United captain Jamaal Lascelles congratulate award winners via video link, with former Magpies Demba Ba, Olivier Bernard, and Steven Taylor also meeting with winners and their families.
Two true United greats were also inducted into the Newcastle United Hall of Fame, with Shay Given and Gary Speed MBE celebrated and remembered for their outstanding contributions to the club during their time in black and white.
Steve Beharall, Head of Newcastle United Foundation, said: "It is a truly significant night for our charity, and we are honoured to share the achievements of these inspirational individuals together in person for the first time in 18 months.
"Our award winners are at the heart of our Foundation and the reason why we do what we do. I am incredibly proud of them, as well as our teams who have worked tirelessly since the pandemic began to support everyone to achieve their potential.
"We've all learnt the value of community over the past year and our awards highlight our commitment to help children, young adults, families and older generations across the North East.
"It is a great time for us all to reflect on what we have achieved together and as a Foundation, we are also looking forward to our future and the opening of our world-class community facility, NUCASTLE, powered by Newcastle Building Society, in Spring 2022.
"Our progress is only possible thanks to the invaluable support of Newcastle United Football Club and the Premier League and the generous funders, partners and supporters who we are proud to share our awards ceremony with."
The first award of the evening was presented to Daniel Hassan, an athletic teenager suddenly paralysed by a "one in a million" condition last year. Bedbound at the Great North Children's Hospital, Daniel began playing adapted sports with Foundation staff providing respite for young patients on the ward. Now recovering at home, he fundraises tirelessly for charity.
Kacy Metcalfe earned the Young Leader Award, acknowledging her enormous progress from a shy young girl to a confident role model. Mixing with the wrong crowds and unwittingly being involved in crime, Kacy used free Premier League Kicks sessions to turn her life around - now representing a grassroots club, the Foundation's Girls Kicks squad and closer to being an England captain.
Thomas Atkinson was named Disability Player of the Year - a teenager determined to overcome every challenge put in his way. Born without his left hand and having his left leg removed as a baby, Thomas never stopped his pursuit of becoming a goalkeeper. Wearing one goalkeeper glove, he is top shot-stopper for the Foundation's Amputee team and has been called up to England's amputee squad, making the quarter finals of the Amputee Euros 2021.
Faiequl Alom's journey saw him earn the Adult Learner Award. Anxious, unemployed, and struggling to leave his own home during the pandemic, he stopped doing the one thing he loved: football. With the Foundation's help through Street Football sessions, he has found work, volunteers and hopes to become a full-time football coach.
Murray House Committee members collected the Alder Sweeney Community Impact Award - an accolade presented in honour of John Alder and Liam Sweeney, two Magpies supporters who tragically lost their lives in the MH17 disaster. The committee's decades of work will continue at NUCASTLE - at the site where Murray House once stood.
The Foundation's Football Talks Group were highly commended in the United As One category. Launching in summer 2020, Walking Footballers met weekly for an informal video call to reduce isolation and loneliness among older generations.
To culminate the special evening, Josh Banyard collected the United As One Award. Alone on a railway bridge, Josh was ready to take his own life when a phone call from his little boy stopped him. The lifelong United supporter immediately began his journey to better mental health with the Foundation's Be A Game Changer campaign. Two years on, Josh fundraises for the campaign he credits with saving him and advocates fellow United supporters to start lifesaving conversations.
The charity's United As One Awards 2021 are principally sponsored by Liontrust, with food sponsor Bidfood, drinks sponsor Carling, legends sponsor Robertson, and dedicated award sponsors that created an exceptional evening for all.
Newcastle United Foundation United As One Awards 2021 winners:
* Daniel Hassan - Helen McArdle Young Achiever Award
* Kacy Metcalfe - Young Leader Award
* Thomas Atkinson - Disability Player of the Year Award, sponsored by Suzanne Clarke Life & Business Coach
* Faiequl Alom - Adult Learner Award, sponsored by Consultive Solutions
* Murray House Committee - Alder Sweeney Award, sponsored by Cool Designs
* Football Talks Group - United As One Highly Commended
* Josh Banyard - United As One Award, sponsored by Digital Cat Consultancy