United As One Newcastle United Foundation Awards gala celebrates outstanding individuals
Grassroots champions and inspirational local heroes have had their commitment and community work celebrated at the United As One annual Newcastle United Foundation Awards Dinner, principally sponsored by Atom Bank.
More than 400 guests, including Newcastle United senior players, gathered together in St. James' Park on Tuesday night to reward coaches, coordinators and participants making incredible strides to success with the club's official charity.
The 11th Annual dinner - an exclusive black tie gala event hosted by Foundation Patron Gabby Logan - honoured individuals accessing Foundation programmes which are inclusive of all ages, ability, ethnicity, faith, gender and sexuality.
The prize-giving portion of the night saw Magpies skipper Jamaal Lascelles, Andy Carroll, Paul Dummett, Sean Longstaff and Isaac Hayden present awards, with teammates, Matty Longstaff, Matt Ritchie and Jetro Willems also meeting with award winners.
Two former Magpies, David Craig and Rob Lee, were also inducted into the Foundation Hall of Fame, while guests heard from Fairs Cup-winning captain Bob Moncur in the 50th anniversary year of Newcastle's famous triumph.
United As One Newcastle United Foundation Annual Awards Dinner winners:
* Helen McCardle Young Achiever Award: Tilly Stewart
* Alder Sweeney Community Impact Award, sponsored by Bidfood: Lisa Bell
* Young Leader Award, sponsored by Atom Bank: Imran Ali
* Disabled Player of the Year Award, sponsored by Inter-vention: Christopher McDonnell
* Adult Learner Award, sponsored by Liontrust: James Geddes
* United As One Award, sponsored by Tolent: John Harper/Newcastle United Panthers FC
* United As One Highly Commended: Les Peacock/Be A Game Changer
Steve Beharall, Acting Head of Newcastle United Foundation, said: "The Foundation's annual awards dinner is always an inspirational and moving event for many as we share the stories of the players, participants and staff who are going above and beyond to achieve their dreams.
"This year, the United As One theme has really highlighted the progress we're making to develop and encourage inclusivity in football and our award winners certainly reflect that.
"Every single one of them has worked incredibly hard to get to where they are today and we are very proud of the achievements.
"We hope their success encourages anyone and everyone to seize opportunities to play sport, find work or even just try something new with Newcastle United Foundation."
The first award of the evening was presented to Tilly Stewart, who secured the Helen McArdle Young Achiever Award to highlight her journey from a shy little girl to a confident young football player thanks to coaching at Premier League Kicks session.
Imran Ali scooped the Young Leader Award, recognising his exceptional leadership as a young person who has become a role model for others he supports in his role as Newcastle United Foundation Project Officer.
Disabled Player of the Year Christopher McDonnell was thrilled to receive his award, honouring his remarkable perseverance, talent and dedication playing for the Newcastle United Foundation Down's Syndrome Football Team.
James Geddes earned the Adult Learner Award. The teenager first came into contact with Foundation staff at the Great North Children's Hospital where he receives treatment for leukaemia. Despite his gruelling routine, James has completed a Prince's Trust programme with Newcastle United Foundation and has already got his career going.
Newcastle United Foundation Women and Girls Development Officer Lisa Bell earned the Alder Sweeny Community Impact Award. The accolade is presented in honour of John Alder and Liam Sweeney, two Magpies supporters who tragically lost their lives in the MH17 disaster. Lisa was recognised for her outstanding contribution to grassroots football and the development and the women and girls' game.
To culminate the special evening, Newcastle United Panthers FC chairman, captain and centre-half John Harper collected the inaugural United As One Award. John has overseen the rapid growth of the Panthers, Newcastle United Foundation’s inclusive football team, which welcomes players regardless of gender, sexuality or race.
Les Peacock, who has been a keen advocate of the Foundation's Be A Game Changer mental health awareness campaign, collected the United As One Highly Commended honour.
"This year, the United As One theme has really highlighted the progress we’re making to develop and encourage inclusivity in football and our award winners certainly reflect that."