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Children's Heart Unit Fund crowned North East's top charity at the Newcastle Marriott Hotel

 

The life saving organisation was honoured with the Charity of the Year 2015 title at the inaugural North East Charity Awards

The Children's Heart Unit Fund has been crowned the North East’s top charity last night at the first awards dedicated to the region’s voluntary sector.

The charity – which helps children who are born with or develop life threatening heart conditions – was awarded the Charity of the Year 2015 at the North East Charity Awards 2015.
Organised by The Journal and associate sponsors Brewin Dolphin and support sponsors Leathers LLP, the inaugural awards night saw hundreds of guests pack the Newcastle Marriott Hotel to see shortlisted organisations go head-to-head.
BBC Newcastle radio hosts Anna Foster and Alfie Joey led guests through the colourful ceremony which included entertainment from the Juke Joint Blues Band.
Winners were announced across 10 categories, celebrating the best of the region’s charitable organisations and businesses’ efforts to support them.

Young Charity Champion of the Year, sponsored by Blueline Taxis, was awarded to sisters Kate and Rachel Hooley who set up Hearts That Matter UK – a charity which raises money for the Children’s Heart Unit Fund.

Rachel had a life saving heart transplant herself in 2012 and decided to set up Hearts The Matter UK to help others in a similar position.

The Outstanding Social Enterprise Award went to Special iApps – a company which develops educational apps for children with special educational needs, including autism, down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and hearing impairments.

Meanwhile The Outstanding Charity Support Award By Large Companies was handed to Newcastle Building Society.

The firm fought off competition from Caterpillar and CHUF ‘n’ Builders to land the award which celebrated the efforts of larger firms in the region to boost charities.

Cath McNicol – who has Spinal Muscular Atrophy – scooped the Champion Volunteer of the Year Award, sponsored by The Banks Group.

She was described as a “driving force” behind setting up the Middlesbrough Powerchair Football Club just over three year ago.

Over the last three years she raised more than £50,000 and continues to work tirelessly to support the growth of the club.

The VONNE Award for Charity Leader of the Year, sponsored by Charity Bank, went to Lesley Spuhler of the Foundation of Light while Outstanding Charity Support by Small to Medium Companies was awarded to Paul J Watson Solicitors.

Elsewhere NEPACS – an organisation that supports prisoners and their families – was honoured with the VONNE Award for Uniquely North East, sponsored by VONNE.

The Leathers LLP Award for Individual Charity Supporter of the Year, sponsored by Leathers LLP, went to Sarah Richardson of Banks Group.

The ceremony also featured a talk from Michael Leather, managing partner of Newcastle-based accountancy firm Leathers LLP.

Michael and his team recently took part in the 2,000-mile Tour de Force cycle challenge in France to raise £50,000 for charity.

A special commendation was awarded to the Northern Rock Foundation