A WOMAN who has nurtured some of South Tyneside’s most talented youngsters is in line to have her contribution recognised.
Pat Hay ran the former Back By 10 performing arts school for 10 years, which built a bridge to success for a number of students, including Little Mix star Jade Thirlwall.
And despite suffering two strokes, Mrs Hay, 54, has soldiered on in her work to help youngsters make the most of their talents, and raise money for charity.
The grandmother-of-three, from Hepscott Terrace, South Shields, is a well-known figure in the community.
Between acting as fundraiser for the Mayor’s Charity, chairman of Women’s Aid in South Tyneside, treasurer of the Mission to Seafarers, secretary of Hindu Nari Hangh, a women’s association that puts on multi-cultural shows, and standing as a Labour candidate for the Harton ward in the May elections, she barely has a spare moment to herself.
But her efforts are being recognised after she was nominated for Role Model of the Year in the Pride of South Tyneside awards.
She said: “I’m just stunned. I don’t know what to say. I’ve never done any of these things because I wanted recognition, and to think that people think of me in that way is overwhelming.
“Some of my former pupils include Jade Thirlwall, who went on to win X Factor as part of Little Mix, Michelle Smith, who is in Crazy For You in the West End, and Jamie Lambert, a classical singer who performs all over the world.
“To see my pupils go on to achieve such amazing things is the best feeling I could ever have.
“I saw Jade in the X Factor tour in Manchester last week, and it’s just fantastic. The whole show is wonderful.
“I’ve done all sorts to raise money for charity over the years. I’ve even had my head shaved but, like I said, I didn’t do it because I wanted anything back.
“To be considered for this award is such an honour.”
Andy Walker, who has performed in some of the charity concerts that Mrs Hay has organised, was one person to nominate her.
He said: “Pat is one amazing lady. From setting up singing groups and nurturing local talent, to organising charity nights and concerts.
“For Pat not to receive this award would be a travesty. No one I know is more worthy of being recognised for her selfless work.”
She was also nominated by Faye Cunningham, who said: “Pat has always worked tirelessly in the community, fundraising for many local charities and working with young people in performing arts. After suffering two strokes, Pat has fought back and must be an inspiration to all stroke sufferers.
“She is working as hard as ever with her charity fundraising and involvement with voluntary organisations within South Tyneside.”