Best of Health Awards: League of Friends on unexpected honour

A special group of South Tyneside award winners have looked back on a year to remember – and now the search is on for their successors.

Saturday, 22nd February 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Saturday, 22nd February 2020, 6:00 am
The League of Friends with their trophy at the 2019 Best of Health Awards.

The League of Friends won the Best of Health Unsung Heroes trophy after judges heard they raised thousands of pounds for South Tyneside District Hospital.

But that was one of three wins in a fantastic year for the friends who also picked up the Fundraiser of the Year title at the Gazette’s Best of South Tyneside Awards.

Maureen Young, the treasurer of the group, also won the Mayor’s Civic Award – and she got the honour the night before the Best of Health Awards!

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The 2019 Unsung Hero Award winners - Anne Lilley (2nd right) and the League of Friends, with compere Daymon Britton (left) and Graham Low of East Coast Fitness (right).

Now this year’s health awards are up and running and we are searching for more outstanding winners to follow in the footsteps of the 2019 champions.

Josie Wigham, the League of Friends chairman, backed our call for people to nominate their health heroes and told how last year’s success had made a huge difference to their cause.

“Everyone was excited and we didn’t expect it,” said Josie.

“I have been with the League for 10 years and some of the others have been involved for 30 years and I don’t think we had ever had a nomination before.

The 2020 Best of Health Awards.

“But 2019 was a great year for us, for the recognition of all the hard work that the ladies have done over the years.”

Founded in 1949, the League of Friends of South Tyneside Hospitals is one of the oldest NHS voluntary groups. It raises money through the likes of its shop in the main entrance of South Tyneside District Hospital’s Ingham Wing, to provide patients and staff with extra comforts and equipment.

The shop is open five days a week and is run by League volunteers who sell drinks and snacks, raising around £60,000 a year.

The League has around 80 volunteers who are aged from 50s to those in their 80s.

Josie looked back on last year’s awards night and said: “The meal was lovely and then there was the anticipation of waiting to hear if we had won an award.

“And it was great to hear of all the other categories in the awards, and all the good work that goes on in the community.”

This year’s awards have the support of the South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust who are headline sponsors. The category sponsors are East Coast Fitness, Wonderful Wig Company and NHS Sunderland CCG. We thank them all.

The deadline for nominations is Monday, April 6 and the judges will meet on Wednesday, April 8, to decide on the shortlist.

The grand finale is at the Roker Hotel on Thursday, April 30, when we will announce this year’s winners.

To nominate, send your name, address and telephone number, as well as your email address, if applicable. Remember to include the category you are putting your nominated cause into.

Also send the name of the person you wish to nominate, as well as their address, telephone number and email (if known).

Send all the details to Lynn Wild by no later than Monday, April 6.

Email those entries to [email protected] or send them to Lynn Wild, North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC), Wearfield Enterprise Park East, Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, SR5 2TA.


GP/ GP Practice of the Year.

Dentist/ Dental Practice of the Year.

Pharmacist/ Pharmacy of the Year.

Hospital Doctor of the Year.

Nurse of the Year.

Optometrist of the Year.

Therapist of the Year.

Midwife of the Year.

Care Worker of the Year.

Unsung Hero/ Customer Service of the year.

Healthier Lifestyle.