Customs House boss gets lifetime achievement honour as What’s On Where Awards celebrate South Tyneside’s gems

Ray Spencer MBE, who won the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Ray Spencer MBE, who won the Lifetime Achievement Award.
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THEY’RE the cream of South Tyneside and Wearside.

On a night of drama, we honoured the winners in our What’s On Where awards.

The What's on Where Awards for Sunderland and South Tyneside were held at Sunderland's Roker Hotel. All the winners together.

The What's on Where Awards for Sunderland and South Tyneside were held at Sunderland's Roker Hotel. All the winners together.

And what a night it was at the Best Western Roker Hotel, where the very best of the area’s arts, culture, hospitality and leisure sectors gathered.

There were some wonderful winners including Ray Spencer, who collected the Lifetime Achievement award for his tireless work on the entertainments scene for decades.

The executive director of the Customs House in South Shields, also well known as children’s entertainer Tommy the Trumpeter, can 
boast achievements including 15 years as a performing arts lecturer at South Tyneside College, working with more than 120 schools on the arts, and a regular performer in pantomime.

Other winners included Bents Park, Jarrovians Rugby Club, Little Haven Hotel and Dunes, as well as The Bridges shopping venue, Sunderland Live, Make My Day Events, Chaise Guest House, the Ivy House, Gatsbys, the Raich Carter centre, Roma and Paul Dunn for his performance in I Left My Heart In Roker Park.

There were also special recognition awards, which went to the Best Western Tavistock Roker Hotel, while the Empire Theatre in Sunderland was given an award for its outstanding contribution to the arts scene.

The awards were held in association with our weekly entertainments guide, Wow 24/7, and aimed to reward the elite in everything from restaurants to children’s venues, takeaways to parks and community areas, and hotels to the best shopping experience.

Watch our for a supplement packed with more details on the awards night, including interviews with all of our winners as well as lots more photographs from a wonderful evening, in your Shields Gazette next week.

Twitter: @shieldsgazette

The winners:

Best Shopping Experience

The Bridges Shopping Centre, Sunderland

Entertainer of the Year

Make My Day Events, Sunderland

Children’s Venue of the Year

The Dunes, South Shields

Hotel of the Year

The Little Haven Hotel, South Shields

Guest House of the Year

Chaise Guest House, Sunderland

Park or Community Area of the Year

Bents Park, South Shields

Recreation Facility of the Year

Raich Carter Sports Centre, Sunderland

Night Club or Bar of the Year

Gatsby, Sunderland

Pub of the Year Award

The Ivy House, Sunderland

Social Club of the Year

Jarrovians RUFC

Restaurant of the Year

Roma Italian Restaurant, Sunderland

Show or Performance of the Year

I Left My Heart in Roker Park – Paul Dunn

Contribution to Culture

Sunderland Live

Special Recognition

Best Western Tavistock Roker Hotel.

Outstanding Contribution

Sunderland Empire

Lifetime Achievement Award

Ray Spencer