A volunteer-sector champion, the founders of LeftLion magazine, a much–respected education leader and a BBC presenter breaking down barriers around swimming have all been honoured in the Nottingham Awards 2022.
The event, now in its ninth year, was held at the Council House last night (Thursday) following the historic 726th official Goose Fair opening and dinner.
The awards celebrate those who have helped to make Nottingham the great city that it is, and each winner has made a lasting contribution. It is a way of marking that achievement and an opportunity to say thank you.
The categories and winners for 2022 are:
- Voluntary and Community Sector: Cressida Laywood
Recognised for selfless fund-raising and work for good causes in Nottingham, Cressida first made an impact in the local voluntary sector in the late 80s and early 90s, when she supported homeless people. She worked with Nottingham Women’s Aid and as a trustee of Nottingham People’s Housing Association, a charity which converted vacant properties into temporary housing for homeless people. In September 1992, Cressida had a near-fatal brain haemorrhage which led to her being partially paralysed and with a speech and language disability called aphasia. But she did not lose her drive and determination, founding Aphasia Nottingham, a support group to bring people together with the condition.
- Voluntary and Community Sector: Summaya Mughal
Born and raised in Bestwood, Summaya trained to be an accountant but then jumped at an opportunity to become a radio presenter, going on to win the BBC Radio Newcomer award in 2018. Next week her story and campaign, ‘Brown Gal Can’t Swim’, will be screened on BBC East Midlands Today. In revealing that she couldn’t swim, Summaya exposed cultural barriers that she faced and how that has affected her personally and emotionally. She has given other members of the South Asian community the confidence to take their first steps into swimming. Many of Summaya’s school friends, some of whom are young white men, have got in touch to say they also can’t swim but they have been too embarrassed to admit it. Her work is giving them the confidence to try.
- Public Sector: John Dexter
John has devoted a 40-year career to encouraging and enabling children and young people to be the best that they can be. He excelled as a chemistry teacher, as deputy head and then headteacher of Trinity School and finally as Director of Education for Nottingham City Council before his retirement earlier this year. Although a scientist by background, it is his passion for music, the arts, reading, literature and the value of civic society which has enabled him to advocate and deliver his vision of education – one that encourages children and young people to be fully-rounded and engaged citizens. Many of his former pupils have gone on to have successful careers, including as teachers and leaders working in this city, while the success of former pupils, the Kanneh-Mason children, is a source of great pride for him.
- Private Sector: Alan Gilby and Jared Wilson
Alan Gilby and Jared Wilson, friends and founders of Leftlion, continue with their mission to promote Nottingham and to create opportunities for up-and-coming young people in the city. They wanted to give a voice to artists and young creative people who couldn’t get the attention that their talent deserved in the mainstream media. LeftLion has developed to become Nottingham’s most popular entertainments magazine. More than 150 editions later, it continues to be distributed in pubs, colleges, the universities and is in as much demand as ever.
Over the past few years, a number of notable local people have received the Nottingham Award, including Jim Taylor, the man behind the city’s tram; Derek Brewer, former cricketer and chief executive of Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club; Sat Bains, the Michelin-starred chef and restaurant owner; the Kanneh-Mason family and fund-raiser George Akins, whose charitable work includes Beat The Streets.
Councillor Adele Williams, Deputy Leader of Nottingham City Council, attended the awards and said: “We are a city with great success sitting alongside real need. Nottingham people excel in many fields and can often be seen supporting others who haven’t yet had the same success. We also celebrate those who have overcome circumstances beyond their control.
“Every winner of this award has been chosen because they have made a significant and lasting contribution to Nottingham locally, nationally and internationally. They reflect a broad range of people that the city is rightly very proud of.”
Guests at last night’s event were entertained by musician Ellie Stainsby, the Robin Hood Youth Orchestra, and host Mark Del, the Nottingham DJ and entrepreneur. Meanwhile, money was raised for The Dolly Parton Imagination Library and Framework.