Readers have been nominating the people who made Leeds shine in 2016 for the YEP Christmas honours.
* THE grieving husband of murdered MP Jo Cox has acted with dignity and shown tolerance following the tragedy.
Mother-of-two Mrs Cox, 41, was shot and stabbed to death by neo-Nazi Thomas Mair in her Batley and Spen constituency days before June’s EU referendum.
Brendan Cox, is due to pay tribute to his wife when he delivers tomorrow’s alternative Christmas message on Channel 4.
Mr Cox will also tell viewers that now is the “moment to reach out to somebody that might disagree with us.”
* YORKSHIRE’s Olympic and Paralympic heroes including Nicola Adams and Kadeena Cox won a haul of medals in Rio and inspired countless aspiring young athletes in their home county.
Just a month after taking home gold and silver in Rio, Leeds brothers Alistair and Jonny Brownlee were competing in the ITU World Series in Cozumel, Mexico. Triathlete Alistair won praise for helping stricken brother Johnny over the
line after he collapsed. Alistair was runner up in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
* SINCE launching not for profit organisation Homeless Hampers last Christmas, Abigayle Andre, and 200 volunteers have served more than 1,000 meals and delivered more than 2,000 hampers to homeless people in Leeds and Bradford.
Volunteer Bethany Tripp, who nominated Miss Andre, said: “She is utterly selfless, and determined in her mission to improve the lives of people who are usually ignored by society.” Miss Andre said: “I couldn’t do it without the volunteers.”
* FLOODING devastated many homes and businesses in Yorkshire communities on Boxing Day 2015, but people from all walks of life got stuck in to help with the clean-up operation. Leeds City Council leader Coun Judith Blake, said: “The way so many joined together across communities showed the people of Leeds at our best and everyone involved should be proud of what they did. The floods meant many residents and businesses in Leeds faced a huge challenge to get back to normal and for some who are still recovering a year later, there is more to do.”
* LEEDS City Council’s chief executive Tom Riordan opened up about his mother’s bipolar and his father’s alcoholism during an interview for the Yorkshire Evening Post’s #SpeakYourMind campaign. Mr Riordan welcomed the campaign to increase awareness of mental health issues, which was also backed by Leeds Rhinos star Stevie Ward. Mr Riordan said: “By speaking more openly, I was inundated with positive messages, including from many people who said they felt able to share their experiences for the first time.”
* INSPIRATIONAL DOCTOR Kate Granger, of Wakefield raised £250,000 for the Yorkshire Cancer Centre Appeal and started the #hellomynameis campaign to encourage staff to introduce themselves, which has since been taken on board throughout the world.
Dr Granger was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2011 and died in July aged 34. Her husband Chris Pointon said: “I am and always will be incredibly proud of everything Kate achieved throughout her life and for her to be recognised in the YEP honours list makes me smile.
“Christmas is going to be a fairly tough time for me but I know that Kate will be watching over me and will also be smiling on the back of this recognition.
“Her legacy continues through the #hellomynameis campaign and various awards named after her and this will grow even more so across the globe in 2017.
“I already have four country visits and several award presentations to make – all of which will make me proud to be representing my amazing, inspiring and beautiful wife who is sadly missed but very fondly remembered and always will be.”
* JOHN and Andrea Kerslake of Shadwell have worked tirelessly to improve support for bereaved parents after finding there was no help following the death of their two-and-a-half-year-old son Elliot, who died in his sleep in March 2013.
The couple from Shadwell launched child bereavement charity Elliot’s Footprint and continue to press for improvements.
Elliot’s Footprint has launched a petition urging the UK Government to give 100 per cent of Leeds parents adequate support following the sudden death of a child.
The charity is appealing to Leeds residents to back the petition, which needs 10,000 signatures to be considered in Parliament.
Andrea Kerslake said; “We feel very proud that the work of Elliot’s Footprint has been recognised and are very grateful to the strong network of people supporting us - from our trustees, fundraisers, local professionals, friends and family who are helping us campaign for better bereavement services in Leeds to the Yorkshire residents backing our important petition.”
* THE newly-formed Morley Allstars Majorettes troupe has won praise for giving dancers of all ages and abilities the chance to shine.
The troupe already has around 40 members after being launched in September by Shannon Pullen, Emma Rogers, Caitlin Laycock and Ashleigh Shaw.
Rhian Peart, 23, who suffers from joint hypermobility syndrome, has joined the group with her two-year-old son Eddie.
Rhian, of Middeton, who nominated the troupe for a YEP Christmas Honour, said: “We have a people with learning difficulties and a range of illnesses and mobility issues, but everyone is included.”
Group leader Shannon Pullen said: “It’s great that we have been recognised for what we have done.”
Morley Allstars Majorettes meet at Morley Working Men’s Club on Fountain Street, Morley.
* KIND-hearted Leeds schoolgirl Kayleigh Glancy has been saving up her pocket money for good causes and inspiring others to donate for the past six years.
Farnley Academy student Kayleigh, 13, of Lower Wortley, has donated more than £1,000 worth of toys for this year’s radio Aire Mission Christmas Appeal for underprivileged children.
She saved her pocket money, donated cash she earned for helping with housework and inspired customers at west Leeds Sports and Social Club and the club’s under 12’s rugby team to donate.
At Easter, Kayleigh handed out more than 500 chocolate eggs to poorly children being cared for at Leeds General Infirmary.
Kayleigh’s mother Becky Gomersal, said: “I think she’s amazing, she’s an inspiration to so many people. There are no words to say how proud I am of Kayleigh.”
* GREEN-fingered pensioner Galatea Gunning has transformed her garden in Crossgates from an overgrown mess into an oasis of an oasis of Mediterranean colour.
The 70-year-old has been working on the garden at the semi-detached house on Farm Mount for 32 years with her husband Richard.
Passers-by regularly stop and admire the garden and take photographs.
Mrs Gunning has lived in Leeds for over 50 years after meeting Richard while he was serving for the British Army in Cyprus. She inherited her love of gardening from her family in the Cyprus mountains where they had land growing fruit while she was growing up. Mrs Gunning said: “We get an awful lot of pleasure from the garden. I’m really pleased to be nominated for a YEP Christmas Honour.”
* COMMUNITY stalwart Hanif Malik transformed Beeston’s Hamara Centre from a tiny one-room project to one of the city’s most dynamic community organisations.
Mr Malik, who was named an OBE in this year’s birthday honours, is leaving his role as chair of the Hamara Centre after 20 years of dedicated service.
He is credited with being a key voice in building bridges between communities, often at hugely tense times.
Mr Malik is moving on to become director of operations at Wakefield based charity Penny Appeal, and will also join the board of Yorkshire County Cricket Club.
Mr Malik received a standing ovation from the 400 guests at the recent seventh annual Hamara Community Awards, where he announced his departure.
Recalling his proudest moments, he cited receiving his OBE earlier this year and an honorary degree from Leeds Beckett as personal highlights.
* FREDDIE McDonald’s courage as he battles a rare and life-threatening heart and liver disease has inspired a £90,000 fundraising drive.
Freddie, of Wakefield, was diagnosed with Alagille Syndrome at four months old. He was given a liver transplant aged three and had to undergo open heart surgery in March and is due an eight-hour open heart operation next month.
The four-year-old has inspired family and friends to raise £90,000 for charities including the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation.
His mother Emma said: “We are humbled and grateful that people continue to raise money and support Freddie through his illness.”
In October, Freddie was presented with a Yorkshire Children of Courage Award during a ceremony at New Dock Hall in Leeds.