Leeds Jewish Community Pride Awards recognise city’s unsung heroes

GONG: Lloyd Rakusen and David Richmond, an awards sponsor.
GONG: Lloyd Rakusen and David Richmond, an awards sponsor.
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A father whose son was killed in a car crash was among the unsung heroes recognised in the Leeds Jewish Community Pride Awards.

Lloyd Rakusen was motivated to become a marathon runner after his son Joe was killed in the crash in 2002.

Mr Rakusen, who received an outstanding achievement award, said he enjoys running to keep fit but it was important “that you keep setting yourself challenges.” He added that Joe was “the inspiration that keeps me running.”

Now in its eighth year the awards are organised by Leeds Jewish Welfare Board as a way of thanking the community’s volunteers.

A football coach, a befriender, a leisure club organiser, a charity entertainer and a long-serving synagogue secretary were also among the recipients.

Leeds Jewish Welfare Board chief executive Liz Bradbury told guests at a gala dinner at Leeds Etz Chaim synagogue: “With the right support, guidance, kindness and care, we can help people achieve their potential. With the correct mind-set and support everyone can achieve amazing things.”

A committee, formed 20 years ago by a grandmother whose friend had died from cancer, won the community award. Since its formation the small group of Jewish women who make up North Leeds Macmillan Committee have raised more than £300,000 for the charity.

Other special recognition awards were handed to Edward Ziff, recently retired as the board’s president after 10 years in office; Andrew Brown, chair of trustees at Donisthorpe Hall; and Stanley Cundle for community work.

Eta Cohen, founder of women’s business support organisation Forward Ladies which has helped thousands of women, won the Monica Gay outstanding achievement award.