North Leeds: Award winners unveiled at Chapel Allerton Big Lunch

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The heroes of Chapel Allerton were announced after a flood of votes by residents to honour their local champions.

The Chapel Allerton community awards took place on Sunday June 1 at a Big Lunch street party being run by Cara – a Chapel Allerton community group.

The volunteer-run group, which organises social events and gatherings for residents, opened the competition to nominations at the start of the year.

It received 215 nominations for the awards – which was the biggest ever tally – and the winners were announced by the Cara committee.

They included ‘Mr and Mrs Chapel Allerton’ winners Cliff and Sue Hughes and ‘best neighbour’ Helen Sanders.

Miss Vaight, 35, of North Street, said: “I was really shocked and surprised about being nominated and winning the award, it means a lot to me because it’s the public and the customers that voted so that makes it really special.”

She added: “The Big Lunch is so good for community spirit and Chapel Allerton is a really nice community with great people. It’s such a fantastic event and it’s amazing what Cara do because it takes a lot of organising. There was a really friendly, relaxed atmosphere – everyone was just hanging out together.”

All of the celebrations were part of the Big Lottery’s Big Lunch initiative, which began in 2009 and aims to get as many people as possible across the UK to have lunch with their neighbours in June as a display of community, friendship and fun.

The Big Lunch was held between noon and 5pm on Regent Street and it featured a barbecue, live music throughout the day and activities for children including games, football and chalk colouring.

Harriet Vaight, owner of design shop Chirpy on Harrogate Road, was the winner of the Cara community award for best member of staff.

The rest of the results were: best street – Quarrie Dene Court, best place to eat - El Bareto, outstanding contribution to the community – Inkwell Arts Centre, best member of staff – Harriet Vaight at Chirpy, best new business – The Fruit Stall, best place to drink – Further North, best business/shop – Neil Smith Butchers, young achiever - Jake Frood, best neighbour – Helen Sanders and Mr and Mrs Chapel Allerton – Cliff and Sue Hughes.

Miss Vaight said: “Cara had so many nominations, it was just unbelievable and it shows people’s appreciation for local businesses as well as for the people of Chapel Allerton.

“There were so many awards but the young achiever and Mr and Mrs Chapel Allerton awards were great awards to have.”

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