The Yorkshire Evening Post can today reveals its annual Christmas Honours list for 2019.
We want to shine a light on the individuals or organisations who deserve to be recognised for their tireless effort, dedication and contribution to our city. ALISON BELLAMY reports.
She is undoubtedly the greatest in her field and is named top of our Christmas Honours List for 2019.
The Leeds lass has wowed the world of sport with her skill, dedication and talent, but has never forgotten her roots and brings so much to the city she loves, putting it on the map for all the right reasons.
Nicola Adams has made a remarkable journey from the streets of Burmantofts to Olympic gold boxing champion and remains a sporting hero and inspiration to millions of women and girls around the world.
The 37-year-old announced in a Yorkshire Evening Post World Exclusive that she was retiring, due to concerns about her future health and eyesight.
She said to the city: “You’ve championed me from the very start of my career and so, I wanted you to be the first to know I’ve made the very difficult decision to step down from the ring.
“I’m immensely honoured to have represented our country – to win double Olympic gold medals and then the WBO championship belt is a dream come true.
“To the people of Leeds - you have stuck with me through the most dark and daunting times. In moments where I felt down and defeated, it has been your unfaltering support that has helped me persevere.”
On hearing about the latest honour from the YEP Nicola added: “I feel so lucky to live in such an incredible city alongside so many inspiring people. Happy Christmas everyone and wishing you an amazing New Year.”
A YEP honour also goes to a cystic fibrosis suffer from Leeds, who is waiting to hear if she will be considered for a life-saving double lung transplant.
Jessica Spoor, 30, of Chapel Allerton, took part in a coast to coast fundraising cycle ride in August, using oxygen therapy while riding an electric bike for three days, during the 150-mile journey from Whitehaven to Tynemouth.
The former Asda worker Jessica, who has had to give up her job, was joined by five friends and her brother Jack Spoor, who cycled to raise funds for the Newcastle Freeman Hospital Heart and Lung Transplant Association and for charity Cystic Fibrosis Care.
Jessica is deemed not ill enough to go on the waiting list for a double lung transplant, which would transform her life.
A Leeds teenager who heroically saved the life of his brother, after he was impaled on the handlebar of his BMX bike, has also been picked for a YEP Christmas Honour.
Jack Smith, 15, from Gipton, knew exactly what to do when his brother Connor Osborne, then 13, suffered life-threatening injuries from the accident in Roundhay Park.
He saw Connor was bleeding heavily from the stomach and groin and ripped off his shirt to stem the blood flow.
Jack, a pupil at East Leeds Academy, said: “I was scared because I thought he was going to die.”
One end of the handlebar had just missed his vital organs, but he had severed a femoral vein in his thigh, causing major blood loss.
Proud mum Emma Osborne, 36, said: “I am incredibly proud. The doctors at the hospital said he was lucky to be alive and if Jack hadn’t stemmed the bleeding, he would certainly have died.”
Katy Winship, of Woodlesford, set up a new charity to help other ovarian cancer patients after the disease claimed the life of her 32-year-old best friend Vicki Aldwin.
A crowdfunding bucket list appeal was launched by Vicki’s friends in August 2018 after her terminal ovarian cancer diagnosis.
It raised more than £12,000 and Vicki, of Oakwood, was able to fulfil bucket list wishes including learning taxidermy, visiting Berlin and going on a trip to Disneyland Paris.
After Vicki’s death in St Gemma’s Hospice, her best friend Katy Winship pledged to set up a charity in her memory.
The charity called Lemonade will make bucket list wishes come true for terminal ovarian cancer patients aged under 50 in West Yorkshire.
It also aims to raise awareness of symptoms and raise money for ovarian cancer patients and charities.
A Leeds woman who had to cancel her wedding after being diagnosed with the same breast cancer that killed her mum, is now urging others to get vital checks.
Nikki Hall, 45, from Rodley, has used her experience to set up a Facebook campaign and courageously climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and is now doing amazing charity work to support others through breast cancer diagnosis. She said: “"When you're diagnosed, all you can think about is getting rid of the cancer, but there’s a huge emotional and mental health side that you have to process.
“I’m not a climber in any sense, I don’t even do camping.
“Just by sharing my story on Facebook I’ve had loads of women contact me to say they started the screening.
"The screening saved my life and caught the cancer at a very early stage, if I had waited until I had a lump the cancer would have spread all over my body.”
Art and drama teacher Carry Franklin has left behind a lasting legacy for the city.
Carry introduced the idea of Little Free Libraries across Leeds.
The YEP says her action is deserving of a posthumous mention in our Honours List, as she died in June this year, aged 47.
Carry brought the idea up from London and there are still new LFLs opening all the time and now more than 40 dotted around the city.
Children at Clapgate Primary School in Belle Isle dedicated their end-of-year art show to their former teacher.
The free book exchange welcomes people to take a book and leave one in return.
The colourful book cabinets all have different decor.
She built the first free literature kiosk outside her house in Headingley. It proved incredibly popular with people of all ages, from children to pensioners.
After Carry’s death residents paid homage by festooning the library boxes with fairy lights as a tribute.
Laura Collins, editor of the Yorkshire Evening Post, said: "Across our city there are countless individuals and organisations doing good work to help others, contributing to their community and also supporting people when they need it most.
"Today we want to honour those people, the unsung heroes, the ones who might not often get any recognition for their tireless efforts. They are named in the Yorkshire Evening Post Christmas Honours List for 2019."