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Unsung Hero Award

The Unsung Hero Awards 2018 - A Night To Remember!

The Unsung Hero Awards 2018 are now over and what an unbelievable night it was! We welcomed guests from all over the country, from CEO’s and CIO’s, to non-medical staff in positions that can be less visible. Many of these individuals left winners and we know will look forward to placing their trophies on their mantelpieces, or work desks from today.

From everyone at The Unsung Hero Awards: we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for making this year’s event one to remember!

As we welcomed guests to The Whitworth Suit on Friday night, it became quickly apparent that the level of anticipation and excitement in the room was high. Friendly faces were all around, with guests constantly commenting on how much they had been looking forward to the event. Many guests also mentioned that they were humbled to have been nominated, and that in their minds they were already a winner.

The 2018 Unsung Hero Awards were officially opened by the Mayor of Greater Manchester - Andy Burnham. Mr Burnham was highly enthusiastic about the awards and the NHS in general, recounting how growing up his mother was a GP Receptionist. MP for Leigh Jo Platt, also in attendance, was supportive of the notion of celebrating members of staff who work hard in their positions to make positive change. Jo herself has raised through the ranks of government to become Leigh's first female MP.

As the event got underway introductions were made and Guy’s and St Thomas’ represented their in-house charity, with speaker Professor Lucy Chappell urging people to bid on Silent Auction items. The bids were used to raise money for their not-for-profit organisation, which treats up to 300 children and young adults a day.

The night continued an a high-note when our guests sat down to a luxurious three course meal and were treated to the smooth, melodic voice and musical accompaniment of Jeremy Sassoon; ex doctor turned events musician. Jeremy was the absolute professional, playing well-known classic after classic and making sure to interact with the audience to enhance their enjoyment. As did our in-house photographer, Colin A. Boulter, who photographed our guests throughout the night and made sure to capture those moments of genuine emotion, that were prevalent from start to finish. 

As the meal drew to a close, Karen Jackson, former CEO of Southport and Ormskirk hospital, gave a moving speech on the importance of non-medical staff within the NHS. She recounted her time when she was CEO of a trust and worked with a cleaner, scrubbing toilets and walls. She noted, sadly, how differently she was treated by members of the trust; compared to when she returned to the hospital the next day dressed in her typical managerial clothes.

The speech was apt timing as it led directly into the awards themselves; arguably the high-light of the night with winner after winner showing surprised appreciation and gratitude for their award. We are proud to announce the following teams and individuals as the official winners of the 2018 Unsung Hero Awards

  • Joanne Cleasby (Personal Assistant at Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust) Admin & Clerical - Unsung Hero: Everyday Hero Award.
  • Karen Spick (Team Secretary at West London Mental Health NHS Trust) Admin & Clerical - Unsung Hero: The Leader of The Year Award.
  • Bereavement Services Team (Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust) Admin & Clerical - Unsung Hero: The Team of The Year Award. 
  • Adie Gillett (X-ray Porter at North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust) Ancillary Staff - Unsung Hero: Everyday Hero Award.
  • Domestic Team on Midland Centre for Spinal Injuries (The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital - NHS Foundation Trust) Ancillary Staff - Unsung Hero: The Team of The Year Award.
  • Susan Faulkner (Play Service Co-Ordinator at Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust) Ancillary Staff - Unsung Hero: The Leader of The Year Award.
  • Carol Skillen (Vice Chair Staff Side and Freedom to Speak Up Guardian at Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust) Corporate Functions - Unsung Hero: Everyday Hero Award.
  • Recruitment Team (Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals Trust) Corporate Functions - Unsung Hero: The Team of The Year Award.
  • Helen Nowakowska (Business Performance Manager at Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust) Corporate Functions - Unsung Hero: The Leader of The Year Award.
  • Jon Potts (Infrastructure Manager at Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust) IT - Unsung Hero: Everyday Hero Award.
  • Desktop Team Systems and Network Services (York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust) IT - Unsung Hero: The Team of The Year Award.
  • Paul Siner (Project Manager at St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust) IT - Unsung Hero: The Leader of The Year Award.
  • Dan Spacagna (Porter at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust), Life Saver Award.
  • Frances Payne (Endoscopy Clerk at The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust) Lifetime Service Award.
  • Iain Rivans (Pharmacist, at NHS Fife) Patients Choice Award.
  • Shah Miah (Apprentice for Estates Facilities and Professional Services Procurement Team at NHS London Procurement Partnership) Apprentice of The Year Award.
  • Mike Kemp (Community First Responder at South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust) Volunteer of The Year Award.
  • Molly (the therapy dog of Frank Lloyd Unit at Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust) Special Mention Award.
  • Jaki Allen-Free (GDE/Digital Innovations Programme Manager) Fortrus Special Mention Award.


After the awards concluded, so did the night, with drinking, socialising and networking. The end of the event was also a first for many people: a first to interact with a wide-range of attendees from all different backgrounds and walks of life. There were members of our sponsor organisations; from multinational companies such as Barclays and Cerner, socialising with CEO’s of trusts, such as The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital, Liverpool Women's NHS Foundation Trust and York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. In the mix were also employees from these hospitals, ranging from managerial positions – Directors, HR Managers, Marketing Managers; to Porters and Cleaners, Security Guards, Receptionists and members of Play Teams.

The awards would not have been possible to have been put on in the style and to the level that they were, without the generous support of our sponsors. We are proud to be able to thank the following companies for their time, focus and sponsorship this year:

  • max20 Project Solutions, our Headline Sponsor, also sponsoring the Corporate Functions Category and the Special Mention Award. 
  • Barclays Bank, sponsor of the Apprentice of the Year Award.
  • Cerner, sponsor of the IT Category, Certificates and Name Cards.
  • Fortrus, sponsor of the Admin & Clerical Category.
  • VANAD Enovation, Promotional Materials Sponsor. 
  • The Principal, Drinks Reception Sponsor.


The Unsung Hero Awards exists as a sign of gratitude for the dedication of non-medical staff to the founding principles of the NHS: to provide universal, equitable, comprehensive, high-quality healthcare that is free at point of use. However, more than ideals, the many individuals who were nominated were recognised for their hard work, talent, determination and willingness to go above and beyond.

We look forward to seeing you all again next year for the Unsung Hero Awards 2019. Until then know that:

For the words that go unsaid,

And the deeds that go unseen,

A hero lives in you,

And the unsung work that you do.

For any media enquires, please email: or call 0161 509 1255

Written by Laura Tomlinson, Event Organiser and Marketing Assistant at the UnsungHeroAwards 


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