Capture14LOCAL heroes have been honoured at a glittering celebration of achievements across the region’s Black and Minority Ethnic communities.

A packed crowd attended the 2015 Tees Valley BME Achievement Awards at the Middlesbrough Hotel to recognise the contributions of individuals, organisations and businesses.

This year’s event – supported by Middlesbrough College and Tees Valley Unlimited – was a timely reminder of the wealth of achievement and talent across the area.

The ceremony is now in its seventh year and was once again hosted by Nazir Afzal, former Chief Crown Prosecutor for the North West of England, with speeches by leading local figures including Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald.

This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Mark White who runs the Head Vice Chancellor’s Office at Teesside University.

BME Network Partnership Manager Idrees Rashid said: “Mark has selflessly given so much to communities and institutions over many years and is one of the most genuine, articulate and kindest people you would ever want to meet.

“He has brought amazing benefits both to the region as whole and to an establishment which is crucial to a thriving and prosperous economy.

“He is the most worthy winner of a Lifetime Achievement Award imaginable.”

The full list of winners at the Tees Valley BME Achievement Awards 2015 is:

  • Lifetime Achievement Award – Mark White
  • Youth Individual Award – Shabana Rafiq
  • Youth Organisation Award – Middlesbrough Council Stronger Families Youth Team
  • Community Individual Award – Laylah Ashour
  • Community Organisation Award – Investing In People And Culture
  • BME Business of the Year – Kashmir Food Store
  • BME Business Person of the Year – Riaz Hameed
  • Housing Sector Organisation of the Year – North East Procurement Ltd
  • Housing Sector Diversity Champion – Nadeem Ahmed
  • BME Woman of the Year – Shazia Ghani
  • Education Award – Sabrina Din, Teacher Time
  • Public Sector Award – Middlesbrough Mela Management Committee

Mr Rashid said: “All our nominees and award winners make a real difference to the diverse communities that make up this vibrant area.

“It is an honour for us to be able to celebrate the individual and collective achievements of so many truly inspiring people.

“Their tireless dedication, commitment and hard work make a real difference not just Middlesbrough but to the whole Tees Valley.

“I’d like to congratulate all the winners and those shortlisted in each category.”

Zoe Lewis, Principal and Chief Executive of sponsors Middlesbrough College, said: “As a college we are fully committed to encouraging and celebrating equality and diversity and the BME Achievement Awards are always one of the highlights of the year.

“It’s an opportunity to recognise some of the amazing people who devote time and energy to help make our communities better places for everyone.”

Linda Edworthy, Director of Strategy and Investment with Awards Partner Tees Valley Unlimited, said: “Our BME community has a great track record of encouraging entrepreneurial spirit and recognising and celebrating business success, delivering jobs and driving economic growth.

“The Awards are an important annual opportunity to put the spotlight on some truly inspirational achievements.”

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