THE spotlight shone on a children’s charity from Wirral as it was named an overall winner of the Your Champions awards.
Northern Lights, based in Neston, took the overall Champion Team of the Year title at a glittering awards ceremony last Friday at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Chester.
The charity is run by volunteers, and impressed judges with their commitment to bringing happiness to seriously ill children.
Formed 25 years ago, they give youngsters with a life threatening illness the chance to go on holiday to a luxury resort in Lapland and meet Father Christmas.
It was set up in memory of Alan Johnson’s five-year-old son, Christopher, who developed a brain tumour but sadly passed away.
The group of nine volunteers on the committee won the Wirral team award to go through to the overall awards ceremony.
Alan said: “Children come from north west and north Wales, referred by doctors from Alder Hey and Manchester Children’s Hospitals.
“We try and take 12 children away each year. As this year is our 25th anniversary, we are taking 24 children to find Santa Claus.
“The biggest thing is the kids forget about their illness and enjoy themselves. They come back different children with a positive outlook and optimistic about their treatment.
“We get pleasure from seeing the children happy, it brightens up their lives a bit.”
The awards ceremony for the Trinity Mirror/ScottishPower Your Champions campaign was marking its 25th anniversary.
Our Wirral winners for each category were among the guests for the glamorous night with former world snooker champion Dennis Taylor as a VIP.
They were Danielle Lowe for Sporting Champion, Hazel Roberts Volunteer Champion, Paul Davis Person Champion, and James Sadler Young Person Champion.
British gymnast, Beth Tweddle, from Bunbury, was the star of the show as she was declared the Champion of Champions.
Fans flocked to have their picture taken with the Olympic bronze medallist and get her autograph.
Commercial director at Trinity Mirror North West & North Wales Carl Wood had opened the proceedings by welcoming all the winners, their guests and civic dignitaries to the silver jubilee event.
He said: “It is my great pleasure to say how proud we are at Trinity Mirror to be associated with this truly fantastic community initiative.
“The main reason we are here is to celebrate the achievements of some very special people who have shown great courage and bravery.
“They are all truly remarkable people.”
Neil Clitheroe, chief executive of retail and generation, at Scottish Power also paid tribute to Roy Jones MBE, community liaison manager at ScottishPower and the main driving force behind Your Champions for the past seven years.
Northern Lights is holding a charity ball on November 30 at Thornton Hall. Tickets cost £39.50, available from 336 2515.