Newcastle-under-Lyme heroes awards

Newcastle Heroes winners

The winners of the inaugural Newcastle Borough Heroes awards have been chosen.

Selected for their contributions to communities in the borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme, the three winners were unveiled at awards ceremony at Keele Hall.

They include a young scout leader creating opportunities for others, a committed volunteer helping a community venue and a respected historian committed to preserving the region’s heritage.

Simon Tagg, Leader of Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, said:

"The 'Newcastle Borough Heroes, awards were created as part of the year-long celebrations of the 850th anniversary of Newcastle-under-Lyme’s incorporation as a borough and I can think of no better way of marking the event than by celebrating those who help make our communities a better place to live. 

"Those who were selected are outstanding examples of people who have taken it upon themselves to make a difference to the lives of those around them.

"Although I am well aware that there are so many doing good things in the Borough, the sponsors and I were tremendously impressed by the quality of all the nominations.”

The first winners of what stands to become an annual event are as follows:

The Community Champion Award, sponsored by Staffordshire County Council

Briony BowlerBriony Bowler has been involved with scouts since the age of six. Supporting the Beaver and Cub sections at the 94th Keele Scout Group as a young leader from the age of 14, once Briony turned 18 she proposed launching a scout section for older youngsters - an idea that hadn’t got off the ground previously.

This time her energy and enthusiasm made it work and she used all her ingenuity to keep it going during the pandemic. Now around 50 youngsters attend, under the supervision of 12 leaders, where once there was nothing.

The Young Hero Award, sponsored by Synectics Solutions

Young hero Gill BHannah Wollas volunteered to help at Kidsgrove Sports Centre when it opened and has simply gone from strength to strength.

The 17-year-old began by cleaning, trained to become a receptionist and is now a qualified volunteer life guard – all the while still helping out around the building. Hannah is now the centre’s first apprentice and is preparing to undertake the training necessary to qualify as both a swimming and fitness instructor.

The Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Staffordshire University

Jim WorganJim Worgan is a walking archive of the history of the Borough and wider North Staffordshire, having spent 40 years researching.

The last curator of Chatterley Whitfield mining museum until its closure in 1993, Jim remains an authority on the history of coal and ironstone mining here. Between 1990 and 2017 he gathered and extensive collection of photographs, articles and memorabilia connected to the industry, which he donated to the Brampton Museum and Apedale Heritage Centre.

Having already been granted the Freedom of the Borough in 2021, Jim is still an active member of a wide range of local groups and society giving tirelessly of his time and expertise and shares his knowledge of our heritage with public talks.