NON-EXECUTIVE chairman Kath Lavery says being a shortlisted finalist in the Pride of East Yorkshire Awards has helped strengthen the growing reputation of the Neil Hudgell Solicitors Trust.
The Trust, which supports small groups and projects making a positive impact in their communities with grants of up to £2,500, was a finalist in the Business in Community category at the Hull Daily Mail event.
It was beaten to top business prize by a very worthy winner in dentist Chris Branfield, who volunteers his time to treat children in countries where there is no access to dental care.
However, the recognition of firstly being nominated, and then making the final shortlist, was an indication of the Trust’s growing reputation for supporting local projects and giving back to communities across Hull and the East Riding.
“We are very proud to have been shortlisted and the hundreds of people who were there at the awards ceremony watched a great video on the work of the Trust over the past two years. It gave a really strong impression of how Neil Hudgell Solicitors is a company rooted in community values,” said Mrs Lavery.
“It was really clear that Neil and Jo Hudgell, having grown up in Hull and still living in the city, enjoy supporting the communities they grew up in, and that they do it simply to give something back. That was the really strong message.”
Mrs Lavery, who became the first chair of the board at the company in 2013, says it was a night which made her proud to be part of the business.
“It makes me feel absolutely sure I did the right thing when I was asked to join the business,” she said.
“Like any event of this kind, you’re suddenly made aware there are some really good people in the world.”
Overall winner on the night was 13-year-old Hope Rooms, from Swanland, who was diagnosed with cancer in February.
Despite being in pain and having to give up hobbies including horse riding as she was left with a curved spine and unaligned shoulders from a tumour in her abdomen, she has never once complained about her illness.
She has endured months of chemotherapy and is currently undergoing radiotherapy five days a week, for six weeks, but returned to school this week after the summer holidays. Despite her own illness, she has also been fundraising and supporting other young cancer patients, and comforting other parents in hospital while their children undergo initial tumour investigations.
Hope was also named Child of Courage, while other winners included Richard Lunt, of east Hull, who was named the region’s Local Hero and George Coope, of Willerby, who was named Inspiring Youngster.
Helen and Jason Davies were named Charity Champions of the year after raising more than £50,000 in under two years for the neo-natal unit at Hull Women and Children’s Hospital.
“You read so much and see so much, particularly now and in the press, about rotten things in the world and you can become very dispirited,” added Mrs Lavery.
“At an event like this convinces you, if you need convincing, that the world is full of good people doing great things for no particular reward, but just because they want to do it.
“It restores your faith in human nature. The room was full of great people doing great things and it was a great atmosphere.”
The Trust was shortlisted in recognition of having donated more than £100,000 to more than 150 groups and projects which are making a positive difference in their communities over the past 24 months.
It also followed a commitment recently to increase our annual fund to £100,000 from £60,000, making up to £2,500 available to individual groups each time.