Here is the full list of 2017 Visitor Sunshine Award winners.
Awards chosen by The Visitor readers (with voting percentages).
BUSINESS award sponsored by Arndale Morecambe Bay
WINNER: Pottery Basement 54.3%
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Morecambe Hotel 24.4%, Seatruck Ferries 21.3%
SPORT award sponsored by X-Force at 3-1-5
WINNER: Thomas Neill 74.1%
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Morecambe Bay Storm 19.5%, Stuart Robinson 6.4%
COMMUNITY GROUP award sponsored by Cumberland Building Society
WINNER: The Exchange Creative Community 40.4%
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Morecambe Bay Credit Union 33.9%, The Morecambe Community Music Melting Pot Project 25.7%
HEALTH HERO award sponsored by Holywell Care Group
WINNER: Sharon Jackson 36.6%
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Dr Andrew Foster 32.6%, Nia Greer 30.8%
ENTERTAINMENT award sponsored by Opus North
WINNER: Stuart Michaels 47.8%
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Tracey Austin 29.4%, The League of Splendid 22.8%
UNSUNG HERO award sponsored by Specsavers
WINNER: Pete Neaves 45%
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Paul and Michelle Good 35.8%, Maggie Lincoln 19.2%
We received more than 12,000 votes.
Votes were cast by our readers online and through the post.
Awards chosen by The Visitor editorial panel
AMBASSADOR award sponsored by Wright and Lord: Jim Bentley
YOUNG ACHIEVER award sponsored by Plaza Blinds and Carpets: Reece Holt
WHAT THEY SAID:
Stuart Michaels (Entertainment award winner): “For the first time in my life I’m stuck for words.
“I was just happy to be nominated. It means more to me than you probably realise. I moved to this town when I was nine years old and I fell in love with it, and that’s why I try to do so much to put things on for people in Morecambe, to bring it back to its heyday, and I’ll continue to keep doing it as well. This means the world to me.
“Reece Holt is the real hero in my eyes. What an inspiration that young man is. We all have a whinge about what happens in our daily life but for a young man to have the courage to do what he’s done is amazing.
“Thank you to my mum Denise and my girlfriend Jemma.”
Sharon Jackson from the Neuro Drop-In Centre, Lancaster (Health Hero award winner): “A feel a bit like I should be on The X Factor!
“The Neuro Drop-In Centre is a totally amazing place, but I didn’t found it on my own, I did it with an amazing team of volunteers.”
Mal Neill (father of Sport award-winner, 17-year-old go-karter Thomas Neill): “Thomas suffers from Autistic Spectrum Disorder which was diagnosed when he was five.
“He still does mainstream schooling, he used to enjoy football but the autistic side got the best of him when he had crowds around him, and it still shows when he’s racing go-karts professionally.
“You can always tell when he’s suffering because he’ll start on pole position and end up at the back of the grid after the first corner.
“But he’s the champion of catching up and overtaking, and setting lap records around the country.
“He’s won 53 podium places and he’s just been offered a place by the Motorsport Association at their academy at Loughborough College.
“They have recognised his skills. “It’s not a cheap sport to take part in so if anyone wants to sponsor him...?
“Thomas pays for a lot of it himself when we run out of money!”
2016: Ambassador John McGuinness, Unsung Hero Gary Butler, Community Group Morecambe Carnival Committee, Entertainment Nice‘n’ Sleazy festival, Business The Exchange pub, Sport Dave Chisnall
2015: Ambassador Morecambe Football Club, Unsung Hero Barbara Mortensen, Community Group West End Impact, Entertainment Kieran Engelke, Business Gerry’s Fishing Tackle, Sport Frank Wilkinson, Young Person Georgia Hannam
2014: Ambassador Eric Morecambe, Unsung Hero Annette Smith, Community Group Morecambe Bay Foodbank, Sport Ken Richardson, Entertainment Nice ‘n’Sleazy festival, Business -Battersby Silver Grey, Culture Howard Rogerson
2013: Ambassador Cedric Robinson MBE, Unsung Hero Emma Hamilton, Community Group Homestart Lancaster and Morecambe, Sport Scott Thornton, Entertainment Ivan Harrison, Business Pedder Street News
2012: Ambassador The Heartbreaks, Unsung Hero Don Holroyd, Community Group Morecambe Brass Band Association, Sport John McGuinness, Business James Baxter & Son, Entertainment Joyce Warrington MBE
2011: Ambassador PaulHayes, Community Raj Patel, Sport Alan Gale, Green Furniture Matters, Business Morecambe FC, Entertainment Kathryn MacDonald
2010: Personality Ronné Coyles, Community Tony Smart MBE, Sport Ryan Done, Entertainment Simon Armstrong, Business Morecambe Bay Wines
For more photos and video of the 2017 Sunshine Awards sponsored by Wright and Lord solicitors go to www.facebook.com/thevisitornewspaper
Photos by Donna Clifford.
Music at the Sunshine Ball came from Stuart Michaels and St John’s Hospice choir. A grand total of £1,329 was raised for St John’s Hospice from an auction and raffle. Thank you to the businesses who donated items and all our sponsors including drinks reception sponsors The Carpetman.