ONE VOICE ANNUAL DINNER 2021
DINNER CELEBRATES LOCAL HEROES AND REMEMBERS LIVES LOST
In a breathtaking and emotionally charged evening community workers, volunteers and health professional were among those honoured at the 1V Awards.
The ninth One Voice Annual Dinner, celebrating the charity’s 10th anniversary, and the 1V Awards took place on Saturday.
The awards celebrated the very best of community people and groups in Blackburn with Darwen. Awards included the Aya Hachem Young Person, Group, Man and Woman of the Year.
The dinner was hosted by 14-year-old Witton Park Academy student Sara Hussain and supported by Pleckgate High School student, Shahida Hafeji.
It was held at King George’s Hall in Blackburn and was arranged by charity One Voice Blackburn. Over 400 guests attended the glittering showpiece.
The event featured key-note speechesdelivered by Dr Fazal Dad, Principal of Blackburn College, the Director of NHSBT Anthony Clarkson, and Councillor Mohammed Khan. There was also a stunning performance by BANNED Cohesion pop group.
The guests were treated to a touching commemoration video which included messages from those who had lost loved ones in the last 18 months. There was not a dry eye in the main hall in King George’s Hall.
The Annual Dinner was sponsored by Together Housing, Blackburn College, NHS Blood and Transplant, Humraaz Support Services and Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council.
The Aya Hachem Young Person of the Year award, sponsored by Blackburn College, was won by Muhammad Bapu, who said, “‘I am absolutely delighted and very proud that it’s a local award from people who are working with me, and know me, and that makes it even more important.”
The Award was presented by Aya’s mum Samar Salame, who told the audience,
“I am really proud that you have chosen to name an award after my daughter Aya Hachem. She would have really liked this gesture.”
The Group of the Year was won by Benefit Mankind, sponsored by Together Housing, for their work through the Covid-19 pandemic. On accepting the award, Dr Abdussamad Mulla said, “This is a big team effort from a variety of volunteers. May Allah (God) give us strength to continue the good work with other partners and agencies.”
Tinta Ali who was awarded Man of the Year, sponsored by HPA Solicitors, expressed his delight at winning the award. “I really didn’t expect this. I can’t believe it. Blackburn and the people of Blackburn are my family, a very big family.
The Woman of the Year award, sponsored by Heritage Fund, went to Danni Whitehead for her work with providing hygiene products to those in poverty and setting up an animal rescue centre.
“This award isn’t just for me, it’s all those people who have supported my efforts in alleviating hygiene poverty in the local area.”
The awards culminated in the John Roberts Outstanding Achievement Award, which was presented to Professor Dominic Harrison for his exceptional work during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Thank you to all at One Voice Blackburn for this award. This is my most important achievement as it has been giuven to me by the community in which I serve,” said Dominic Harrison.
“There is no doubt that without the collective efforts of everyone from all of our local communities, we would have seen more deaths. I am very proud and honoured to have been the local Director of Public Health during this time and I very grateful to you all for this wonderful award.”
The 1V Awards also featured the Mohammed Khan Leadership Award which was presented to Blackburn Muslim Burial Society.
Blackburn Muslim Burial Society Leader Imran Patel said, “We’re delighted to be recognised in this way. It means that we are doing something right which is ultimately of the utmost importance. We are committed to continue working closely with the coroner, hospital trust, hospital mortuary CCG, paramedics, registrars, cemetery, doctors, the police, the masjids and, most importantly, the community to improve the burial system and raise awareness of the needs of the Muslim community.”
One Voice Chairman Abrar Hussain said, “What started as a small community gathering has now become a major civic event promoting diversity in the town, and we are immensely proud of that.”
“This was our tenth anniversary celebration, but it was also a coming together of our local community after a challenging and often heartbreaking last 19 months.
“We would like to congratulate the winners and all of the nominees in the 1V Awards.”