The 6 Towns Radio Awards returned to celebrate local heroes for the seventh year running.
The event was held at The Mitchell Arts Centre, Hanley, on Tuesday February 27. This year, there were a record number of votes recorded, compared to previous years.
As the excited crowd members shuffled into their seats, you could feel the sense of community in the room. The lights dimmed and the comedic video of 6 Towns Radio presenter, Dan Townley, opened the evening.
If you follow the 6 Towns Radio page, you may have seen similar comical clips of Dan and presenter Terry Bossons. The video featured Dan in a desperate attempt to find Terry (#FindTerry). He was eventually located in Mow Cop (with help from Chewbacca) with a grizzly beard and pink dressing gown. The tape set the tone for the evening; one of laughter and Dan being the butt of many jokes.
Dan made his grand entrance on a modified mobility scooter decorated with mod-esque mirrors. He welcomed Terry as co-host, to complete Stoke’s dynamic duo. Heckles from the crowd suggested that they were the Stokie version of Dick and Dom, or Max and Paddy.
The audience were serenaded by the soulful voices of married couple The Hewitts. They performed velvety smooth covers including the ballad ‘Cry Me A River’.
Dan and Terry returned to stage to begin announcing who had bagged awards, starting with The Swan, Betley, as Pub of the Year.
Gogglebox star Sandra Martin revealed the winner of Best Local Film as ‘Crispy’s Curse’ by John Williams. The film features a Christian heavy metal band on a mission to defeat Crispy the killer clown.
Team of the Year, a new award this year, went to Embrace Radio. The team, all of whom have learning disabilities, host the Embrace Show on 6 Towns Radio. Dan Townley started to coach them back in June 2017, and got emotional when handing out the award. Dan said, “In just eight months, they’ve turned into five incredible radio presenters, but more importantly, five friends.”
The Sentinel won the Heritage Award, much to Editor Martin Tideswell’s surprise. Martin thought he was only there to present an award. Dan and Terry joked they now want to see themselves on The Sentinel’s ‘Top 100 Influential People in Staffordshire’ list.
Former Vale manager Micky Adams and mascot Boomer presented the Port Vale Player of the Year award to Tom Pope. Micky expressed his views on the team and said it was a “shame to see Vale where they are at the minute”. He went on to win the Services to Port Vale Award later in the evening.
Egghead’s Chris Hughes announced The Shed Bistro as Restaurant of the Year, whilst Milton Chippy bagged Takeaway of the Year.
Alan and Cheryl Gerrard, winners of the Community Champions award, were not able to make it to the event. Instead, they were in Lidice, a village in the Czech Republic that was wiped out by the Nazis. Lidice was rebuilt with the help of people from Stoke-on-Trent. The couple were filmed talking about their trip and Terry presenting them with the award.
The Honorary Stokie award went to Paul Williams, who played a major part in the Stoke-on-Trent City of Culture 2021 bid. Paul was beaming with pride for the city as he said, “The city has got its swagger back. It’s the people that make a difference and make Stoke a city of culture.”
Former Stoke City worker and registered clown Neil Baldwin (Nello) presented Ricardo Fuller with the award for Services to Stoke City. He went on to make a speech about the Nazi’s, Phillip Astley and the circus.
Singer/songwriter Samantha Lloyd sung the audience into the interval with two of her original tracks.
Back in their seats, the audience were welcomed with another series of video clips portrayed like an advertisement break, from KFC to the Winter Olympics.
Dan Budd geared everyone up for the second half with an exciting performance as his Robbie Williams tribute act.
Lucas Yeomans was welcomed onto the stage to present BBC Radio Stoke with the Hall of Fame award. He joked, “I was going to do a speech about Nazi’s and the circus, but I think I’ll leave that out.”
Stoke City Player of the Year award was won by Joe Allen for the second year running. As he couldn’t be there, Terry and Dan grabbed two men from the audience, named Joe and Alan, to accept the award on his behalf.
The Special Recognition award went to Alan May, an ‘unsung hero’ who constantly raises money for 6 Towns Radio, whilst the Services to Local Music award went to Marcus Birks. Marcus said, “It’s a pleasure to say I’m from Stoke-on-Trent. We have the best musicians in the world.”
Terry Bossons invented ‘Oatcake Day’, so it was no surprise to see an award for Oatcake Shop of the Year, which was won by Castle Oatcakes.
The Jordan Burndred Memorial Fund took the title of Charity of the Year, who will now receive help from 6 Towns Radio when fundraising. The charity raises money for Cardiac Risk in the Young in order to fund free heart screenings for young people.
Presenting the Single of the Year award was Lee Barber. Lee usually organises the Music Awards of Staffordshire and Cheshire, however the event is not being held this year. 6 Towns Radio added the Single of the Year award in honour of the event. Four-piece indie band Pacific won the award with their single ‘Life in Short’.
Robbie tribute act Dan Budd took away ‘Tribute Act of the Year’, with 17-year-old Lissy Taylor winning ‘Local Music Act of the Year’. The young singer/songwriter had moved to the US for two and a half years, but returned to Stoke-on-Trent in summer 2017. She said that in other parts of the world, “you don’t get the same community feel as here.”
Adam Finney, singer/songwriter and Team GB gymnast, closed the awards ceremony with his guitar and loop pedal, with a cover of Superstition by Stevie Wonder, and original track ‘Running’.
The awards night proved how talented, diverse and community-driven our city of Stoke-on-Trent is, and how proud the people of Stoke are of their city. There was a real sense of camaraderie and passion for the city, which was celebrated in true Stokie style.
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