Mayor's award winner 2024 Donald Jones

Borough’s unsung heroes honoured at Mayor’s charity ball

Unsung heroes from the world of sport, business, environment, arts, community and education were celebrated at a charity ball tonight. (Fri)

The Mayor’s Ball and Civic Awards 2024 - which this year had a 1940s theme to tie in with the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings - took place in front of more than 200 people at the Copthorne Hotel in Brierley Hill.

The evening, sponsored by Midtherm, Jewson and HP & Sons Construction and Restoration, raised thousands of pounds for four charities – Dudley Community First Responders, Prostate Cancer UK, Mary Stevens Hospice and Ups & Downs.

But it was also an opportunity to celebrate the winners of the annual civic awards, split into seven categories and all sponsored by local companies.

The winner of the William Shenstone award for environment, sponsored by Midtherm, went to Lloyd Stacey for playing a leading role in the renovation and establishment of Riverside House along the Stourbridge canal.

Hannah Picken took the runner-up award for her work in schools, colleges and businesses encouraging people to be more environmentally conscious.

Youth worker David Jukes won the Thomas Attwood Award for Education, sponsored by Jewson. He was recognised for his work in the community, and praised for a popular weekly bike club he runs for kids and their parents teaching road safety and helping with fitness. Judith Morris – who has given more than 60 years service to St John Ambulance teaching youngsters first aid - was named as runner-up.

The Duncan Edwards Award for Sport, sponsored by HP & Sons Construction and Restoration, went to professional boxer Ben Collins. Fighting out of a gym in Brierley Hill, he is an inspiration to youngsters and led a campaign to secure funding to supply free fruit at the gym. Martin Searle, who overcame an organ transplant to continue taking part in sport and has encouraged many others to do so, was named as runner-up.

Karen Fielder, the chief executive of The Connect Project, was the winner of the Mike Holder Award for Business, sponsored by Midtherm. The group helps the vulnerable by running foodbanks and going into homes offering advice and support on a range of topics from debts to learning new skills. Jemma Cooke, landlady of The Cabin pub in Sedgley, took the runner-up prize.

The trophy for the winner of Cedric Hardwicke Award for Arts, sponsored by Jewson, went to Alan Birch for establishing the Black Country Horror Shorts Film Festival and putting Stourbridge on the international map.

Jeanette Greenaway, still singing and dancing well into her 70s after performing with am dram group Startime Variety for more than 50 years, walked away with the runner-up prize.

College lecturer and charity fundraiser Phil Brooks was the winner of the Frank Foley Award for Community Spirit, sponsored by HP & Sons Construction and Restoration. The Dudley College photography lecturer has led students and staff on mountain climbs and has helped raise thousands for the charity Ronnie & Friends to help bereaved parents.

Aimee Garratt, who overcame the tragic loss of a child to set up the charity, was runner-up.

The penultimate award was the Mayor’s Award, won this year by pensioner Donald Jones. The 90-year-old has dedicated his life to community service in Halesowen through the Scouts, Age Concern, Mind, the Sons of Rest and his local church. He has even completed two trips to Romania to take essential supplies.

Finally Isabelle Wilkins was the inaugural winner of the YOU West Midlands Youth Award, set up to recognise young people in the borough in honour of Ben Corfield.

Ben was an active volunteer in the community until tragically losing his life in 2022, aged just 19.

Isabelle, an active member of the 1st Brierley Hill Guides and a carer at home to her younger brother and her father, was presented with the award by Richard Boot OBE, deputy lieutenant of the West Midlands.

Kevin O’Keefe, chief executive of Dudley Council, said:

The Mayor’s Ball and Civic Awards is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the unsung heroes of our borough. These people do tireless work, often for little financial reward, to improve the lives of people around them.

I was really pleased to meet some of them on the night and find out more about what they do.

I would also like to thank everyone who came tonight and dug deep to take part in games and raffles to help raise money for the Mayor’s charities, which rely heavily on public donations.

Notes to editors

Pictured : Pensioner Donald Jones with his Mayor's award certificate.

Contact Information

Dudley Council