On the evening of the 17th November, the 30th Anniversary Your Champions Awards ceremony was held at the Crown Plaza Hotel, Chester. This annual Awards campaign honours the unsung heroes of the local community in Cheshire, Wirral and North East Wales.
The scene was set for a glittering event with the Lord Mayor of Chester Razia Daniels and guest speaker Colin Jackson.
At the end of these Awards the greatest accolade of Champion of Champions went to Neston’s very own unsung hero Alan Johnson, of Northern Light’s Children’s Charity. Following the event Alan said:
“What an absolutely brilliant night, so many worthy people present. What a shock for me though right at the end when they announced the Champion of Champions Award 2017. I had no idea and I’m very touched that people think I am worthy of the award just for doing something I enjoy. Many thanks to everyone involved.”
Alan became aware of the nomination as he, along with the audience, watched a moving short film about Alan’s role in the Northern Light’s Children’s Charity. Shot under the pretence of another purpose the audience heard of Alan’s role as secretary of Northern Lights Children’s Charity and how he was a founding member in 1987. The charity, formerly The Christopher Johnson Fund, was set up in memory of Christopher, Alan’s son, who tragically died at the age of 5 from a brain tumour earlier that year. The charity takes children with life limiting illnesses on a holiday of a lifetime to Lapland to meet Father Christmas and since its formation has helped over 500 children and raised over £800k.
For three decades Alan has continually fundraised for Northern Lights and has often been named the voice of the charity as he is often to be found with a microphone in hand cajoling supporters at fundraising events. His investment of time for the charity is amazing, he liaises with local authorities, drums up support wherever he goes and is also the Lapland trip coordinator. With now long established relationships Alan works with hospitals and organisations each year to identify children able to make the trip to Lapland. After 30 years of organising trips he manages with precision, entirely focused on the children and making them feel as special as possible.
Alan unfortunately also lost his wife to cancer in 2002, but together with his two daughters, Carolyn and Helen, he continues to dedicate his time to the charity started in his son’s name. We are all so proud of what has been achieved in Christopher’s memory.
Alan Johnson of Neston is joined by family members and fellow volunteers from Northern Lights with Colin Jackson, Stephen Stewart of ScottishPower and Carl Wood of Trinity Mirror
Karen Jones, Director of the Northern Light’s Charity, was also nominated as Volunteer of the Year. She was delighted for Alan and had this to say:
“A very well deserved award for someone who has worked tirelessly for over 30 years to help so many children in his son’s memory, a little 5-year-old boy who lost his battle against a brain tumour, a life that was cut so short but one that so many other children have now benefited from. Alan is a very special man, with a heart of pure gold. We all feel very honoured to work with him.”
Northern Lights Children’s Charity is having a bumper celebratory year for its 30th Anniversary. Please, visit their facebook page to find out more about their amazing work – https://www.facebook.com/northernlights.childrenscharity/