The winners of the 2021 Brass Bands England Awards were announced at the organisation's annual conference on the weekend.
BBE Chairman Mike Kilroy revealed the identities of the six category winners selected by the Brass Bands England board of trustees following initial nomination by the banding public.
The awards credit those who have made an exceptional contribution within the banding community and wider community through leading innovative creative projects, bringing positive social change, championing inclusion and diversity, or inspiring a new generation of musicians.
Two new categories were added this year to recognise the outstanding contribution made by individuals for the benefit of their organisation and its members, conquering challenges, or going above and beyond for their band.
Speaking about the awards BBE Chairperson Mike Kilroy told 4BR: "I'm absolutely thrilled to present these awards. In these challenging times it is more important than ever that we reflect on and celebrate good practice within our community.
Our congratulations go to all the award winners and to those who recognised their wonderful contributions and nominated them."
The BBE Innovation Award went to John Ward, MD of Fulham Brass Band for his outstanding efforts in keeping his band enthused and inspired by a series of inventive on-line initiatives — including a Christmas Concert featuring local born hosts such as comedian Jack Dee, and Olympic champion Sebastian Coe amongst others.
The Social Impact Award went to Astley Youth Unlimited Band — for their inspirational work in linking up with members of their local community to rediscover their passion for music making — and brass bands in particular.
Two remarkable young musicians in Matthew and Olivia Hurst claimed the Outstanding Contribution Award (under 18) for their incredible fund raising efforts — raising thousands of pounds by giving 33 performances in and around their local community throughout cold December nights.
Meanwhile, the Outstanding Contribution Award went to Samantha Harrison who continues to be a beacon of inspiration for the Elland Band organisation.
Another inspirational figure in Julie Allen MBE of Birkwood Primary School in Yorkshire was the recipient of the Brian W Hicks Memorial Shield.
It was in recognition of her leadership in ensuring that music, and brass band music making in particular has become an integral part of the education provision within the school and local community.
Finally, the Lifetime Achievement Award went to Richard Evans — one of the banding movement's most popular and successful conductors.
To find out more about the award winners go to: https://www.bbe.org.uk/Awards
In these challenging times it is more important than ever that we reflect on and celebrate good practice within our communityBBE Chairperson Mike Kilroy
Brass Bands England Innovation Award
Brass Bands England Social Impact Award
Astley Unlimited Band
Brass Bands England Outstanding Contribution Award (18 and Under)
Brian W Hicks Memorial Shield for Services to Youth
Julie Allen MBE
Brass Bands England Lifetime Achievement Award