Sheridan in tears as Isle charity night honours unsung heroes

Award Ceremony Epworth.           L>R Maxine Strong, Sheridan Smith, Ethan Bettany
Award Ceremony Epworth. L>R Maxine Strong, Sheridan Smith, Ethan Bettany

A glittering and emotive tribute night to the Isle’s most inspirational people has raised around £10,000 for charity.

Epworth actress Sheridan Smith was moved to tears as she congratulated winners of the Lex’s Legacy Pride of the Isle Awards at the second annual event held in Westwoodside.

The night takes place in honour of Alexander Strong, and his remarkable strength as he suffered with a rare form of cancer that claimed his short life two years ago.

Over 400 people put on their best to show the strength of community, and applaud those of great bravery or selflessness, while remembering Alexander.

The outright winners of three categories were teen cancer sufferer Ethan Bettany, Kira Yates who has Apert Syndrome, and transplant patient Lisa Stainton.

They were three of nine worthy finalists, with the most inspirational award made to mum of three Deb McNaughton, who has terminal cancer and was unfortunately too unwell to attend. Chair of Pride of the Isle committee Leesa Sharpe accepted the award on her behalf.

Other recipients were supportive father Steve Hayes, community kids’ champion Adi Sherwood, mum-in-a-million Karen Bettany, community stalwart Julie Reed, brain tumour battler Rachel Hurst with her twin Jordan and two-year old Amber Ghag who has leukaemia.

The night of tears and joy included top entertainment from Isle band The Torn, with singer Kay Gale and the ENA Academy dancers.

Revellers sang along with awards patron Sheridan Smith as she took to the stage to round off the evening by belting out Dolly Parton’s ‘9 to 5’ alongside brother Damien and the Torn.

Chair Leesa Sharpe said: “I thank everyone who came along to make this an incredibly special evening.”

(Full report with pictures in this week’s Epworth Bells. Photo: Lesley Pickersgill)