Spotlight on local heroes in Leeds


A teenager and octogenarians were among the winners of Leeds Jewish Welfare Board's annual pride awards, which attracted more than 6,000 votes from the local community.

Eighty-nine year old keep-fit instructor Hilda Mitchell received a female life-achievement award.

Mrs Mitchell said being given the award was "the best thing that ever happened to me in my life".

Rebecca Weinberg, LJWB chief executive, described Mrs Mitchell as "a legend at LJWB, an amazing lady who has been working as a volunteer for the past 40 years. She has improved the well-being of so many people."

The male life-achievement award was scooped by eighty-six year old businessman, philanthropist and former Leeds United chairman Leslie Silver OBE. Mr Silver said he was "overwhelmed. I think many people in the community deserve the award better than I do but nevertheless I'm honoured."

Donisthorpe Hall chairman Andrew Brown said Mr Silver was "a beacon of light. We are so lucky to have Leslie as an ambassador for the Leeds Jewish community. Over the years his philanthropy has known no bounds."

Seventeen-year-old A-level student Oliver Abrahamson, a youth leader at the Zone, picked up the under-18 young personality award. The community staff member award went to Helen Frais, project manager at Makor; sports person of the year went to triathlon runner Ivan Green; business person of the year to Martin Port, founder of UK technology company Masternaut; and the community volunteer award went to 37-year-old Alexa Harris, whose volunteering includes for Wizo, the Scout movement and the Zone youth club.

Howard Lee, founder of Onstage, a charity group, won male personality of the year; and fundraiser Elayne Peter won the female equivalent. The United Hebrew Congregation's Naomi Levi was named as the educator of the year and Michelle Raw picked up the carer of the year award.

A special award was presented to Jane Clynes, chair and organiser of the event since its launch in 2008.

"Jane is an amazing force, and we are fortunate to have her leadership and energy in taking the Pride Awards forward. It is her drive and vision that makes things happen," said Mrs Weinberg.

The dinner and awards ceremony were staged at the Etz Chaim Synagogue in front of 250 people, raising £15,000 for LJWB.

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