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Winners announced at Manchester’s biggest ever awards ceremony

The inaugural I Love MCR Awards brought together over 750 most-loved people in what was the biggest awards event the city has ever seen

Over 750 people attended the glittering show and ceremony which celebrated Manchester individuals, charities, community groups and businesses in all their glory.

Taking place at a former factory in Piccadilly, the very first I Love MCR Awards was officially the biggest Manchester awards event the city has ever seen.

All donations go to the I Love MCR Foundation, which helps raise vital funds to help improve the lives and prospects of people and communities across Greater Manchester.

Since the shortlist was released, over 100,000 public votes were cast, meanwhile an expert judge panel – including Tom Bloxham, Dave Haslam, Diane Modal, Carl Austin-Behan, David Scott, Terry
Christian, Stanley Chow, Ric Moylan, Emma McBeath, Paul Shannon, Gwenno Jones, Jenny Osbourne, Darren Proctor, Michelle Eagleton, Emma Richmond and Jacqueline Hughes-Lundy – assessed the nominations met with the brand values and criteria before coming to final conclusions

Gemma Atkinson, Will Mellor and stars of Coronation Street including Cait Fitton (who plays Lauren Bolton) and Elle Mulvaney (Amy Barlow) lined the red carpet for the inaugural I Love MCR Awards (23 November 2023).

Also joining them was Luca Toolan (who plays Mason Radcliffe and is in the midst of a big storyline) and Paddy Beaver, Max Turner, as well as Adam Hussain (Aadi Alahan on the show) and Liam McCheyne (Dylan Wilson).

Eamonn Holmes, Happy Radio’s Darren Proctor was accompanied by the cast from Real Housewives of Cheshire and sports stars from Manchester City and Everton women’s teams (Jess Park and Annie Hutchings and Meg Campbell respectively) were also spotted on the red carpet and helped to celebrate all that makes Manchester great.

The Royal Northern College of Music opened the show with a 20-piece orchestra set playing Bitter Sweet Symphony by The Verve.

The RNCM provided the soundtrack to the entire evening playing Manchester-born hits like Wonderwall by Oasis and The 195 before coming to a huge close playing Never Forget by Take That.

A real credit to the mega music college that recently celebrating its 50th birthday and is defining the future of music.

The Most-Loved Chef Award was won by Simon Wood and Most-Loved Restaurant (Smart) Award 2023 went to Hawksmoor Manchester. Hip Hop Chip Shop, Black Friar Pub and the Bolton Food Festival were other foodie winners on the night.

Other notable Manchester destinations also honoured include Alberts Schloss (Most Loved Bar), The Lowry Hotel (Most Loved Hotel), Depot Mayfield (Most Loved Entertainment Hub), the Science and Industry Museum (Most Loved Family Experience) and The Lowry theatre won Most Loved Arts/ Cultural Venue.

A number of Manchester individuals were also celebrated including; Beaumont Organic for Fashion Icon; Jane Kenyon from Girls Out Loud won the Emmeline Pankhurst Award in recognition of her work to advance gender equality, women’s right and empowerment; and Steve Hill MBE was awarded most Loved Community Leader.

Hannah Payton is the UK’s first fully qualified Zuma instructor with Downe’s Syndrome and she was awarded the Young Person of the Year Award 2023. This recognised her remarkable achievements, extraordinary efforts and significant impact she’s had on the community and been an inspiration to others to follow in her footsteps.

Most-Loved Community Organisation Award 2023 was awarded to Sober Gay Socials as the group most demonstrated I Love Manchester’s brand values including community, inclusivity at grass-roots level and the desire to promote the welfare of human beings collectively.

Other winners include Lisa Morton (Roland Dransfield PR), Tap Donate, Hive Homes, Tangerine PR, Hope Mill Theatre and Mustard Tree.

I Love MCR Awards 2023 Winners

The winner of the Most-Loved Community Organisation Award 2023 is: Sober Gay Socials

Presented by the Lord Mayor of the City of Manchester, Yasmin Dar

The Most-Loved Community Organisation Award recognises a local project or group that demonstrates I Love Manchester’s brand values including community, inclusivity at grass-roots level and the desire to promote the welfare of human beings collectively.

And the winner of the Most-Loved Community Leader Award 2023 is: Steve Hill MBE

Presented by the Lord Mayor of the City of Manchester, Yasmin Dar

The Most-Loved Community Leader awards celebrates an individual who demonstrates a big personality, strong leadership skills and social values, leading a certain community to new heights and making a real difference in their collective space.

And the winner of the Most-Loved Community Hub Award 2023 is: Hope Mill Theatre

Presented by the Founder and CO CEO of OBT Advisory, Paul Shannon

The Most-Loved Community Hub Award looks for a cafe, centre or communal space in the community that promotes humanity and the same rights, resources, and opportunities no matter where its inhabitants come from.

And the winner of the Most-Loved Charity Award 2023 is: Mustard Tree

Presented by the Founder and CEO of I Love MCR, Chris Greenhalgh

The Most-Loved Charity Award recognises the outstanding efforts of an organisation that is making a positive difference across Greater Manchester.

And the winner of the Young Person of the Year Award 2023 is: Hannah Payton

Sponsored by Palace Theatre and Opera House and presented by Robin Hawkes

The Young Person of the Year award recognises a remarkable young person from Greater Manchester looking at their exceptional achievements, extraordinary efforts along with someone who has made a significant impact on their community and inspired others to follow in their footsteps.

And the winner of the Most-Loved Marketing & PR Agency Award 2023 is: Tangerine

Chair of Greater Manchester Combined Authority Civic Leadership Programme & Head of Talent Inclusion at Sport England, Diane Modahl MBE

The Most-Loved Marketing & PR Agency award recognises organisations who can demonstrate exceptional work in executing a successful campaign that has resonated with clients and target audiences.

And the winner of the Most-Loved Restaurant (Smart) Award 2023 is: Hawksmoor Manchester

Sponsored by Destination 2, presented by Andy Botterill

The Most-Loved Restaurant (Smart) Award recognises a restaurant that goes above and beyond in creating a memorable dining experience for their customers, showcasing exceptional food, have an inviting atmosphere, and providing excellent customer service.

And the winner of the Most-Loved Restaurant (Casual) Award 2023 is: Hip Hop Chip Shop

Presented by Elite Performance Coach, Ric Moylan

The Most-Loved Restaurant (Casual) Award recognises the restaurant that goes above and beyond in creating a casual and accessible eatery for their customers.

And the winner of the Most-Loved Chef Award 2023 is: Simon Wood

This award is sponsored by and Presented by Natalie Wood

The Most-Loved Chef Award seeks to recognise the outstanding achievements and contributions of the most beloved and innovative chefs in the city region. The award acknowledges the importance of culinary excellence, innovation, consistency, customer service, and community involvement.

And the winner of the Most-Loved Pub Award 2023 is: The Black Friar

Presented by illustrator Stanley Chow

The Most-Loved Pub Award is awarded to the pub that is loved and cherished by locals and visitors alike. This award recognises the pub that has created an inviting and welcoming ambiance that people can enjoy, be it for a few drinks with friends or a cosy evening out with loved ones.

And the winner of the Most-Loved Bar Award 2023 is: Alberts Schloss

Sponsored by Glengoyne and presented by Suzanna Connolly

The Most-Loved Bar Award recognises a bar that goes above and beyond in providing exceptional service, atmosphere, and drinks to its patrons. The winning bar has demonstrated a dedication to the local community of which it serves.

And the winner of the Most-Loved Hotel Award 2023 is: The Lowry Hotel

Sponsored by AO Arena and presented by Sally Ward

The Most-Loved Hotel Award recognises a hotel that has consistently provided exceptional service to its guests. The winner has been recognised for their high standards of quality, professionalism, and customer satisfaction.

And the winner of the Most-Loved Entertainment Hub Award 2023 is: Depot Mayfield

Sponsored by Sterling Event Group and presented by Richard Bowden

The Most-Loved Entertainment Hub Award is an exceptional and remarkable recognition that has been thoughtfully designed to celebrate extraordinary Entertainment Hubs that offer top-notch and regularly scheduled events and entertainment programs, or an idyllic oasis of catering and retail options that embody and promote our brand’s core values.

And the winner of the Most Loved Family Experience Award 2023 is: Science and Industry Museum

Sponsored by Sapporo and presented by Andrew Whittaker

The Most-Loved Family Experience Award recognises a family-friendly experience or attraction that promotes education, imagination, creativity and fun for young people and their support network.

And the winner of the Most-Loved Arts/Cultural Venue Award 2023 is: The Lowry

Presented by Chairman and Founder of Urban Splash, Tom Bloxham MBE

The Most-Loved Cultural/Arts Venue award aims to recognise and celebrate an outstanding cultural or arts venue that has made a significant contribution to the Greater Manchester area. The award is given to a venue that has created a positive impact and fostered a sense of community by providing an exceptional cultural and arts experience.

And the winner of the Most Loved Live Event Award 2023 is: Bolton Food and Drink Festival

Sponsored by ConnectIn Events and presented by Penni Pennington

The Most-Loved Live Event Award recognises a public event or live activation that has demonstrated excellence in events coordination through concession, organisation, sustainability, economic prosperity and execution to the target audience…

And the winner of the Most-Loved Property Developer Award 2023 is: Hive Homes

Sponsored by Julie Twist Properties and presented by Julie Twist

The Most Loved Property Developer Award recognises a company who has demonstrated excellence in property development through exceptional dedication, innovation, quality of design, sustainability, and successful delivery of projects in the city region of Greater Manchester.

And the winner of the Most-Loved Fashion Icon Award 2023 is: Beaumont Organic

Presented by Presenter and DJ, Hattie Pearson

The Most-Loved Fashion Icon is a brand that has significantly influenced the fashion industry, inspiring new trends and setting the standard for excellence.

And the winner of the Innovator of the Year Award 2023 is: Tap Donate

Presented by Chair of Women in Property North West, Gwenno Jones

The Innovator of the Year award honours an individual or organisation that has demonstrated exceptional innovation and creativity. This award recognises individuals or organisations who have made significant contributions to their field through unique approaches and solutions.

And the winner of the Emmeline Pankhurst Award 2023 is: Jane Kenyon

Presented by Heritage Manager at the Pankhurst Centre, Emma McBeath

The Emmeline Pankhurst Award is given to an individual or group who has made significant contributions to advancing gender equality, women’s rights and empowerment, and women’s political participation throughout the Greater Manchester area and beyond.

And the winner of the Manchester Worker Bee Award 2023 is: Lisa Morton

Sponsored by Hilton Manchester Deansgate and presented by Martin Sromek

The final category aims to award an inspirational worker bee who has grafted their way to the top of their chosen field of work and left a permanent mark on their specific industry in the city region of Greater Manchester.

Commenting on their hosting duties, Bury-born Gemma Atkinson said: “I’m so chuffed this year that, along with the wonderful Will Mellor, I presented the I Love Manchester Awards. I cannot think of anything better than being on stage celebrating all the people of Manchester.”

The I Love MCR Awards offered nominated charities, community groups, disabled people and carers complimentary tickets to the contemporary ceremony, a first for an awards ceremony.

The awards are the brainchild of Chris Greenhalgh, founder and CEO of I Love MCR, who said:

I Love MCR is a trusted symbol of civic pride and solidarity in Manchester. We’ve been relied upon more than once to respond to adversity and we never cease to be surprised by the love and resilience that Manchester displays no matter what.

“Manchester is going through a cultural renaissance right now and the city is growing rapidly – what better way to recognise this than by championing the people who help make this city what it is, via a live event?

“Our relationship with this city has been SO overwhelmingly positive this past decade that we have built a big enough platform to award people and it really MEAN something.

“The support of the public has been immense with over 100,000 votes cast! Plus, all money donated towards this project will go straight to our community foundation – which aims to improve the lives and prospects of people across Greater Manchester.

“Well done, everyone. To just be named in the shortlist is a remarkable achievement. Everybody’s ace.”

The event was brought to you by ConnectIn Events and the first to take place at the newly launched Diecast, a brand-new former factory entertainment destination in Piccadilly.

“Special thank you to ConnectIn for making this massive event manageable and bringing my dream to life.”

The official after party started at 11pm with a set by Hacienda DJ Dave Haslam playing one of his classic sets while revellers continued the party surrounded by contemporary immersive dancers.

DJ and author Mr Haslam played to arms and awards in the air until 1am.

“I wanted to give my heartfelt gratitude for an absolutely spectacular evening,” said Yasmine Dar, the Lord Mayor of the City of Manchester, who presented the community awards.

“The event was simply fantastic! The music was extraordinary, the presenters engaging, the food delicious, the venue superb, the speech was inspiring, and, undoubtedly, the exceptional team made it all truly wonderful. Thank you for such an incredible experience. Oh and yes, Will Mellor, what can I say?”

Attendees weren’t shy in sharing their admiration of I Love Manchester’s very first awards event…

“Must be the best awards event I’ve been to and I’ve been to a few,” said attendee Chris Marsh, Managing Director at Agents Of.

“Congratulations for putting smiles on so many faces at the inaugural ILoveMCRAwards at Diecast this evening!”

Local artist and judge, Justin Eagleton, was gushing over the event:

“I’ve been to many awards events and I have to say last night was the new benchmark for celebrating Manchester and its people!

“What an incredible night for the inaugural I Love Manchester Awards! 700 plus people at DieCast MCR partying and dancing in an industrial warehouse like it was 1990! Raising money for a fantastic charity and recognising the people that put the great into Manchester!

“Special mention to my amazing friend Lisa Morton for winning the ‘Manchester Worker Bee Award’ I don’t think there’s a great champion of our city for what she does in so many ways and for so many years! Absolute star!

“Will Mellor and Gemma Atkinson presented the awards perfectly with Will dancing along to every Manc anthem played by the amazing young adults from the Royal Northern College of Music
Also great to be on a table with my good friends Carl Austin Behan Simon Austin-Behan Stanley Chow Illustration and the legendary Tom Bloxham!

“Great poetic intro from my pal David Scott you captured the vibe of us all so beautifully.

“Finally, a top top DJ Set from Dave Haslam – you had the place rockin’ pal!

“I was doing selfies with people who knew me and my artwork before I knew them but making so many new connections on the night is what our city is all about.

“Very proud Manc this morning. Chris Greenhalgh; you and your team smashed it and then some!”

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Manchester is a successful city, but there are many people that suffer. The I Love MCR Foundation helps raise vital funds to help improve the lives and prospects of people and communities across Greater Manchester – and we can’t do it without your help. So please donate or fundraise what you can because investing in your local community to help it thrive can be a massively rewarding experience. Thank you in advance!

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