North East businesses come together to raise money for Newcastle charity

Dozens of businesses hope to raise thousands of pounds at the Alternative Business Awards

John and Mark Squires receives their award from Louise Hunter from Alternative Business Awards sponsor Northumbrian Water
John and Mark Squires receives their award from Louise Hunter from Alternative Business Awards sponsor Northumbrian Water

Regional businesses are set to showcase their fun side for charity when they take to the stage for The Alternative Business Awards.

The Irish-themed event takes place on Friday in aid of The Percy Hedley Foundation and will feature quirky award categories such as The Quiet Man for someone who doesn’t say too much and The Irish Dancing Award for someone who is quick on their feet.

This year the categories are being sponsored by Northumbrian Water, Esh Group, Gateshead College, Gordon Brown Law Firm, The North East Chamber of Commerce, Sintons Law, Tolent Construction, Port of Tyne and People Gauge, with marketing and PR support from Press Ahead and printing support from Shiremoor Press, photography support from Layne & Lindsay Photography, and event production support from Big Purple Productions.

Former award-winner David Faulkner, who has been associated with the event since it started, said: “It’s 17 years since Karl Watkin created this event as a one-off for the Tyne Theatre, which he owned at the time. It’s great that so many years later it’s now firmly established in the corporate calendar of the region - but one that is so very different to all the other awards and events, and raises so much money for one of the region’s great charities.”

North News & Pictures ltd The Percy Hedley Foundation 'Alternative Diamond Business Awards 2013' at the Journal Tyne Theatre in Newcastle
The Percy Hedley Foundation 'Alternative Diamond Business Awards 2013' at the Journal Tyne Theatre in Newcastle

The awards will be hosted by Brendan Healy and Anna Foster and will see the return of the Opportunity Knackered talent show with acts from Northumbrian Water and People Gauge confirmed, along with live Irish music from Jed Grimes and Stuart Hardy, and dancing displays from the Mason Cummins Dance Academy in Newcastle,

Each award winner will receive a beautiful glass trophy with a twist from the National Glass Centre at the University of Sunderland.

Host Brendan Healy said: “Every time they invite me I hate going and then I remember I have the opportunity to be horrendously cruel to the local business community and from that moment on I look forward to it immensely.”

A fundraising auction will also take place on the night, with prizes including a table for 10 for St Patrick’s Day 2016 at Newcastle Races, a two night stay at a Jury’s Inn in Ireland with return flights from Newcastle to Dublin with Aer Lingus, a VIP table for four at Newcastle Falcons v London Irish Season 2015/16, a box for 10 at The Metro Radio Arena to see Mrs Brown’s Boys in June 2015, four VIP tickets to The Hat Treick Dinner on 14th May 2015 at The Marriott Hotel, Gosforth with football legend Sir Geoff Hirst including a signed and framed shirt by the man himself, and the opportunity to join a list of well known local celebrities including Robson Green and Malcolm McDonald, to create your very own unique piece of artwork using movement and/or vocals.

Des Bustard, head of capital appeals at Percy Hedley Foundation, said: “As a Percy Hedley fundraiser, the Alternative Business Awards is one of our most successful fun events, but as a Geordie Irishman I am looking forward to the St. Patrick’s day craic with all our friends and supporters.”

The Alternative Business Awards takes place on Friday, March 20, at The Tyne Theatre and Opera House, in Newcastle. Tickets are still available to buy and cost £20. Email m.hallett@percyhedley.org.uk for more information.

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