Hearts and Stars awards ceremony makes glittering return

Interviews by Suzie Davison. Pictures Suzie Davison and Emm Rodman.

Main image: People’s Choice winners Kerry Rees and Kevin Williams from Filwood Community Market (right) receive their award from host Denise Britt (front left) and organiser Shelbie McNeill.

Knowle West’s answer to the Oscars returned last week (November 18) after a three-year absence – to honour the area’s volunteers for their huge contribution to the neighbourhood.

The Hearts and Stars awards ceremony at Filwood Community Centre provided a glittering evening – paying tribute to those local celebrities working away in the background.

Winners, runners up and nominees who attended the event holding their certificates.

The People’s Choice was awarded to Kevin Williams and Kerry Rees (see main photo) for their tireless work running Filwood Community Market.

Kerry said: “To win an award is absolutely brilliant. And I thank everyone that’s voted for me…and Kevin Williams and I’m actually shocked with the result we got and really thankful of the gift.”

Lifetime Achievement went to the late Ann Smith, a long-serving volunteer until her death in 2021, who used to help host the event and won People’s Choice in 2018. 

The award was received by her family who said: “…We are so proud of it, it means a lot to all of us…” 

Members of the late Ann Smith’s family with her Lifetime Achievement award.

Nina Griffiths was runner up in the Newcomer category for her support of Springfield Community Allotment (formerly Let’s Grow Community Allotment) which has now been taken over by Knowle West Alliance.

She said she was “shocked” and “emotional” and had not expected to be given her award of Bristol Blue glass.

Nina Griffiths receives her runner up award fn the Newcomer Category from host Denise Britt (left) and organiser Shelbie McNeill.

The event was hosted by Denise Britt, a familiar face at these events, having performed the role many times over the years,

Organiser Shelbie McNeill who handed out the awards with Denise said: “It’s gone superb… People that are not usually recognised have been recognised this year which I’m glad of – after three years off…and Denise stepping in after all these years. It’s been like old times I think tonight.”

Winners and runners up

  • Best neighbour : Darren Harding | Runner Up: Bill Kelly (he gave up half of his garden for a We Can Make home, 
  • Best Group Val’s Karate | Runners up: Rising High
  • Lifetime Achievement : Ann Smith
  • Newcomer: Simon Foster (Belfast Walk Community Garden)  | Runner up: Nina Griffiths (support of Springfield Community Allotment) 
  • Older Person: Bob Fisher | Runners up: Ken and Marie Jones
  • Outstanding contribution: Terry Martin (Friendship Group) | Runner up : Bobby Jones
  • People’s Choice: Kevin Williams and Kerry Rees | Runner up: Sarah Sztumph
  • Young Person: Charlotte Geraghty (Cots for Tots) | Runner up: Ben Griffiths
  • Special Award For Liam Kelly, son of Bill Kelly


Brian Gorham

Judith Sluggett 

Sian Nevitt

Caroline Hope

Mrs Starr

Nick Haskins 

Young and Free 

Angie Allen

Mike and Lyn Alden

Vera Nicholls

Gaye Ellacott

Marie Jones

The Flook Family

Brian O’Reilly

Winner of the Young Person’s category, Charlotte Charlotte Geraghty for her work on Cots for Tots.
Below: Simon Foster who won the Newcomer award for his work on Belfast Walk Community Garden.