The House of Commons hosted Anthony Nolan’s annual Supporter Awards on Tuesday 17th November. The ceremony was the third occasion of its kind, with inspirational volunteers, fundraisers and supporters attending to celebrate the achievements of the previous year.
Supporters were recognised in fifteen categories – ranging from Donor Champion of the Year to Young Hero of the Year.
Volunteer of the Year
The Simon Dyson Award for Volunteer of the Year was won by Ryan Tunstall, a transplant recipient and marathon runner. This year he has made a huge impact on Anthony Nolan, as the president of the University of Manchester Marrow Society, a student volunteering group which recruits potential donors to the register.
Ryan said: “I am absolutely delighted to receive this award, though it has come as a great surprise. As someone whose life was saved by a transplant, it is heart warming to see so many people supporting this great charity. Thanks to the hard work of all Anthony Nolan’s supporters, more patients will get a second chance at life like me. The work we’ve done at Manchester Marrow has been a massive team effort and would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of the committee and volunteers.”
Shirley Nolan Award for Special Recognition
Meanwhile the Shirley Nolan Award for Special Recognition was won by Annabella Forbes. Annabella has supported Anthony Nolan since 2002, when her sister Millie was diagnosed with leukaemia at the age of 19. Anthony Nolan found her a donor and she received a transplant, but sadly Millie relapsed and passed away in August 2004.
A decade later, Annabella wanted to do something special to mark the anniversary.
Her star studded campaign - #InspiredbyMillie – featured home-made videos of 24 celebrities urging people to sign up to the register. Actress Sienna Miller, Virgin Boss Richard Branson, actors Dominic West and Richard E. Grant and singer Emeli Sande are just a few of the names that Annabella persuaded to be part of the campaign.
Annabella said: "It is truly an honour to be nominated for the Shirley Nolan Award. I am incredibly touched and overwhelmed. The campaign was inspired by my big sister Millie, so its good work is really because of her not me. This one's for you Mills!"
Celebrity Supporter of the Year
TOWIE’s Bobby Norris won the award for Celebrity Supporter of the Year in recognition of his lifesaving #SaveBobbysMum campaign, which he launched after his mum was diagnosed with leukaemia and needed a stem cell transplant.
Bobby said: “This award means the world to me and it’s one of my proudest moments, as it’s from the charity that helped save my mum’s life. I’m so glad I’ve been able to work with them and meet so many inspirational people in the process. I attended the Anthony Nolan awards ceremony last year while we were still desperately searching for a donor, so it’s amazing to be back here today in such different and happy circumstances.”
"Together, we really are saving lives"
There were many other inspirational nominees and winners at the event, who were praised by Henny Braund, Chief Executive of Anthony Nolan.
Speaking on the night, Henny said: “Hundreds of people support Anthony Nolan and these awards are a wonderful opportunity for us to recognise so many of you who have been truly exceptional over the last year.
“As one of the judging panel, I can confirm the selection process was an incredibly difficult and humbling task, with so many passionate and dedicated people who have gone above and beyond to support us.
“At Anthony Nolan, we are in the privileged position of helping to give three people the chance of life every day. This wouldn’t be possible without the commitment and energy of the people in this room. Together, we really are saving lives.”
A full list of award winners can be found here.