Inspiring males from across West Northants were recognised at the West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) Male Role Model Awards, which took place on Friday 18 November.
The awards, now in their 4th year, celebrate individuals who go above and beyond in their daily lives to help others and make a real difference in their communities.
It was a tough decision for the judges with so many inspiring nominees, but Lee Willis was named winner of the ‘Inspirational Man’ award following multiple nominations for his work as an ‘inspirational, caring, patient and enthusiastic’ karate instructor.
Lee received many nominations with one saying: “Lee is a fantastic role model to all of his karate students. He has endless enthusiasm and energy which makes the training enjoyable and encourages the students to keep trying.
“He talks to the students about things that he and others have done to improve their skills which inspires and encourages them and talks about difficulties he has had in training at various stages, so they understand it didn’t always come easily even for their instructor.
“He teaches the younger students essential life skills such as stranger awareness, anti-bullying and building confidence and assertiveness, and inspires and encourages all of his students to strive to achieve the best that they can.”
In addition to the ‘Inspirational Man’ award, a ‘Special Recognition’ award was presented to Emergency Services Cadet volunteer Edward Harvey.
At the age of 20, Edward applied for a Youth Engagement Support Officer role within Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service and has since supported and mentored young cadets.
Edward delivers educational sessions to help reduce anti-social behaviour as well as bespoke interventions to help young people with adverse childhood experiences to build confidence, raise low self-esteem and be the best they can be. His nominator said: “He really does make a difference to the community."
Five outstanding males were shortlisted from over 80 nominations for the ‘Inspirational Man’ award including Mark Kennedy, brain injury survivor, author and business owner; Ravuan Jones, founding member of anti-knife crime group Off the Streets; Arthur Newbury, voluntary sector worker; and Aaron Hill, boxing coach at Weedon Boxing Academy.
Councillor Jonathan Nunn, Leader of WNC, who presented the awards said: “We received so many deserving nominations of truly inspirational individuals who have made a huge difference to the lives of others and who all deserve to be honoured. Every single nominee has our thanks for both the way in which they inspire us all, and for the great things that they do in support of our local community.
"Congratulations to our award winners and all of the shortlisted nominees and thank you to everyone who supported this extremely important event, which not only recognises the contribution of local men and boys, but also raises awareness of the very important issue of male mental health."