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Spirit of Manchester Awards Judges

In this year's Spirit of Manchester Awards we had three categories that invited nominations to win a Spirit of Manchester Award:

The deadline for nominations in these categories was 31 May. Our panel of judges shortlisted three under each category which were voted on by the Awards event audience to determine the winner on 7 October 2021.

Meet the judges who kindly agreeded to read all the nominations and shortlist this year:

Jez Myers

Jeremy Myers, Chair

Jeremy is the former Manchester City Council Pride of Manchester Award winner for his work in organising the riot clean up in 2011. Jeremy has been both a member of the judging panel as well as the chairperson for the Spirit of Manchester for the last nine years. When not getting involved in community activities, and he’d love to hear about what you’re doing to help Manchester, he can be found watching third tier football in Ukraine. As with every year, he will be overwhelmed by the commitment and passion the nominees have shown.

Lindsay Gilbert

Lindsay Gilbert, University of Manchester

Lindsay is the Volunteering and Community Engagement Manager at The University of Manchester, leading on the development of student volunteering opportunities and working with community organisations to look at how students can support them best.  Prior to joining the University in 2009 she was the Head of ‘ChildLine in Partnerships’ at ChildLine-NSPCC, responsible for a programme which enabled young people to volunteer as peer supporters to address issues in their schools such as bullying and pastoral care. She has also worked for London Youth on the Millennium Volunteers Scheme, for the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) and for The Scout Association. Outside of work, Lindsay volunteers as Chair of Governors at Medlock Primary School in Ardwick as well as being a Guide Leader.

Paul Martin OBE



Paul Martin OBE, LGBT Foundation

Paul Martin OBE is Chief Executive of LGBT Foundation - a national charity delivering advice, support and information services to lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities. With a history dating back to 1975, they campaign for a fair and equal society where all LGBT people can achieve their full potential. Each year, LGBT Foundation supports over 40,000 people, achieving an average 98% satisfaction rating, as well as providing information to over 600,000 individuals online. Paul has been actively involved in the LGBT Community for over 30 years. As a member of the Greater Manchester Mayor’s LGBT Advisory Group, Paul is one of a panel of specialists working to tackle inequalities faced by lesbian, gay, bi and trans people. Paul is also Chair of The National LGB&T Partnership which is a network of English LGB&T service delivery organisations. Paul is a member of the National LGBT Ministerial Advisory Panel – ensuring the Government meets its commitment to improving lives as set out in the landmark LGBT Action Plan. Paul was awarded an OBE in 2011. He is happily married to his husband Pete and lives in Chorlton, Manchester with their dog, Barney. 

Karen Brakenridge


Karen Brackenridge, Manchester Museum 

Karen has been employed at the Museum for 25 years starting with the Visitor Team in 1996. She worked  five years before that, at Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester and before that was a fully qualified graphic artist in industry from leaving school and college. In 2014 Karen was seconded as a Volunteer Assistant for 12 months (and that became six years) supporting people in various stages of wellbeing recovery to regain can do with confidence skills. It was for this work,she was nominated and subsequently the recipient of the Sylvia Sham Spirit of Manchester 2018 award - Contribution to the sector. Karen has a new role in the team as the Culture Health and Wellbeing Assistant designing and delivering activities for their GM Homelessness and Poverty support partners/Project Inc Specialist College, as well as various SEND and Personal Recovery/Growth organisations. 

Patrick Cunningham

Patrick Cunningham, Horwich Cohen Coghlan Solicitors

Patrick Cunningham, is a HR Advisor and Consultant currently working at Horwich Cohen Coghlan Solicitors in Manchester City Centre.With over 10 years of Human Resources Management experience, Patrick’s specialises in Employee Relations, Strategic Policies and Procedures and Learning and Development. Patrick has a strong tradition of endorsing corporate responsibility and has worked with various local charitable associations, including Down’s Syndrome’s WorkFit programme to ensure those with disabilities have a right to meaningful paid work, and recently spoke at their annual conference in 2019.

Cllr John Hacking



Cllr John Hacking

John is an elected member of Manchester City Council (for Chorlton Ward) and is Chair of the Communities and Equalities Scrutiny Committee. Currently John works for Greater Manchester Poverty Action and co-ordinates the Greater Manchester Living Wage Campaign. He previously worked for Network for Europe, a regional network supporting the Third Sector to access funds from Europe. John has extensive experience in the Third Sector; in particular in the areas of community regeneration, learning and skills, and employment creation. In the 1990’s he was a co-founder of Firmstart, a social enterprise in Manchester providing workspace for small businesses, which still manages the St. Wilfrid’s Enterprise Centre, Hulme. He is currently a governor at The Manchester College and a member of the college parent group the LTE Group which contains The Manchester College’s higher education division UCEN Manchester, which he chairs. John is a governor at the Chorlton Church of England Primary School and a governor at The Endeavour Federation which provides education for children with social, emotional and mental health facilities. John is on the management committee of the Chorlton Beer Festival.