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Manchester´s Biggest Ever Awards Ceremony:

Manchester´s Biggest Ever Awards Ceremony:


reviewed by Norman Warwick

The inaugural I Love MCR Awards brought together over 750 most-loved people in what was the biggest awards event the city has ever seen.

The glittering show and ceremony celebrated Manchester individuals, charities, community groups and businesses in all their glory.

Taking place at a former factory in Piccadilly, the very first I Love MCR Awards was officially the biggest Manchester awards event the city has ever seen.

All donations go to the I Love MCR Foundation, which helps raise vital funds to help improve the lives and prospects of people and communities across Greater Manchester.

Since the shortlist was released, over 100,000 public votes were cast, meanwhile an expert judge panel – including Tom Bloxham, Dave Haslam, Diane Modal, Carl Austin-Behan, David Scott, Terry Christian, Stanley Chow, Ric Moylan, Emma McBeath, Paul Shannon, Gwenno Jones, Jenny Osbourne, Darren Proctor, Michelle Eagleton, Emma Richmond and Jacqueline Hughes-Lundy – assessed the nominations met with the brand values and criteria before coming to final conclusions

Gemma Atkinson, Will Mellor (left) and stars of Coronation Street including Cait Fitton (who plays Lauren Bolton) and Elle Mulvaney (Amy Barlow) lined the red carpet for the inaugural I Love MCR Awards (23 November 2023).

Also joining them was Luca Toolan (who plays Mason Radcliffe and is in the midst of a big storyline) and Paddy Beaver, Max Turner, as well as Adam Hussain (Aadi Alahan on the show) and Liam McCheyne (Dylan Wilson).

Eamonn Holmes, Happy Radio’s Darren Proctor was accompanied by the cast from Real Housewives of Cheshire and sports stars from Manchester City and Everton women’s teams (Jess Park and Annie Hutchings and Meg Campbell respectively) were also spotted on the red carpet and helped to celebrate all that makes Manchester great..

The Royal Northern College of Music opened the show with a 20-piece orchestra set playing Bitter Sweet Symphony by The Verve.

The RNCM provided the soundtrack to the entire evening playing Manchester-born hits like Wonderwall by Oasis and The 195 before coming to a huge close playing Never Forget by Take That.

A real credit to the mega music college that recently celebrating its 50th birthday and is defining the future of music.

The Most-Loved Chef Award was won by Simon Wood and Most-Loved Restaurant (Smart) Award 2023 went to Hawksmoor Manchester. Hip Hop Chip Shop, Black Friar Pub and the Bolton Food Festival were other foodie winners on the night.

Other notable Manchester destinations also honoured include Alberts Schloss (Most Loved Bar), The Lowry Hotel (Most Loved Hotel), Depot Mayfield (Most Loved Entertainment Hub), the Science and Industry Museum (Most Loved Family Experience) and The Lowry Theatre won Most Loved Arts/Cultural Venue.

A number of Manchester individuals were also celebrated including; Beaumont Organic for Fashion Icon; Jane Kenyon from Girls Out Loud won the Emmeline Pankhurst Award in recognition of her work to advance gender equality, women’s right and empowerment; and Steve Hill MBE was awarded most Loved Community Leader.

Hannah Payton is the UK’s first fully qualified Zumba instructor with Downe’s Syndrome and she was awarded the Young Person of the Year Award 2023. This recognised her remarkable achievements, extraordinary efforts and significant impact she’s had on the community and been an inspiration to others to follow in her footsteps.

Most-Loved Community Organisation Award 2023 was awarded to Sober Gay Socials as the group most demonstrated I Love Manchester’s brand values including community, inclusivity at grass-roots level and the desire to promote the welfare of human beings collectively.

Other winners include Lisa Morton (Roland Dransfield PR), Tap Donate, Hive Homes, Tangerine PR, Hope Mill Theatre and Mustard Tree.

The awards are the brainchild of Chris Greenhalgh, founder and CEO of I Love MCR, who said:

“I Love MCR is a trusted symbol of civic pride and solidarity in Manchester. We’ve been relied upon more than once to respond to adversity and we never cease to be surprised by the love and resilience that Manchester displays no matter what.

“Manchester is going through a cultural renaissance right now and the city is growing rapidly – what better way to recognise this than by championing the people who help make this city what it is, via a live event?

“Our relationship with this city has been SO overwhelmingly positive this past decade that we have built a big enough platform to award people and it really MEANS something.

“The support of the public has been immense with over 100,000 votes cast! Plus, all money donated towards this project will go straight to our community foundation – which aims to improve the lives and prospects of people across Greater Manchester.

“Well done, everyone. To just be named in the shortlist is a remarkable achievement. Everybody’s ace.”

The event was brought to you by ConnectIn Events and the first to take place at the newly launched Diecast, a brand-new former factory entertainment destination in Piccadilly.

“Special thank you to ConnectIn for making this massive event manageable and bringing my dream to life.”

You should find full listings of all winners in each category at the I Love Manchester on line site, where you can subscriber to the I Love Manchester newsletter that supplied this information.

The official after party started at 11pm with a set by Hacienda DJ Dave Haslam playing one of his classic sets while revellers continued the party surrounded by contemporary immersive dancers.

DJ and author Mr Haslam played to arms and awards in the air until 1am.

“I wanted to give my heartfelt gratitude for an absolutely spectacular evening,” said Yasmine Dar, the Lord Mayor of the City of Manchester, who presented the community awards.

“The event was simply fantastic! The music was extraordinary, the presenters engaging, the food delicious, the venue superb, the speech was inspiring, and, undoubtedly, the exceptional team made it all truly wonderful. Thank you for such an incredible experience. Oh and yes, Will Mellor, what can I say?”

Attendees weren’t shy in sharing their admiration of I Love Manchester’s very first awards event…

“Must be the best awards event I’ve been to and I’ve been to a few,” said attendee Chris Marsh, Managing Director at Agents Of.

“Congratulations for putting smiles on so many faces at the inaugural #ILoveMCRAwards at Diecast this evening!”

Local artist and judge, Justin Eagleton, was gushing over the event:

“I’ve been to many awards events and I have to say last night was the new benchmark for celebrating Manchester and its people!

“What an incredible night for the inaugural I Love Manchester Awards! 700 plus people at Diecast MCR partying and dancing in an industrial warehouse like it was 1990! Raising money for a fantastic charity and recognising the people that put the great into Manchester!

“Special mention to my amazing friend Lisa Morton for winning the ‘Manchester Worker Bee Award’ I don’t think there’s a greater champion of our city for what she does in so many ways and for so many years! Absolute star!

“Will Mellor and Gemma Atkinson presented the awards perfectly with Will dancing along to every Manc anthem played by the amazing young adults from the Royal Northern College of Music

Also great to be on a table with my good friends Carl Austin-Behan, Simon Austin-Behan, Stanley Chow Illustration and the legendary Tom Bloxham!

“Great poetic intro from my pal David Scott you captured the vibe of us all so beautifully.

“Finally, a top top DJ set from Dave Haslam – you had the place rockin’ pal!

“I was doing selfies with people who knew me and my artwork before I knew them but making so many new connections on the night is what our city is all about.

“Very proud Manc this morning. Chris Greenhalgh; you and your team smashed it and then some!”

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