Leah Gorry of the Mark Gorry Foundation is ScottishPower-Trinity Mirror champion person
IT WAS a bittersweet moment for courageous Leah Gorry when she became the Weekly News’s big winner at the ScottishPower-Trinity Mirror Your Champions awards night on Friday.
Leah, who was already the champion person for Runcorn and Widnes became regional Champion of Champions at the ceremony.
Leah, from Widnes, has raised tens of thousands of pounds for charity after the death of her husband Mark.
Mark lost his battle with cancer in November last year, aged 23, but in the final weeks of his life, the pair worked together to create the Mark Gorry Foundation.
The foundation aims to raise awareness of testicular cancer and raise £1m for the Clatterbridge Centre of Oncology.
Because of the late detection of his disease, Mark’s personal goal was to start a movement that would have a positive impact on the treatment of cancer in the future, as well as raising awareness among young men about the symptoms of testicular cancer.
Since Mark’s death, Leah has stepped up the fundraising effort and has contributed tens of thousands of pounds to cancer charities.
The foundation now has a team of more than 20 of Mark’s friends and family; fundraising events in the last year have included charity runs, walks, leg waxing, beard growing and head shaving.
There has also been a series of fundraising events organised by Mark’s former colleagues at O2 in Preston Brook.
Leah and three of Mark’s friends plan to complete a gruelling 10-day bike ride across Taiwan and hope to raise more than £5,000 for the foundation.
The evening began with an introduction from Carl Wood, publishing director Trinity Mirror Cheshire, who described the event as his favourite of the year.
He said: “I am very proud to be associated with these awards. You will see some real champions tonight and hear stories you will never forget.”
Raymond Jack, managing director energy retail, ScottishPower, pointed out they had been sponsoring the awards since their inception in 1987.
He said: “The judges felt selecting the winners from this year’s shortlist was almost as difficult as Anton Du Beke teaching Ann Widdecombe the salsa!
“The awards really bring home the vast amount of charitable work done in the region.”
Guest of honour was former world snooker champion John Parrott who took part in a question and answer session with the audience before helping to hand over the awards to the overall champions in each of five categories.