DO you know a charity champion?

Someone who is committed to raising money or giving time to a good cause.

If so we want to hear from you ahead of our fifth Warrington Guardian Inspiration Awards. 

Celebrating some of the town’s unsung heroes, nominees will gather at The Halliwell Jones Stadium in November to enjoy a two-course meal before prizes are handed out.

This year’s categories include teacher of the year, sportsman, contribution to the community, teenager, charity champion, charity of the year, act of courage, volunteer and our special inspiration lifetime achievement award.

Here's what last year's charity champion winner Nicola Leadbetter had to say after picking up her award: 

WHEN her best friend was given the devastating diagnosing that she was battling cancer, Nicola Leadbetter vowed to put a smile back on her face.

Not only has she helped Melanie O’Neill, 42, to get through one of the most difficult periods of her life, in the past five years the mum-of-two has raised more than £22,000 for charities including organising an annual Rainbow Ball attended by hundreds of guests.

Her unwavering tenacity and bundles of energy is one of the reasons why Nicola was named as our Charity Champion winner.

The 42-year-old said: “When Mel was diagnosed we went out one night and sat around. She was really upset and she said she had nothing to look forward to.

“I said ‘I’ll give you something to look forward to’. I thought I would just throw a gathering so she could get dressed up.

“I put it out on Facebook and suddenly I had 420 people saying they wanted to come. It went from there and each year it has gone from strength to strength.”

It was during their years at Penketh High School that their friendship blossomed.

The friends are so close that Nicola left her career in banking to manage Mel’s salon, O’Neills Hair and Beauty on Warrington Road. But despite her busy work schedule and home life, she always finds time to organise the annual fundraiser.

She said: “I don’t see it as charity work. Everybody needs that someone and I’m just glad I’m that someone for Mel.

“I’m sure everyone else would feel the same if they had someone that close to them going through something terrible like Mel was.

“If it was the other way round she would do the same for me.”

An emotional Mel, who presented Nicola with her award, said: “It’s not just me who thinks the world of Nik – everyone sees something special in her like I do.”

How to nominate:

Just tell us who you are nominating and why that person should win.

Keep your nominations to 100 words or less and include your contact details, and if possible, those of the person you are nominating.

Nominations can be emailed with the subject Inspiration Awards to or write to Inspiration Awards, Newsdesk, The Warrington Guardian, Unit 4, 240 Cygnet Court, Warrington, WA1 1PP.

For full details regarding this year's categories, click here.