Audiences were transported back to 1984 at an annual awards ceremony which celebrated community champions across Blackburn and Darwen.

The 1V Awards gala dinner at a packed King George’s Hall was hosted by 13-year-old Aisha Hussain and featured a 'Back to 1984' theme, including a six-minute video which showcased an era of Datsun cars, Rubik’s cubes and Sony Walkmans.

The charity handed out awards to volunteers and groups and the night featured a Michael Jackson-inspired dance number from the Zoë Taylor Dance Academy.

There was also singing by talented 14-year-old Alaina Masters and a keynote speech by former Witton Park High School student Adnan Raja, who now works at JP Morgan.

There was a call for more stem cell donations from the South Asian heritage communities in a heartfelt video from a recipient.

The Aya Hachem Young Person of the Year award, sponsored by Blackburn College, was won by Sahil Usman for his work on raising awareness of leukaemia and raising money to support cancer treatments. 

He said: “As a cancer survivor, standing on stage and delivering a speech for the Aya Hachem award was a humbling experience. This recognition has fuelled my determination to continue serving my community and beyond, striving to make a positive impact wherever possible.” 

The award was presented by Aya’s mum Samar Salame. Aya’s life was tragically cut short in 2020 when she was killed in a drive-by shooting.

The Group of the Year, sponsored by Blackburn Youth Zone, was won by Tuyooral Jannah, Birds of Paradise, which is a religious educational centre for children requiring additional needs.

“The work of Tuyooral Jannah cannot be accomplished without the support of all of our communities. Our staff, parents, carers and students make our charity the success it is,” said Zubair Mangera.

Asian Image:  Aisha Hussain, 13, hosted the event alongside other young members of the charity. (below) Alaina Masters who sung at the event.

Asian Image:

Aaliyah Molvi was the winner of the inaugural Apprentice of the Year, sponsored by Electricity North West.

A delighted Aaliyah said: “I feel privileged to be the first recipient of the 1V Apprentice of the Year Award, especially coming from an organisation such as One Voice Blackburn.”

The 1V Health Award, sponsored by Spring North, was won by Maggie’s Stillbirth Legacy run by Sarah Bernasconi. Sarah runs a support group to provide a comfortable environment, friendships, support, talking therapies and licenced private clinicians to help people deal with their loss.

“I feel humbled, honoured and proud to have won the 1V Health Award. Everyone in the category was amazing so I was in genuine shock when my name got called out. Thank you for helping me break the taboo of pregnancy, stillbirth and child loss.”

Javed Iqbal was named Man of the Year accolade, sponsored by Reel Cinema.

Javed, who helped to run Accrington Road Community Centre, said: “The Award literally left me speechless. I would like to thank everyone who has supported me in my volunteering work over the last 30 years.”

The 1V Woman of the Year award, sponsored by The Catering Co Group went to Agnieszka Kwiecien for her community cohesion work throughout the borough, and for her volunteering efforts with the National Festival of Making among others.

She said: “This award means absolutely everything to me. After a couple of tough years this is the wind under my wings I really needed. Volunteering is my great passion, it’s the most empowering thing in the world.

Asian Image: Members of  Zoë Taylor Dance Academy vowed the crowds with a performance of Thriller

The John Roberts Outstanding Achievement Award was awarded to Secret Santa for supporting young people in the town. Karen and Phil Boulding received the trophy from Let’s Foster’s Suzanne Kinder.

The 1V Awards also featured the Leadership Award, individually sponsored by Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, which was presented to Debra Cartlidge, of the Deaf Village.

One Voice chairman Abrar Hussain said: “It is remarkable to think that we started the 1V Awards back in 2013 in the function hall of a local restaurant. 

“It has grown substantially in the last few years thanks to the tremendous support of our sponsors, but also the depth and quality of the nominations that we receive every year. It has meant that a 1V Award is one of the most coveted in the region.”

The event was sponsored by Together Housing and Newground, and supported by the Blackburn with Darwen Council.

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