A mother whose son was brutally killed in a gang knife attack in Luton won the top prize at an emotion-filled awards night in the town.
Roseann Taylor turned her unimaginable grief, after the incident which took her son Azaan Kaleem’s life in March 2018, into action by turning her energy into combating knife crime.
Roseann, who has spoken out at a national and local level received the Winner of Winners Award, and Parent in a Million Award in recognition of her bravery at the Tenth Annual Community Awards.
Event host Sufian Sadiq spoke for the audience of 600 people at Venue Central, in Leagrave Road, on Friday, when he said: “Roseann is the most impressive person I have ever met.
"There is nothing more powerful than hearing from a mother who has lost a son through knife crime.”
Roseann was given a standing ovation by the crowd which included Lord Lieutenant Helen Nellis, the town’s two MPs, and new Bedfordshire Police Chief Constable, Garry Forsyth.
Created by Mostaque Koyes, director of Community Interest Luton, a decade ago, the awards, which are headline sponsored by Pictons Solicitors, are the public face of an organisation that is changing lives in Luton.
The LETS Hub has helped more than 150 people into employment, the Curry Kitchen has served 22,800 hot meals in 228 weeks, and the awards themselves have seen more than £350,000 handed over to various charities.
This year’s charity is the Luton and Dunstable Hospital Charitable Fund Helipad appeal, and they received not only a cheque for £15,000 from the awards, but also had it topped up by another £5,000 from the faith-based Human Appeal.
The full list of winners this year is:
> Concern/Improving Lives Award (sponsored by Muslim Aid) - Sam Willis
> Young Hero (sponsored by Luton Sixth Form College) - Kelsey Hughes-Francis
> Charity of the Year (sponsored by Pictons) - Kids in Action
> Service with a Smile (sponsored by Basepoint & Bedfordshire Police) - Donna Prat
> Role Model of the Year (sponsored by VolkerFitzpatrick–Kier) - Adeel Bashir
> Community Business of the Year (sponsored by Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce) - Irmak BBQ Dunstable
> Community Project of the Year (sponsored by Safer Luton Partnership & London Luton Airport) - Penrose Roots
> Exceptional Achievement (sponsored by the University of Bedfordshire) - Amran Malik
> Community Arts Award (sponsored by Luton Culture and Masterchef) - The Cultural History CIC
> The Mark West Award (sponsored by Venue Central) - Paul Hammond
> Helping Hand Award (sponsored by The Mall Luton & Liberty Law Solicitors) - Hope Church
> Lifetime Achievement (sponsored by Bedfordshire Police Crime Commissioner) - John Maddox
> Healthcare Hero (sponsored by Cougar Accident and Repair) - Michelle Pilkington & Yvonne Weldon
> Social Care Hero (sponsored by Esquire Estate Agents) - Natalie Herd
> Sporting Achievement (sponsored by Luton Sports Network & Ryebridge) - Queens Bike and Hike Team
> Fundraiser of the Year (sponsored by The Little Branding Company & Plain Talking HR) - Donna Neely-Hayes & Bill Bell
> Volunteer of the Year (sponsored by Human Appeal) - Tony Murphy
> Teacher of the Year (sponsored by A Plan Insurance & Metro Bank) - Thomas Bellwood
> Parent in a Million (sponsored by Chiltern Learning Trust & Chiltern Training Group) - Roseann Taylor
> Outstanding Bravery (sponsored by Bedfordshire Fire & Rescue) - Clare Copleston & Rigerta Ahmetaj
> Mayors Award (sponsored by London Luton Airport Limited and Luton Borough Council) - Clare Copleston & Rigerta Ahmetaj
> Winner of Winners - Roseann Taylor