Former drug dealer Paul Dixie named as 2012 Urban Hero
A 24-year-old former drug dealer from Eccles has won the 2012 Urban Hero of the Year award.
His dramatic turnaround story was celebrated – along with five others – at our red carpet awards last night (June 30).
Dignitaries including Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy and top businessmen Lord Bob Edmiston and Sir Brian Souter lavished praise on the winners who have most impressed us in our face to face work with thousands of young people over the last year.
Each inspirational story was told through a moving short film before the award winner took to the stage to receive their trophy to the applause of over 800 guests including family and friends.
At the end of an emotional night, the overall Urban Hero of the Year award was named as Paul Dixie.
Paul had already been named winner of the Achiever Award earlier in the evening for his powerful story of overcoming drug abuse and leaving behind a life of crime and destruction.
He was presented with the Urban Hero of the Year 2012 award by Sir Brian Souter, chairman of Stagecoach Group.
His prize of a break at Disneyland Paris for him, his daughter and his adoptive parents left him choking back the tears: ‘I really wasn’t expecting this. It’s just glory to God. This time last year I was just sitting in my flat, depressed, wrapped up in a world of drugs. I really don’t feel I deserve this… all I did was say to God, “I can’t do this on my own.” So God did the rest. Thank you.’
This year’s winners
Find out more about each winner’s story by clicking below…
The Volunteer Award: Andy Walker
The Achiever Award: Paul Dixie
The Inspiration Award: Emma Wilkinson
The Special Award for Enterprise: Adam Fountain
The Courage Award: Mark Collar
The Champion Award: Sid Williams
Following a passionate appeal from Andy Hawthorne for guests to support the new Message Enterprise Centre as it seeks to create new jobs and new start-up businesses, over £190,000 was pledged by generous guests. This represents a large chunk of the £827,500 needed to seed-fund the Centre’s eight new businesses over the next three years.
Urban Heroes Supplement
Once again, we’re delighted that the Manchester Evening News are presenting a special eight-page supplement featuring all our winners’ stories and coverage from the night in all its editions this Friday. Get your copy on Friday 6 July.
Update July 9: We have a supply of copies of the Supplement available for supporters. Please get in touch and we’ll send you one with our compliments.