TWO local people who tirelessly work to help others have been rewarded with top honours in the Yorkshire Choice Awards.

Lesley Noble, founder of Otley-based charity Hug on a Tray charity, won Volunteer of the Year, and Tariq Qadeer, of Bramhope, scooped the Fundraiser of the Year title at the gala event in Leeds on Friday, June 7.

The awards celebrate the achievements of inspiring people, organisations and projects throughout the region.

Lesley founded Hug on A Tray to deliver TV access, kettles and tea making facilities, and snacks to patients at the Haematology department of the Bexley Wing, St James's Hospital in Leeds.

Lesley Noble, founder of Otley-based charity Hug on a Tray charity is pictured with the Volunteer of the Year award Lesley Noble, founder of Otley-based charity Hug on a Tray charity is pictured with the Volunteer of the Year award (Image: Robling Photography/Yorkshire Choice Awards)

Her citation at the awards read: "Lesley Noble is a devoted fundraiser and volunteer, tirelessly supporting cancer patients.

"Lesley also distributes quarterly goodie bags filled with toiletries and treats. Her steadfast commitment has attracted substantial support, making a profound impact on many lives.

"Recognising her efforts would amplify her cause, enabling her to continue raising essential funds for Hug on a Tray, further aiding cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy."

Tariq Qadeer, of Bramhope, is pictured with the Fundraiser of the Year award Tariq Qadeer, of Bramhope, is pictured with the Fundraiser of the Year award (Image: Robling Photography/Yorkshire Choice Awards)

The awards organisers said of Tariq: "Tariq Qadeer has dedicated the past 16 years to running a small shop in Bramhope, Leeds, often working up to 85 hours per week!

"Despite his demanding schedule, Tariq has supported numerous fundraising activities, including the Leeds Half Marathon, Yorkshire Three Peaks walks, pub quizzes, Run a Mile for Sports Relief, and the annual Bramhope 10k runs.

"Hundreds of volunteers have participated in these events, significantly raising the profile of various charities. Tariq's efforts have resulted in over £130,000 raised for more than a dozen good causes, including £67,000 for the Candlelighters Trust. His tireless dedication and community spirit have made a profound impact to many, highlighting his commitment to supporting and uplifting those in need."

Also a finalist in the Fundraiser of the Year category was Emma Sutcliffe of Addingham, Ilkley, who has raised over £30,000 for Candlelighters and the Teenage Cancer Trust, and over £1,200 for Sarcoma UK.

After the event, Lesley Noble posted on social media to say that her award was a tribute to the team effort of the volunteers who have helped out with Hug on a Tray.

She said: "I would like to add, although I started Hug on a Tray at Christmas 2015 there's no way it would have continued this far without the brilliant team who have come on board over the years.

"This has been a continuous team effort for many years. I was very surprised and privileged to receive the award on Friday evening at the Yorkshire Choice Awards ceremony and I would like to thank everyone who voted for me, I accept it on behalf of all the Hug on a Tray girls.

"Thank you also to the amazing organisers and sponsors of this event. We started out just giving free TV for ten days for patients along with free tea and biscuits! We thrive as a team because teamwork makes the dream work. Thank you so much for your fabulous community support."

The Yorkshire Choice Awards was founded by Joanne Maltby and Melanie Malcolm who saw an opportunity to recognise and raise the awareness of local people and independent businesses that are inspirational in their own way or in the markets they serve.

The organisers said: "What an extraordinary evening it was!

"Our 2024 Awards Ceremony reached new heights, selling out and drawing an impressive crowd of inspiring individuals from Yorkshire. The highly anticipated day was finally upon us, and the atmosphere buzzed with excitement. Once again, Yorkshire demonstrated its exceptional talent, courage, and bravery, affirming the region's greatness beyond any doubt.

"Congratulations everyone. Being recognised as a nominee in The Yorkshire Choice Awards is a testament to your hard work, dedication, and the positive impact you have had on the community. Regardless of the outcome, each nominee represents the best of Yorkshire, and we commend you for your achievements and contributions.

"We applaud your commitment to making a difference."

Since its inception in 2015, the Yorkshire Choice Awards has experienced significant growth, serving as a platform to honour the finest individuals, businesses and initiatives from Yorkshire. In addition to recognising outstanding achievements, this event has also been instrumental in generating funds for local charitable organisations.

These include Martin House Children's Hospice, The Danny Jones Defibrillator Fund, St Gemma's Hospice, Bethany's Smile, Simon on The Streets, the MND Association, The Leeds United Foundation and Shine21.