Unsung GeNErosity Heroes

As part of the GeNErosity Festival, we are running a competition to find the North East’s unsung GeNErosity heroes. 

We know a lot about the region’s major philanthropists, but through this competition we want to highlight the everyday generosity of people from all walks of life whose giving makes such a huge difference but usually goes unnoticed. 

The winners in each of five categories have now been announced. They will be honoured in the form of a grant of £1,000 to a charity they have supported. The five winners are now put forward to a public vote to decide an overall winner who will receive an extra £3,000 making £4,000 in total!


The winner will be announced on Tuesday 27th November.

Diverse GeNErosity Hero: Naziya Barkat

Nominated by Success4All CIO

Naziya is parent to three children who have attended Success4All’s Learning Hubs and who were part of the founding group that started the West End Young Digital Artists. Her eldest is now in their final year of university, her middle in final year of A-levels, while her youngest has just started A-levels. Apart from volunteering, they all have contributed to fundraising – rallying family, friends and other parents and carers of children to encourage them to contribute too. They have organised and raised funds for Christmas raffles, Bake-Off Events, a Young Apprentice Competition (raising funds by making a product and selling it), and sponsored walks. Most recently, Naziya’s whole family and most of their neighbours pledged in the crowdfunding campaign for a Learning Bus, in which Success4All raised £25,000 in a month.

Employers’ GeNErosity Hero: Neil Dickinson

Nominated by Brewin Dolphin

Neil and his wife Helen have, for the past several years, organised charity events to raise funds for the Palliative Care Unit at Wansbeck General Hospital. Their initial motivation was the death of Helen's mother, Margaret Stewart, resulting in annual events such as the "Match 4 Margaret", a football match held at Ashington Community Football Club, and numerous charity walks across Northumberland between some of the lower league clubs in the region such as Blyth, Bedlington, Ashington and Whitley Bay. Neil and his wife have raised over £18,000 thanks to their tireless efforts, a significant proportion of which they have donated themselves. Despite the pressure of a full-time career at Brewin Dolphin, Neil continues to devote his time to charitable work, fundraising, his family and his beloved Ashington Football Club.

Lifetime GeNErosity Hero: Prof. Reginald Hall

Nominated by Cancer Connections

Reg is a retired surgeon and a volunteer at Cancer Connections. He was one of its founder members after he recognised there was a gap missing in cancer support. Reg has given to Cancer Connections by way of standing orders, donating to supporters’ fundraising pages, and asking visitors who stay at his holiday home in Northumberland to send a donation to Cancer Connections. He does history and medical talks, donating any fees he receives, and he has an award-winning book, with proceeds from sales going to Cancer Connections. Reg volunteers at least two days a week at the charity and looks after its garden. He has also sponsored a school in India, and helps out at village hall and church events.

Past GeNErosity Hero: Peter Gordon

Nominated by St Oswald’s Hospice

Before St Oswald's even opened its doors, Peter was involved with the committee who fundraised and campaigned for a hospice servicing the people of north east England. Peter was the hospice’s first Chairman and played a vital role in shaping and developing its services. He was always friendly and approachable, well known and liked by all of the staff and volunteers. In addition to his duties as Chairman he volunteered in the hospice’s Finance Department, regularly doing the 'bank run' in the early days before online banking. Peter gave generously to the hospice and to many other causes across the region too, working tirelessly for charities but never really speaking about his work or seeking any recognition for his philanthropy. Sadly, Peter died in 2015.

Young GeNErosity Hero: Olivia Keenan

Nominated by Success4All CIO

Olivia started attending Success4All’s Blakelaw Learning Hub when she was 11. As soon as she became confident in her academic capabilities, she wanted to help others. She was one of the youngest to achieve the AQA Skills Award in peer tutoring at 13 and has helped many others gain in confidence and skills. At 16, she organised single-handedly a bag-packing event – contacting the supermarket, completing forms, designing leaflets, setting up a rota, communicating dos and don’ts – resulting in over £500 being raised. She repeated this last year. Apart from taking part in or donating to every fundraising event Success4All organises, she has also supported and donated to Macmillan, as she has sadly lost family members to cancer.