We’re pleased to present the six individuals that have been shortlisted for our Captain Manchester award, to be announced at our Birthday Party on Friday 9th February 2018.

The Captain Manchester award is in recognition of an individual with true Mancunian spirit. This person has given their time, money, skills or resources to support the communities of Greater Manchester; has gone the extra mile and embodies the spirit of Forever Manchester. The Captain Manchester award at this year’s Birthday will be sponsored by Auto Trader UK.

Auto Trader is the UK and Ireland’s largest digital automotive marketplace and sits at the heart of the UK’s vehicle buying process. Its primary activity is to help vehicle retailers compete effectively on the marketplace in order to sell more vehicles, faster.

Christos Tsaprounis, People Lead – Resourcing and Development, said: “Auto Trader is delighted to sponsor the Captain Manchester Award at the Forever Manchester Birthday Party again this year. We love the fact that this award recognises that individual who has gone the extra mile to make a difference in their own community to help themselves and their neighbours. We’re glad to be associated with this award that encompasses that Forever Manchester spirit.”


The nominees are:

Andrea Johnston

Andrea is a volunteer at The Harpurhey Wellbeing Centre where the North Manchester Forum runs a range of sessions geared towards improving health. She is a volunteer officer at the Forum and also sits on the committee of Harpurhey Neighbourhood Centre. Born in North Manchester, Andrea lives in the centre of Harpurhey and dedicates her life to others. An issue with her own mental health led to a referral to The Wellbeing Centre and that is where her recovery began. Not only is she now supporting groups every week she also gives her time at The Harpurhey Neighbourhood Centre.

Jane Ellis

Jane was a volunteer at the Harpurhey Foodbank, supporting up to 80 people a week when we first met her at the beginning of our time working in Harpurhey and Moston. Jane’s day job was working at Manchester Communication Academy developing provision for adults – history groups, choirs, English language course, a whole range of learning opportunities for the community. Paths crossed again when Jane contacted us about potential funding for The Frank Cohen Centre, a resource for people affected by alcohol issues, an initiative that Jane had supported over a considerable amount of time. Jane doesn’t just volunteer in her spare time, her life is all about supporting others to the point where she happily gives time and space to people who need it at her home.

Leanne Gleave

Leanne is a well-known and loved member of the community in Patricroft, Eccles and Salford. Leanne works tirelessly for the Castle Community Centre, bringing together members of the community for numerous events. Leanne recently held a community picnic in a local park and, despite the torrential rain, over 100 people turned out. This is a testament to the love and respect people feel for Leanne in her community. Leanne also organises community clean ups of the local area and parks, and encourages children in the area to keep it clean and tidy. Every Saturday Leanne also provides free dance classes for all children in Eccles and surrounding areas, and free Zumba classes for adults. Leanne is a qualified dance instructor and, in addition to all the community work she already does, shares this skill for free as she is passionate about the physical wellbeing of all members of her community.

Sammie Jo Boylan

Sammie Jo was born on the Shiredale estate in Harpurhey and has lived there for most of her life. This summer, after a brief chat about our Cash 4 Graft awards, Sammie was off talking to people on the estate about what they would like to see a summer fun day consist of. Sammie wanted to bring families together, have constructive activities and, within a couple of hours, her application was completed and ‘Happyhey Day’ was scheduled for the summer. In the last year, Sammi has moved from a small idea of having a summer fun day to being the lead person on the local tenant management office’s bid for a range of activities and provision for young families on the estate.

James Torry

James Torry from Doodledoo Motion is the man behind the This Is the Place book, a truly unique creative project. Following the Manchester attack on Monday 22nd May 2017, Tony Walsh read the ‘This Is the Place’ poem at the vigil that gave language to our city in a moment when it wasn’t sure what to feel. The poem, which was originally written for Forever Manchester, has quickly become an iconic piece of literature and spread cross the globe as a symbol of defiance, unity and love. Over 60 creatives from Manchester, including Peter Saville and Malcolm Garret, collaborated with Tony Walsh to turn his ‘This Is the Place’ poem into a book, which marks a tragic moment in time but looks forward with hope for our city, both in content and by supporting three specific charitable funds.

Amy Coney

Following the attack in Manchester on Monday 22nd May, Amy Coney couldn’t sit back and do nothing. This local artist decided to create a piece of artwork to remember those who were injured or lost their lives with a painting of the Manchester bee, known better now as ‘Bee Love’. Amy was inspired by this poem after Tony performed it at the vigil following the attack, entwining Tony’s words into her design to create the bee’s wings. Amy gathered signatures from a whole host of famous faces and the painting was put up for auction, raising an incredible £7,100.



Our annual Birthday Party, kindly sponsored by Express Solicitors, will celebrate another great year of supporting community activity across Greater Manchester. The event brings together over 400 passionate and dedicated Forever Manchester supporters to celebrate another great year of helping local people do extraordinary things together.

Guests at the Forever Manchester Birthday Party will be treated to a welcome drink on arrival, three-course meal, entertainment from community groups Forever Manchester has funded, an awards ceremony and a special guest DJ.

Here’s some of the highlights from this year’s Birthday celebrations, filmed by Tunafish Media (our 2017 Video of the Night sponsors).

Tickets for the Birthday Party are priced at £85 per person or £850 for a table of 10.

If you are interested in buying tickets and/or booking a table please drop our Events Manager, Cheryl Hill, an email at: cheryl@forevermanchester.com.

Individual tickets can also be booked here on Eventbrite, or through the ticketing form below. All proceeds from ticket sales will be reinvested in communities across Greater Manchester.