A head teacher, a garage music trio and a Bollywood entertainment company have been named among the winners of this year’s Community Harmony Awards.

The winners received their accolades at an awards ceremony at City Hall tonight.

Now in its seventh year, the awards celebrate individuals and groups who successfully bring people together from different backgrounds.

Colin Willsher, who became head of Belle Vue Boys’ School a year ago, was honoured as joint winner in the employee category.

In his role at the Heaton school he has supported a number of initiatives aimed at building a more harmonious community.

He offered free use of the school playing fields and gym, provided free English classes for parents and new migrants and his school was also involved in a pilot project which encouraged children to engage with the police.

Mr Willsher said: “I am absolutely stunned to have been nominated and even more thrilled to have won the award.”

Innovative musical threesome Blacked Out Criminals took the Young Achievers’ Award in the group/organisation category. They have been together for seven years and contributed to a Channel 4 documentary Kids, Knives and Broken Lives.

Band member Oliver Tomes, 22, said: “It means quite a lot to us because initially we never thought we would receive anything like this.

“It all started as a project between friends and now, two years later, we have received a harmony award.”

Bollywood entertainment company Spice Entertainment won the Business Award. The firm brings young people together to learn Bollywood dance at workshops in schools across the region.

The Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Howard Middleton, who helped pick the winners, said: “These events honour people who have really made a difference to their communities by building bridges between diverse groups of people.

“Bradford has a diverse population and events like this show how we can all enrich our lives by learning from one another.”


Individual Award

Violet Cannon, who has worked with the gipsy and traveller community for more than 20 years.

Rubina Burhan, a volunteer working in partnership with the Extended Schools Project to set up a homework club in Girlington for South Asian and Eastern European communities.

Mary Carroll, a magistrate at Bradford Courts and a volunteer for the hospital chaplaincy team. She helped set up a chaplaincy service for the courts.

Group/Organisation Award

Bradford People First, a group of people with learning disabilities which works to promote the rights and inclusion of people with learning disabilities.

Student Ambassadors for the Anne Frank & You Exhibition, who came from Keelham Primary, Holme Farm Primary, Bradford Academy, Laisterdyke Business and Enterprise College, Tong School, Queensbury School and Bradford Grammar School. They participated in the design of the Stand up to Hatred multi-media teaching resource.

Young Achievers’ Award in the Group/Organisation category

Blacked Out Criminals.

Employee Award

Colin Willsher.

Stephen Byker, a community development worker based in Frizinghall.

Posthumous Award

Abudul Mahroof Gulzar, who worked for Bradford Council’s recreation division, Frizinghall Community Centre, the Youth Service and Pakistan Community Centre.