601059_10151663006883339_72856862_nThe National Diversity Awards, the UK's premier award ceremony recognising the commitment and passion of those working to make the world a more inclusive and diverse place. A collection of some of the nation’s most inspirational and selfless people came together on Friday, September 20th for a celebration of the country’s rich tapestry.

We talked our editor, Tom Jamison, into a tuxedo and sent him down to Leeds to present the Disability Community Organisation Award, in conjunction with Mouchel Limited.

The National Diversity Awards 2013 celebrated the excellent achievements of grass-root communities that tackle issues in today’s society, providing recognition for their dedication and hard work that positive role models, charities and community organisations do on a daily basis.

Tom told us, “The National Diversity Awards mirror Able Magazine's own commitment to showcasing the abilities, talents and determination of disabled people. We were delighted to be involved with the Awards and being part of such a fantastic evening.”

The heroes, who work closely with under-represented groups, were recognised at The National Diversity Awards in association with Microsoft for their hard work and commitment to equality and diversity.

Hilarity ensues with hosts Brian Dowling and Cerrie Burnell

Hilarity ensues with hosts Brian Dowling and Cerrie Burnell

After decades of supporting and representing people with disfigurements, CEO of Changing Faces James Partridge OBE was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award and was greeted with a standing ovation

Partridge, who has spear-headed campaigns for social change and pushed for anti-discrimination protection, beat fellow nominee and LGBT campaigner Ben Summerskill OBE to the prestigious award, but the judges noted his significant contribution to transforming campaign group Stonewall into a highly respected registered charity.

Taking Flight Theatre Company was named 2013’s Community Organisation for Disability as the only proven organisation in the world that runs inclusive, outdoor promenade theatre.

Very active in Wales, the group works tirelessly to perform in accessible venues and fully describe for those with sensory impairments.

Rachel Gadsden took home the positive role model award for disability and was described by Paralympic champion Peter Norfolk OBE as ‘Nothing short of an inspiration and serves as the ideal role model for disabled people’.

Paralympic hero Peter Norfolk presented the Positive Role Model Award for Disability to Rachel Gadsden

Paralympic hero Peter Norfolk presented the Positive Role Model Award for Disability to Rachel Gadsden

An internationally acclaimed contemporary artist, Rachel has battled successfully against a potentially life limiting illness to produce works of art that are applauded worldwide and featured by the likes of the Observer and the Arts Council.

Dave Thompson MBE DL was recognised in the entrepreneur of excellence category for founding Warrington Disability Partnership.

Not only the Founder, Dave is also the Chair of the enterprise, which provides a leading edge Centre for Independent Living for those in his area.  His business employs over 40 people and, additionally, 200 individuals volunteer to help organise an annual disability awareness day that last year attracted 250 exhibitors and 28,000 visitors.

The night featured stellar performances from jazz saxophonist, Rosemary Quaye, Songo Drumming Band, One Steel Band and Nachda Sansaar Bhangra Band.

Hosting the evening was Big Brother star Brian Dowling and CBeebies presenter Cerrie Burnell, with appearances from football legend Sol Campbell and Paralympian Peter Norfolk OBE

Singing Sensation Misha B, ended the night on a high with a dazzling rendition of her latest single, here’s to everything.

The prestigious black-tie event has attracted a growing list of top employers including Microsoft, Transport for London, Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC), Sky, MI5, The Co-operative Group, The Open University and the Financial Ombudsman Service amongst others.

Our Editor, Tom Jamison in the background after presenting the Community Organisation Award for Disability to Taking Flight Theatre Company

Our Editor, Tom Jamison in the background after presenting the Community Organisation Award for Disability to Taking Flight Theatre Company

Paul Sesay, chief executive of the Diversity Group and National Diversity Awards said; ‘What an incredible evening, the atmosphere was electric and I was humbled to be celebrating in a room full of so many inspirational individuals and groups’

Able Magazine would like to take this opportunity to offer our congratulations to the winners. Your commitment to inclusion, equality and inspiration echo our own ethos and we were immensely proud to share the stage with you.

The full list of winners from The National Diversity Awards 2013 can be found below.

Positive Role Model Awards

Age: Aaron Anderson

Disability: Rachel Gadsden

Gender: Vivienne Hayes

LGBT: Grace Cardozo

Race, Religion & Faith: David Michael

Community Organisation Awards

Age: Bristol Older People's Forum

Disability: Taking Flight Theatre Company (presented by Able's own Tom Jamison)

Gender: West End Women & Girl's Centre

LGBT: Birmingham LGBT

Race, Religion & Faith: UK Black Pride

Multi-strand: Chase Against Crimes of Hate

Entrpreneur of Excellence Awards

Age: Carly Ward

Disability: Dave Thompson MBE DL

Gender: Jessica Elliott

LGBT: Matthew Parsons

Race, Religion & Faith: Jessica Huie

Diverse Company Award

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Lifetime Achiever Award

James Partridge OBE

Photos courtesy of The National Diversity Awards and David Michael