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On Thursday 3 November staff, service users and invited guests marked 25 Years of the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust (BIRT) at a celebratory luncheon in Leeds. The event included presentations of a series of special ‘Silver Star Awards’, to recognise the contribution of staff and the efforts the people we support.

Irene Sobowale, CEO of The Disabilities Trust said: “Seeing service users and staff - new and ‘old’ - really felt like a big family coming together to celebrate, share and reminisce. It reminded us all of the journey that BIRT has been on and the great work that we continue to do. As usual it left me feeling really proud and humbled to be part of such a great organisation.”

The winners in each of the categories, which were chosen from a list of shortlisted individuals nominated by BIRT staff were:

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  • Service User Award for Inspiring Others - Duncan Stewart, service user from Graham Anderson House
  • Service User Award for Exceeding Potential - Ian Brodie, service user from Daniel Yorath House
  • Staff Award for Supporting Others to Change Their lives - Cate Devane, former Head of Care at York House (awarded posthumously) This award was sponsored by Minster Law Solicitors
  • Staff Award for Demonstrating Innovation and/or Creativity to Support Others - Suzanne Cheshire, Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy Assistant, Kent House This award was sponsored by Irwin Mitchell Solicitors

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In addition, BIRT also announced the first cohort of members of The BIRT Hall of Fame (Colin Hedley, Barrie Oldham, Dr Michael Oddy, John McCrea, Carol Pattenden, Lynn Turley, Ann Buckler, Bob Merriman and Julia Morley) and presented a special appreciation award to Dr Rodger Ll Wood. The celebrations also included a musical recital by Kent House service user Rupert Johnston, who treated guests to a performance of popular movie themes on the French Horn.

Ann Buckler, Director of BIRT said: “It was wonderful to be able to come together to celebrate our successes in improving the quality of life of our service users, made possible by the dedication and hard work of our incredible staff. I was especially pleased that we were able to celebrate with the families and friends of the people we support.”

Read more about BIRT's 25 years in brain injury rehabilitation