The inaugural I Love Manchester Awards is taking place this year - with two popular Oldham residents making their way onto the prestigious list.

The I Love MCR Awards is an event that promises to celebrate Manchester's "unique sense of civic pride" this November 23.

This year, the awards ceremony said it was inundated with an "avalanche" of nominations across 21 different categories which celebrate charities, organisations, businesses, restaurants and pubs with the "Manchester's most loved" crown.

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I Love MCR has officially released its 2023 awards shortlist and while a popular Oldham pub, the Fox and Pine, is up for the 'most-loved pub' award, two renowned Oldhamers also feature in the 'most-loved community leader' category.

Steve Hill MBE, deputy headteacher at St Joseph's school in Shaw and a prolific fundraiser, adventurer, author and marathon runner, has perhaps unsurprisingly made this list.

Steve only recently got back from completing his 'mega marathon challenge' where he ran 14 marathons through the treacherous terrain of Costa Rica and Tajikistan back-to-back to raise money for charity.

He is also the founder of the Team Hill Charitable Trust which supports local causes and a project in Uganda.

Reacting to the nomination, Steve said: "It's such a lovely surprise.

"I feel very honoured to have been shortlisted in this special category, as the most loved community leader, in the I Love Manchester Awards 2023.

"Thanks as always to everyone for their amazing support."

Last year, Steve was one of 18 to win a similar award, at the This Is Manchester event, where he took home the trophy for the 'individual making a difference in the community' category.

He also received the Lancastrian Award 2022 and more recently was presented with The Borough's Coat of Arms Shield by the Mayor of Oldham in a special ceremony.

But also on the list up for most-loved community leader at the I Love MCR Awards is Victoria Holden, the director of Failsworth's Northern Lily.

After spending 20 years in a range of organisations, Victoria created Northern Lily to deliver horticultural workshops and gardening services with a mission to "connect people to nature".

The passionate gardener and orchardist works to educate people about sustainable gardening, composting, food growing, community orchard care, food preserving, water capturing, forest school, pond dipping, building nature habitats and nature craft.

Celebrating the news, Victoria told The Oldham Times: "I'm shocked and humbled to have been nominated for most loved community leader in the I Love Manchester Awards.

"I love sharing my passion for horticulture and creating inclusive spaces for people and nature to thrive."

Both Victoria and Steve will face off against six other inspiring leaders from across Manchester at a special ceremony at the Hilton Hotel on November 23.

The award will go to an individual who "demonstrates a big personality, strong leadership skills and social values" while leading a community to "new heights and making a real difference in their collective space".

Votes can be made by visiting the I Love Manchester website here: 

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