A word from the judges…

“We’d like to thank everyone who took the time to nominate their colleagues for a STAR Award. We received some fantastic submissions and it was genuinely extremely difficult to select only one winner from each category. A huge well done must also be extended to everyone who received a nomination – a total of over 170 submissions highlights the great achievements from across the venues and shows just how valuable each of you are to your teammates and to Tees Active.”

Leon and the Board


Paul Bambrough

Paulina Banaszek

Julie Basnett

Liam Beddingfield

Claire Blackburn

Jack Bradley

Danny Brown

Tom Burland

Cheryl Bythway

Joe Carter

Jonathan Cartwright

Dee Carty Burland

Alfie Chapman

Cameron Chapman

Shaun Clapton

Sue Clarke

Sam Cockburn

Sarah Coleman

Angela Cooper

Natalie Cormack

Nadine Corner

Carol Cowley

Calum Cresser

Keith Cresser

Pauline Crossley

Sandra Davison

Jeannette Dixon

Chelsea Doolan

Neil Drew

Rachel Eastwood

Simon Edwards

Helen Eyeington

Ellie Goosney

Jacob Featherstone

Elizabeth Ferguson

Jeanette Franklin

Yolanda Fraser

Kyle Gale

Julie Gustard

Jonathan Hall

Kirsty Harcourt

Julie Hammond

Chris Harrington

Anthony Harrison

Jo Hills

Julie Jobson

Chris Joughin

Sarah Keay

Daniel Lone

Andy Mack

Richard McGhee

Gail McKenna

Lewis McLoughlin

Helen McMahon

Andrea McNaughton

Jack Midgley

Kira Morrigan

Ramin Mohammadi

Shannon Moore

Paul Murphy

Andrea Neal

Sarah Owen

David Patterson

Claire Pattison

Rachel Paylor

Elisha Potts

Anne Restall

Ellen Sawdon

Trudy Scarf

Rayhanna Scott

Mark Stockill

Amanda Tate King

Stephen Twigg

Lorraine Twiname

Nick Twiname

Paul Wilkinson

Alan Woodmass

Danielle Young


Community Contributor – Paul Murphy

Billingham Forum

This category recognises the individuals who spend time outside of work to positively impact the lives of others in the community. Paul’s efforts earlier this year to raise money for a very worthy cause have not gone unnoticed by his teammates. Paul gained lots of nominations in this category and stood out as a very worthy winner. Well done Paul! Here’s what your colleagues had to say…

“Paul has risen to the challenge to help someone in need, raising a lot of money for a charity on the way, and I’ll put money on Paul again next time he does this for another worthy cause – because he will – because Paul stands out head and shoulders above anyone for challenging himself to help others.”

“Paul Murphy is very much a people person and will do anything to help any situation. He has done a number of charity events over the years to raise money for some very special causes close to his heart.”

Unsung Hero – Sandra Davison

Redheugh House

The COVID pandemic has brought significant challenges for everyone and the hard work and team spirit of employees across the company has been so important. Which is why this category was extremely difficult to separate nominees. Sandra worked throughout the pandemic working additional hours every day and was integral to the reopening of our venues. Well done Sandra! Here’s what your colleagues had to say…

“What’s clear is that Sandra understands the importance of her role, and is extremely dedicated to delivering a great service knowing that so much falls on her. This undoubtedly brings lots of pressure and countless challenges, most notable was the implementation of the new Leisure Hub system during the strains of COVID lockdown, which Sandra successfully single-handedly launched – a remarkable feat that must be recognised.”

“Sandra’s knowledge and understanding of the ICT infrastructure makes her vital to the business operations and the support she provides to teams across the organisation is so valuable.

Teamwork – Julie Gustard

IB Leisure

As they say ‘teamwork makes the dream work’! This category was very hard to identify just one winner, as it is the strength of our teams and the many individuals across each venue who are vital to our service. Julie received lots of nominations in multiple categories, all highlighting her positivity, can-do attitude and dedication to her team mates. Well done Julie! Here’s what your colleagues had to say…

“Julie is a total professional in her work, she always gives 110% her attention to detail is excellent, her customer service skills are second to none. She always has a smile on her face always polite and very very efficient.”

“I could have nominated Julie for several of these awards. She consistently goes over and above time and time again to help out all her colleagues. Julie without being asked acts a bit of a mentor and guide to our new Receptionists. Because she leads by example this is well received by her colleagues and massively helps us as a whole team to provide the customer service we strive to give. We have many excellent staff who are deserving of an award, but Julie stands out head and shoulders for her contribution to Tees Active and I’d really love to see her recognised.”

Customer Service – Danielle Young

Billingham Forum

As a customer focused organisation, this category was always going to be extremely close. We received some fantastic submissions highlighting the fantastic individuals and teams who interact with customers across the organisation in a number of ways. Multiple submissions highlighted Danielle’s huge personality, her dedication to her customers and colleagues and how her role impacts the community in Billingham. Well done Danielle! Here’s a flavour of some of the submissions…

“She absorbs all customer service instructions and processes and embraces change to ensure that she provides a very high standard of customer service. She is highly skilled in the admin and IT work this role requires and spends quite a bit of time explaining and training her colleagues in the work they are required to deliver front of house. She takes pride in helping others as she understands the importance of delivering the customer service correctly and consistently.”

“Her personality and mindset go a long way, going above and beyond that of her role – she listens to customers problems and helps where she can, and she even contacts elderly customers if she hasn’t seen them in the centre for a while to make sure they are okay”

“We regularly receive feedback about her compassion and high level of service. No matter the hour, day or month she is always positive in the workplace and presents customers with a warm welcome”

Rising Star – Daniel Lone

IB Leisure

The Rising Star Award recognises those individuals who have shown all the key attributes to progress within the organisation. This category received some fantastic nominations and it was extremely difficult to identify just one winner – we have rising stars across the company and in every venue, who are making strides in their role, however the submissions for Dan recognise how much he has achieved in such a short time by both customers and staff. Well done Dan! Here’s some examples of what your colleagues had to say…

Dan started with the Tees Active through the apprentice scheme at Splash. From Dan’s very first day he has demonstrated a mature professional approach and the will to work hard, take on new roles, responsibilities and ownership of anything her does. He is a committed individual – very flexible, listens and has the willingness to learn. I’m sure over the next few years if Dan continues to develop at the rate he is at the moment he will be a strong candidate for any progression within the organisation.”

“Dan has acted just like a senior leisure helping the DMs massively and he definitely shone, setting an example to the other leisure assistants with the roles that he carried out. It’s testament to his hard work that recently he has started to act up as a Duty Manager, many customers have questioned why he is now in a different uniform, and have also agreed that he works extremely hard and the promotion is well deserved. Dan will certainly be an excellent Duty Manager in the future and an asset to Tees Active.”

Star Apprentice – Jacob Featherstone

Billingham Forum

This category recognises the apprentices who have shown great maturity and willingness to learn and succeed in their role. Tees Active has a very successful apprentice scheme and believes in nurturing the young talent who are the future of the organisation. We received multiple nominations for a number of apprentices who were inseparable in their commitment and ability, however, there could only be one winner….Well done Jacob! Here’s a flavour of the submissions…

“Jacob has set a new standard of excellence when it comes to being an apprentice with Tees Active and I can honestly say that I have never worked with one to the level of Jacob. Not just in his work ethic and overall work ability but also in his maturity and overall business understanding.”

“I have heard the Management Team talk positively about his attitude, ability, knowledge, operational skills and customer service – they certainly wax lyrical about his potential and see Jacob as a future key holder, due to this and his passion to learn, deliver and please. Overall, with his positive mental attitude, proven ability and high standard of work ethic, Jacob could be a rising star – certainly one to watch out for in the future.”


Venue Champion – Ramin Mohammadi

Billingham Forum

Ramin received a number of fantastic nominations highlighting the impact he has had on his teammates and the venue. As our largest venue, the Forum had lots of very worth submissions, which is testament to the scale of Ramin’s achievements.

Well done Ramin! Here’s what your colleagues had to say….

“Ramin has been a Casual Lifeguard and Swimming Teacher for several years now. He was recently appointed as Key Holder in the centre. From day one he has been motivational, highly enthusiastic, passionate, highly knowledgeable and skilled in his work. His input to the shift team and generally across all shifts and areas of work in the centre deserve high praise.”

“He combines operational practices with operational knowledge to ensure he is/his team are customer/service focused. He’s an excellent communicator all round and instils an open minded attitude to change in all. He’s responsible and dependable – and the patience, understanding and support he affords his team and the service in the process speaks volumes.

“I can honestly say Ramin is having a positive inspirational affect on all those he works with. Ramin is a breath of fresh air – he’s hit the floor running in his new role – and I feel this needs to be recognised in this award.”

Venue Champion – Helen McMahon

IB Leisure

Helen received a variety of nominations from her colleagues commending her for the impact she has had on the operations and services delivered in IB Leisure. Helen has made a huge impact over a short period and has contributed massively to the success of our newest venue.

Well done Helen! Here’s what your colleagues had to say….

“Helen is employed as a Customer Experience Co-Ordinator and is based at IB leisure, Helen’s approach to customer service has been excellent since starting in her role. She is empathetic, she listens, her advice regarding health and well being is second to none, she is very diligent and deals with some very very difficult issues sensitively and professionally. Nothing seems to be a problem for Helen, she is always happy and smiling, and this rubs off onto customers who she deals with.”

“In her primary role she deals essentially with new customers who need information, giving advice on memberships and products, and some who may have had a bad experience, this is where Helen can hopefully ensure that there poor experience is not repeated again.”

“Her commitment has been rewarded recently with a development opportunity where Helen is covering a dual role, this is the above role and Gym Co-Ordinator role which is essentially managing the gym team day to day. Due to her efficient way of working this has enabled her to carry out a dual role successfully.”

Venue Champion – Natalie Cormack


Natalie has clearly made a huge impression on her colleagues and has shown herself to be vital to the day-to-day running of Splash. Natalie’s colleagues expressed such gratitude and thanks for everything she does for both staff and customers.

Well done Natalie! Here’s what your colleagues had to say….

“Natalie is holding the place together at the moment! She has been covering so many shifts she could have moved in! She is always there for advice and a helping hand when needed and during Covid lockdowns she kept in touch with people to make sure everyone was OK or needed anything. She is a little superstar.”

“Natalie is the manager from heaven. She is a shoulder to cry on and will do absolutely anything for anyone. The mounds of overtime that she does shows just how thoughtful she is, always putting others before herself. Regarding reception, she will always help you and nothing is too big or small for her to help with.”

“She will always make sure you feel comfortable and makes work such an amazing place to be. She constantly checks up on you and supports you whilst working to enable a happy workplace.”

Venue Champion – Keith Cresser

Tees Barrage

Keith has been critical to the operations of the watersports centre over the last year and has been recognised by his colleagues for going above and beyond to support the centre and the team.

Well done Keith! Here’s what your colleagues had to say….

“During the busiest period of our season, Keith stepped up to cover management of the centre. This sometimes led to Keith doing up to 7 day weeks in order to fulfil bookings, especially fire and rescue team bookings which allowed emergency services to still train during a pandemic.”

“Also during this time he not only planned and put out the entire summer holiday programme of sessions at the Tees Barrage, he also trained new starters for the Air Trail, pushed to get the water sports instructors extra training and qualifications to further their development whilst boosting their ability to deliver the sessions that have received excellent feedback over the summer.”

“Finally, he helped to organise two filming events at the site, one of which being a 3 day booking for Emmerdale which provided the site and the company with fantastic reviews and publicity ”

Venue Champion – Dee Carty Burland

Redheugh House

After working tirelessly throughout the pandemic to support staff across the organisation, Dee received multiple submissions for her hard work, dedication and commitment to the wellbeing of Tees Active staff.

Well done Dee! Here’s what your colleagues had to say….

“I’ve know Dee for a lot of years – and in all this time she has never said to me “do it yourself”, or “I’m too busy”. Dee by her very nature has the best interests of the employees and the company at heart in all she does – she is caring, compassionate and has a lovely helpful, professional manner – with a personality to boot.

“She works tirelessly, and puts in long hours of work above and beyond her contractual hours to make sure we are all okay, we are all paid, we are all receiving the support we need. She sacrifices a lot of her personal time in the process and I feel she needs recognition for this, as this award isn’t from me, it’s from all of us if she gets it.”

“When there is one car in the car park at the start and end of every day, regardless of the time, that person needs recognising for their commitment and drive to help the company succeed. This is a simple indication of Dee’s dedication, however her warm, friendly nature shines through and she is so valued by the entire workforce for everything she does to support us all.”

Venue Champion – Ellen Sawdon

Thornaby Pavilion

Ellen was widely recognised by her teammates for her friendly and approachable nature and for the positive relationships she has built within the community at Thornaby Pavilion.

Well done Ellen! Here’s what your colleagues had to say….

“Ellen has to be one of the best receptionist that Tees Active has. Over the years she has shown patience, understanding, compassion and kindness to too many customers to count.
She will always say good morning to every customer, smile and ask them how they are. She goes that extra mile to make a customer feel special.”

“When a customer collapsed on a badminton court she showed compassion making sure she was OK and despite the customer not wanting any family contacted, Ellen phoned her daughter who came in to collect her. Ellen followed up with a call to make sure the customer was OK.”

“Ellen also takes the time to speak to Michelle who has special needs and part of her daily routine is to visit the library then call up to reception to chat with Ellen.”

“There are so many stories I could tell you, but Ellen truly is one of Tees Active’s special people that I just think deserves the recognition for doing such a great job.”

Venue Champion – Sarah Keay

Thornaby Pool

Sarah was recognised by the team at Thornaby Pool for her professionalism and dedication to her role within the venue. Sarah has made a huge impact at Thornaby Pool highlighted by the many nominations she received.

Well done Sarah! Here’s what your colleagues had to say….

“Since Sarah Joined in June 2021 she has constantly helped out with covering shifts when we were short to ensure that we could still offer the best service, for example, keeping inflatable sessions going or just staying safer with the extra LA.”

“More recently Sarah selflessly gave her weekend off to cover for a colleague who needed to travel to look after someone at last minute notice and covered the shifts without batting an eyelid (and without even being asked).”

“Sarah shows great teamwork and is dedicated to her teammates and the venue.”

Each winner will receive a £50 Love2shop voucher and a Star Awards trophy! We will be in touch to arrange prize collections and photos! Well done to all the nominees and winners!

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