Updated: Saturday, 20th April 2019 @ 3:28pm

Rochdale-founded Co-operative Group scoop 'Britain's most gay-friendly company' at National Diversity Awards

Rochdale-founded Co-operative Group scoop 'Britain's most gay-friendly company' at National Diversity Awards

By Ben Moran

From Lands End to John O’Groats, the UK’s most inspirational people came together at Manchester’s The Midland Hotel to celebrate the rich tapestry of our nation last weekend.

Role models and charities from underrepresented backgrounds that work at the core of our communities were recognized at The National Diversity Awards for their hard work and commitment to equality.

Rochdale-founded the Co-operative Group were honored as the diverse company of the year, particularly for its LGBT employee network which helped the firm get named as Britain’s most gay-friendly retail employer earlier this year by campaign group Stonewall.

The night was a glittering success with appearances from Paralympic heroes Jody Cundy and Claire Harvey, the stars of ‘My Transsexual Summer’, CBeebies presenter Cerrie Burnell and BBC journalist Amal Fashanu who presented the positive role model award for gender.

Jody Cundy, who had to re-enter the stage after a technical fault, joked ‘that was the restart I should have got at the paralympians’ to which the audience applauded.

The awards were hosted by ultimate big brother housemate and now presenter Brian Dowling, who charmed the guests with his quick witted humor and light hearted jokes.

The evening kicked off with LGBT campaigners The L project who performed their moving anti-bullying charity single It Does Get Better – followed by upcoming talent and unsung MOBO award winner Esco Williams who gave a spectacular performance with his band The Kontrollers.

The roof was blown off at the end of the night with ‘The Voice’ singing sensation Ruth Brown giving a dazzling rendition of I’m here.

The National Diversity Awards, in association with Microsoft, was a night filled with people from every section of society who had their various achievements showcased.

The prestigious awards attracted a wide range of sponsors from the likes of Northumbrian Water, The Financial Ombudsman Service and Manchester City Council.

After generating so much interest and support in its first year, the awards are sure to go from strength to strength with next year’s event being held in Leeds.

Nominations for next year’s event open in January, for the full list of award winners visit www.nationaldiversityawards.co.uk.

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