Local Heroes Awards ceremony goes online

The 2019 Johnson & Johnson Daily Dispatch Local Hero Awards.
The 2019 Johnson & Johnson Daily Dispatch Local Hero Awards.
Image: MARK ANDREWS

In postponing the annual Daily Dispatch and Johnson & Johnson Local Heroes Awards ceremony to February this year, it was hoped to celebrate and honour our city’s 2020 heroes in style.

But as the uncertainty of Covid-19 and lockdown restrictions continues, a live event is no longer possible.

For the first time in the campaign’s six-year history, the Local Heroes Awards ceremony will be a virtual event and will be streamed on the DispatchLIVE Facebook page for all to enjoy.

While there will be no glitzy affair to look forward to, the magic and the meaning of the Local Heroes campaign will not be lost as it reaches digital audiences far and wide.

Daily Dispatch marketing manager Jennilee Peremore-Oliver said the decision to have a virtual event had been taken to protect the health of all those involved.

“The health of participants in the event takes precedence. We don’t know what this year still holds when it comes to Covid-19, so an online event was the only viable option for us, as we did not want to have to postpone the event again,” Peremore-Oliver said.

TV presenter and SABC Morning Live anchor Leanne Manas will emcee the event where the 2020 finalists and Frontline Hero are revealed.

The campaign began in 2015 as a way to celebrate and recognise the ordinary people who go to extraordinary lengths to improve their communities and help others.

Each year 12 finalists are chosen from a pool of more than 40 nominees sent in by readers.

In 2020 the Daily Dispatch and Johnson & Johnson decided to introduce a new award in an effort to honour the work of local front-line workers during the pandemic.

Peremore-Oliver said she hoped the virtual format of the event would allow more people to experience what the Local Heroes campaign was all about.

“I think with the online format, more people will see and experience for themselves what makes it such a special initiative.

'I also hope that the online format will encourage more people to nominate their local heroes in the community as it will increase awareness about the initiative,”  Peremore-Oliver said.

“We definitely hoped that the 2021 event would be a physical gala ceremony, because it is great to come together in one room and celebrate our heroes.

“However, we believe that all viewers and the heroes will be delighted with the programme we are producing for February 25  and we hope that our readers will join us in celebrating our local heroes.”

The event will be free for all to watch. The 2020 Local Heroes Award ceremony will be broadcast via the DispatchLIVE Facebook page from 6pm on Thursday February 25.


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