Strawberry Field ‘People of Peace’ Awards winners announced

14th December, 2020

To mark what would have been the 80th birthday of John Lennon on 9th October, the team at Strawberry Field launched a local search for Liverpool’s most inspirational ‘People of Peace’. The awards were launched on 21st September, on the International Day of Peace – in order to offer a unique way of celebrating the legacy of John Lennon, and encouraging the peace, which John so often spoke about.

With just three adult winners, a young person winner and child winner, the judges had a difficult decision to make, from a fantastic selection of truly inspiring nominations from people across Liverpool.

The winners of the awards have been announced as:

Liz Spencer – well known by parents in South Liverpool, Liz taught at Childwall C.E. Primary in the 1970s before moving on to King David Primary School, eventually becoming Headteacher there in 1993 and serving until her retirement in 2007; she was the first non-Jewish woman to become Head of a Jewish school in the UK. Liz continues to encourage peace and understanding across multiple political and religious divides.

Marie Hargreaves – a local mum and grandmother, described in her nomination form as “quite simply the most inspiring, peaceful and loving Mum
and Nana in Liverpool”. A carer for her disabled grandchild and her ex-husband who suffers with dementia, Marie has also spent lockdown making sure the other members of her family who are shielding have the shopping and essential supplies they need.

Sara May – nominated for her selfless acts of kindness for others, judges said: “Although Sara has her own health problems, she supports a wide variety of charities and people in need. It appears that she is a ‘Super Woman’, as claimed, and there is no limit to her hard work, always determined to put others needs before her own. Sara is a very worthy inclusion in the People of Peace Awards.”

Alex Smith – winner of the young person award – Alex has spent lockdown playing bagpipes for elderly and vulnerable people in his local community as a way of lifting spirits. Accepting no payment for this, any money that was donated he used to support his local food bank.

Noah Whitehead – winner of the child award – Noah was nominated for always thinking of others and trying to find ways to make people smile. Judges said: “We are impressed with the report of Noah who is a happy, caring boy. Well-mannered and unselfish, his efforts to raise money for other children in need are to be applauded. A fine example to other children, long may he continue.”

Captain Louise Brown, Fresh Expression Leader at Strawberry Field says:

“We felt that particularly during this time of pandemic, it would be wonderful to celebrate individuals. We have seen how during these months of Covid-19 and isolation, it has been so important to find new ways to connect with people, and many people have begun to find real value in the simple things in life. We celebrate the stories of hope across Liverpool where we have heard about neighbours reaching out to their neighbours in all sort of practical ways, whether it’s helping with shopping, or organising a street quiz, or picking up the telephone, all of these things have helped to foster peace in a time of crisis.”

A panel of judges was appointed to select the five winners. They are Major Kathy Versfeld, Mission Director of Strawberry Field; Paul Beesley, Blue Badge Tour Guide, Chair of the Association of Liverpool Tour Guides and broadcaster with BBC Radio Merseyside; Charlie Roberts, childhood friend of John Lennon and The Quarrymen – and author of Just Like Starting Over; and Lady Anne Dodd, philanthropist and champion of charitable causes across the city.

Winners will have their photo on display for a year at the Strawberry Field centre.

Find out more information about the winners and their nominations here:

“The plan to open Strawberry Field to the public for the first time - so people can see a unique exhibition about the home, how and why the song was written by John, and allow visitors to explore the grounds as John did as a child - is very exciting.”

Lady Judy Martin OBE