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Wednesday 16 December 2020

UCLan graduate is BBC North West Tonight Christmas Star

Former sociology and criminology student Joshua is recognised for his charity work

A University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) graduate has been recognised for his charity work with a BBC North Tonight Christmas Star.

Sociology and criminology graduate Joshua Brandwood was surprised in Williamson Park in Lancaster with his award by presenter Ian Haslam under the guise of recording an interview about charity work at Christmas time.

The Christmas Star is handed out every year by BBC North West Tonight to people from the region who are deemed to have gone ‘the extra mile’ to help other people and make a difference. Joshua, who lives in Lancaster with his wife Grace and son Noah, has raised money for a string of charities this year. In particular, he wanted to help local people hit hard by the pandemic.

"I am absolutely delighted and honoured to receive such an award and simply cannot believe that I was selected out of all the thousands of nominations the BBC received."

BBC North West Tonight Christmas Star Award winner and UCLan graduate Joshua Brandwood

Joshua, who received several nominations for the Christmas Star, said: “I am absolutely delighted and honoured to receive such an award and simply cannot believe that I was selected out of all the thousands of nominations the BBC received.

“Since the start of the pandemic I have been operating a food collection point from home for Morecambe Bay Food Bank. I have posted leaflets to every house in my area to notify them of the support available to them. Overall, we have collected approximately fifty crates of food and essentials for people requiring additional support in these difficult times.

“We are also currently running a ‘reverse advent calendar’ with homes across Lancaster donating a particular item each day to make up Christmas food parcels for families.”

In addition, during 2020 Joshua has also organised a Morecambe Bay walk for Cancer Research UK in memory of his grandfather, a 20km fundraiser for a foodbank in Wakefield and a 5km run along Morecambe Promenade to raise funds for a local girl suffering from a rare condition. In total, he has generated £5,400 this year for several different charities.

Joshua, who graduated from UCLan in 2016, is well-known in his local community of Morecambe after becoming the town’s youngest ever councillor when he won his Labour seat in the 2015 local election while still a student.

The 26-year-old added: “I simply couldn’t have raised all the funds and food items if it wasn’t for the generous contributions made by the community and for that I’m eternally grateful.”