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Beth shows she has a heart to Be Proud of

Award winner Beth Clark's big heart has been recognised

BETH Clark has been hailed a community hero in recognition of her determination to make Manchester a better place to live in the aftermath of the Arena bomb blast.

The mother-of-two’s #AHEART4MCR campaign was singled out for special praise at the annual Be Proud Awards ceremony.

It was born out of a simple desire to do something positive following the senseless killings of 22 people at the Ariana Grande concert.

Beth, 34, crocheted one heart to hang in the window of her home in Marple. From there the idea grew and turned into a worldwide phenomenon.

Soon she and friends were collecting thousands of hearts and handing them out in a city which a terrorist had tried to divide

#HEARTS4MCR organiser Bath Clarke receives her award from Councillor Nigel Murphy

Thanks to the power of social media Beth’s idea spread with people from across the globe sending in their home made hearts. In total 26, 435 arrived from near and far.

But if she found the response to her project stunning, Beth has been left “completely gobsmacked” that she has been feted for her kindness.

The businesswoman was one of three community heroes hailed at the awards ceremony held in the Great Hall at Manchester Town Hall on Friday 24 November.

The evening was a celebration of incredible people who have made an outstanding contribution by helping to improve people’s lives through their pride in what they do.

Along with Nicholas Franklin and The Khizra Masjid mosque, Beth was selected for the special recognition award - simply because the judges said they could not choose just one winner.
Afterwards Beth, proudly clutching her award, described the night as “absolutely wonderful”.

“There were hundreds of nominations and to be one of them was overwhelming in itself. To win an award is unbelievable,” she told Marple Review.

“I never did this for any recognition, but to think that people believed I deserved an award is truly touching.

"I never imagined it would get so big," she admitted. "At the start I thought it would just be me and my mum going into Manchester with a little bag of hearts to hand out to people, to show that hate would not win.

"I still not sure how or why it happened, it just started off as an idea in my head. It’s been such an emotional evening and I’m so proud to have been part of it.”

Ruby Blue Boutique in Marple took deliveries of the hearts for Beth, while people volunteered to help sort and label the love hearts, including her two children, Sam, nine, and four-year-old Faith.

The first batch were distributed in the city on June 5. It involved 18,700 tributes and a team of volunteers.

The thousands of hearts left on a pin wall at Victoria Station were soon gone - 8,000 went within the first 48 hours.

People of all ages from all over the world, including Australia, South America, the USA and New Zealand, sent in hearts made of wool, wood, paper and many other materials.

Now all of the hearts have been handed out, all except some very special ones with “very personal emblems” and bearing the names of the victims.

“We’ve got 11 left because some of the relatives of those killed just aren’t ready to receive a gift and that’s totally understandable,” explained Beth.

The Be Proud Special recognition award

Beth received her award from Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, Councillor Nigel Murphy after an introductory speech from the Lord Mayor Councillor Eddy Newman, 

Councillor Murphy said: “When we reviewed the nominations for this year’s Special Recognition award, it instantly became clear that the sheer range of extraordinary contributions from individuals and organisations across the city meant there was no way to choose just one recipient.
“Whether it was through demonstrating incredible courage by helping those in need at the scene of the attack, or by showing exemplary compassion for those affected in its aftermath, these people truly represent the best of Manchester and the awards underline our gratitude for their remarkable response at the city’s hour of need.”