Isle’s Leesa makes the Pride of Britain final

Leesa Sharpe, Craig Phillips and Sheridan Smith at Pride of the Isle Awards 2017
Leesa Sharpe, Craig Phillips and Sheridan Smith at Pride of the Isle Awards 2017

An Isle charity is celebrating its founder member being named as a Yorkshire finalist in the heart-wrenching annual Pride of Britain Awards.

Leesa Sharpe, who linked with Maxine Strong and Jo Bale to form the Lex’s Legacy Pride of the Isle Awards almost five years ago, will feature on ITV television this week, demonstrating the work of the charity.

The 47-year old married mum of three said: “I want to thank everyone who nominated me for the Fundraiser of the Year category. I am nervous for myself, but I’m so excited for Pride of the Isle and its work. I am both speechless and humbled!

“It all started as a legacy to the late Alexander Strong, who sadly died of neuroblastoma. We later applied to become a registered charity.”

Actress Sheridan Smith agreed to become patron in the charity’s first year and was at its first awards night in 2014, celebrating unsung heroes, selfless and courageous children and adult from across the area.

To date, the charity has raised £213,000.

Leesa, a former Isle businesswoman, will feature on ITV’s Calendar on Thursday. Finalists’ stories will be shown from Monday to Thursday, with the winner revealed on Friday.

Leesa added: “I could not have done this without the hard work and dedication of the PoI team.”

Her most emotional times, she said, included funerals of two much loved young children supported by Pride of the Isle, Ebony Smith of Brigg, and Kasabian Smith of Sheffield. “Having seen seeing them so happy on their ‘wish coming true’ days is how I deal with such heart ache,” added Leesa.