World boxing champions Josh Warrington and Maxi Hughes along with Leeds United legend Jermaine Beckford, joined almost 100 people celebrating their alcohol and drug recovery journeys.
The local celebrities were joined by Cllr Salma Arif, Leeds City Council’s Executive Member for Public Health and Active Lifestyles, to hand out certificates at the Forward Leeds Recovery Graduation.
The event marks the achievement of some of the people who’ve successfully completed treatment with Forward Leeds, the city’s alcohol and drug support service.
Cllr Arif said: “It’s wonderful to attend these events and talk to people that have completely turned their lives around. Graduation is the perfect word. The people graduating have worked hard, dug deep, achieved something amazing and now they are looking forward to the future.”
Jermaine Beckford said: “The graduates are so inspiring. Many of them have overcome so much to reach this point. It’s always amazing meeting these people and listening to their stories, in a way it’s quite humbling.”
As well as getting their certificates and having the chance to meet local celebrities, those attending were entertained by songwriter and former graduate Ben Hall with a selection of his own songs.
Anna Headley, Executive Director for Humankind, the lead partner in Forward Leeds, said: ”We’re very grateful to Cllr Arif, Jermaine, Maxi, Sean and Josh for coming along and participating so fully in the night. Giving up their evening to attend means so much to everyone that graduates. It helps to break down the negative mind-sets that some of our graduates may have experienced and shows them that they have something to be proud of instead.”
The event took place in the Norman Hunter Suite at Elland Road, Leeds on September 8 2022. Picture above shows from left to right: Jermaine Beckford, Josh Warrington, Anna Headley, Sean O’Hagan, Cllr Salma Arif, Maxi Hughes.