Tributes paid to Stevenage filmmaker at annual showcase

Cllr Sherma Batson, Kate Belinis, Jules Campbell and Wayne Younge presenting the Campbell Younge awa

Cllr Sherma Batson, Kate Belinis, Jules Campbell and Wayne Younge presenting the Campbell Younge award to Mark Straker's two brothers, Nigel and Leroy - Credit: Archant

A showcase of a town’s multi-cultural talent was held at the weekend on a night when tributes were paid to an award-winning filmmaker.

Celebrate!!! – an annual concert organised by Stevenage World Forum – took place at the Gordon Craig Theatre in Stevenage on Saturday.

The night included an appearance from Britain’s Got Talent finalist and Stevenage resident Gabz Gardiner, who performed her hit single Lighters (The One) and new song Lie There, which is due to be released this Sunday.

The Campbell Younge award, a prize given to individuals deemed to have made a significant contribution to the community, was awarded posthumously to Stevenage filmmaker Mark Straker, who died suddenly on October 17.

His brothers Nigel and Leroy collected the award, which Mr Straker had been given twice before.

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Kate Belinis, chairman of Stevenage World Forum, said: “Once again it was a very successful evening which highlighted the great talent and cultural diversity which we have here in Stevenage. I am particularly pleased that Gabz was able to come and perform to her home crowd.

“While there was plenty to celebrate on Saturday, the event was also a chance to pay tribute to the life and work of Mark Straker. Mark stood as a beacon, lighting the way to tolerance, acceptance and respect for one another. He enriched the lives of those he touched through his work in the local community. “His legacy will continue to live in the memories and work of those who were privileged to know him.”

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Anyone interested in being involved in next year’s Celebrate!!! should email

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