Green background with a paisley pattern in each corner. Friends, Families and Travellers Awards 2024 written in the centre.

Here are the winners of the Friends, Families and Travellers Awards 2024!

Yesterday, Thursday 25th April, the winners of the Friends Families and Travellers Awards 2024 were announced at the Brighthelm Centre, in Brighton.

The evening was a great success – the room was buzzing with chatter, food and drink were flowing, and Gypsy, Roma, Traveller and nomadic people came together from all over the country to celebrate one another’s sheer dedication and astounding achievements, both as individuals and as wider communities.

We’re grateful to the Brighthelm Centre for letting us host the awards in their brilliant space.

Every nomination was inspiring in its own right, and had an immeasurable impact on those around them through their work. The judging panel had a difficult task and grappled for days when choosing just one winner per category, with well over 100 nominees.

Those that were shortlisted demonstrated a zeal for enriching the lives of their own communities and wider society, and hearing about each individual or project left barely a dry eye in the house.

All of us at FFT are filled with pride for every single person that took part in the Friends, Families and Travellers Awards 2024, from the winners, to the nominees, to the attendees. The event could not have happened were it not for each and every one of you!

Without further ado, here are the winners:

Inspirational Young Person Award

Winner: Crystal Smith

Crystal is devoted to championing Gypsy, Roma and Traveller rights and eradicating stigmas, particularly around Irish Traveller women. While studying for her law degree, she has set up a consultancy platform to help members of her community re-enter education, secure housing and escape domestic abuse. 

Runners up: Emma Ward and Joseph Baker

Arts, Culture and Heritage Award

Winner: Kelly Horsley

Drawing on her own experiences and the importance of family within Romany culture, Kelly was issued a grant by Voices Gloucester and co-created the exhibition Kushti Divvus, celebrating the forgotten stories of Gloucester’s Romany Gypsy community. The exhibition celebrated the heritage of the local Romany Gypsy community, displaying photographs, stories, old vardos and a traditional cast-iron pot, and served to increase understanding and challenge misconceptions about the rich histories and traditions of Romany people. With many repeat visitors, Kelly’s work and research encouraged other families to delve into their own histories, while helping to raise awareness across Gloucester and beyond.  

Runners up: Abby Young and Bela Varadi

Sporting Excellence Award

Winner: Eli Green

Previously a professional boxer, Eli now shares his knowledge and experience with younger generations, including Gypsies and Travellers. Invested in health and wellbeing, he dedicates every free moment to young people’s training.

Runners up: Les Stevens and Samanta Norbury-Webster 

Education Award

Winner: Pierina Tello

An avid tutor dedicated to children’s learning, Pierina is known for her nurturing and selfless nature, and countless families sing her praises of the lasting impact she has on children’s education. As a Liveaboard Boater herself, she is committed to expanding the young minds of children from all backgrounds across the world and to help them achieve academically. Trained as a dyslexia specialist, Pierina tailors her approach to each individual and helps students overcome barriers.  

Runners up: Marie Bowers and Martin McDonagh 

Inspirational Project Award

Winner: Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Women’s Health Group

Drawing on her own lived experience, Dee Cooper founded a voluntary group bringing women all over the country together to discuss issues that matter most to them, including maternity, menopause, PTSD and racial trauma. Guest speakers are also invited to share their knowledge and experiences, and attendees are able to get 1 to 1 support and advice from nurses in private break-out rooms.  

Runners up: Psychotherapy & Skills Coaching Service for Boat Dwellers without a House Mooring and Showmen’s Mental Health Awareness

Alexander Award for Lifetime Achievement:

Winner: Chris Penfold Brown

From founding the Gypsy Traveller Advisory Group for Sussex Police and acting as Chair, to advocating for Gypsy and Traveller communities in Parliament and influencing decision makers both locally and nationally, as a Romany woman herself, Chris has dedicated over three decades to ensuring the voices of Gypsy and Traveller people are heard, and services more accessible to Gypsy and Traveller communities through training councillors, police, and organisations. Bridging the gap between communities and bringing people together from all walks of life through craft and storytelling workshops, Chris also keeps traditional Romany skills, like flower making and step dancing, alive, and had a small poem and story book published in 2007.

Runners up: Edwina Heard and Johnny Doherty

Notes for Editor

About Friends, Families and Travellers (FFT)

Friends, Families and Travellers is a leading national charity that works to end racism and discrimination against Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people and to protect the right to pursue a nomadic way of life.

Media Contact

Communications Team

Email: [email protected]

Additional Resources

‘Friends Families and Travellers Awards 2024: Here’s the Shortlist!’. Friends, Families and Travellers. January 2024. View.

Sign up to our Newsletter

Scroll to Top