The Hotspur Award

The Hotspur Award is given to a person or organisation that has “through bold endeavour” done something to significantly benefit or raise the profile of the North East.

The nomination process is wide ranging and we encourage and welcome nominations from the general public.

The award itself, which is held for a year, is a silver spur. This spur is named after Harry Hotspur, son of the first Earl of Northumberland. Harry was himself a Northumbrian hero famed for his valour and energy.

The award has been crafted for the Association by a local silversmith and is a copy of the famous Charlton spur which is at Hesleyside in North Tynedale. Legend has it that when the larder was empty the lady Charlton would bring out a platter which was empty save for a spur; the message was clear, ride out and steal some cattle if you want to eat. The wonderful painting by William Bell Scott at Wallington captures this scene.

This award has been won by a very interesting and diverse group of individuals and organisations. You can see a full list of past winners here.

An early winner was Frank Atkinson, the man whose vision and drive led to the establishment of the popular Beamish open air museum, the best example anywhere of a museum of industrial and social history.

Other winners include Brendan Forster of the Great North run, the Duchess of Northumberland for the Alnwick garden, Lee Hall creator of Billy Elliott, and Gateshead MBC for their cultural developments such as The Angel of the North, The Baltic, the Sage and Saltwell Park.


You may nominate whoever you wish. You just need to write the name of the person you propose and a sentence or so explaining why you believe they deserve the award. It would be helpful if you also included your own name and address, as a prize will be awarded to one of the proposers of the successful nomination.