Third Sector Awards: Unsung Hero Award: Winners - Chris Hughes, IWF Hotline Manager, Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) and Greg Silvester, Special Olympics Great Britain

This award celebrates an individual who makes a difference to the lives of others and is not always recognised

Chris Hughes, Greg Silvester
Chris Hughes, Greg Silvester

Who is Chris Hughes?

The Internet Watch Foundation exists on the frontlines of the fight against child sexual abuse imagery online. Chris joined the team in 2012 as hotline manager, taking on one of the hardest jobs in the world.

Every day, Chris diligently reviews countless images and videos of children suffering sexual abuse for removal, whilst recruiting, training, and leading a dedicated team of analysts.

What has he achieved?

In the eight years Chris has been at the helm, the IWF has cemented itself as one of the most effective hotlines in the world. The team’s capacity has grown tenfold, assessing 260,426 webpages suspected to contain this imagery in 2019.

In 2014, Chris oversaw a considerable change in working practices when the organisation expanded to proactively search for content. 

Since 2012, the IWF has empowered almost two billion people to report suspected imagery. Chris oversees the team receiving these global reports. He has achieved all of this without ever compromising the welfare of his team, and works tirelessly to not only protect the victims of this abuse, but those fighting to eradicate it.

What did the judges say?

“Sterling work of such a difficult but important nature. Chris really has made a profound personal and professional contribution to the reach and impact of the Foundation's work.”

Who is Greg Silvester?

From the age of ten, when Greg began training and competing in gymnastics with Special Olympics GB, he has devoted a huge amount of time to transforming the lives of people with intellectual disabilities as a volunteer, coach, ambassador, and for nine years, as a Special Olympics GB Board Trustee. 

What has he achieved?

In 1996, Greg became one of the first people in Great Britain with Down's syndrome to become a qualified mainstream gymnastic coach. He is also a mentor and public speaker often representing Special Olympics GB with corporate partners or giving awareness talks to schools.

He manages to fit all of his voluntary work around his day job working part time as a business administrator at Gadent Gas. 

After successful completion of the Athlete Leadership Programme, Greg joined the Special Olympics GB Board of Trustees in 2010, retiring in March of this year. Greg has faced discrimination throughout his entire life, but has used sport to prove people wrong over and over again.

What did the judges say?

“Thirty years commitment is an outstanding achievement. The desire to show that we can all make positive impact and change, through our own lived experience is wonderful. An amazing role model and inspiration for us all.”

Highly commended

Laura Smith - Head of Talent, The Brain Tumour Charity


Moyra Parfitt, Calan DVS

Polly Holt, Orbis UK

Kimberley Ferguson, British Heart Foundation

Charlotte Freeman, Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust

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