Winner: Charlotte Lomas

To say Charlotte has had a lot to endure is an understatement. Having obtained her diploma in Equine management she went on to work at an Equestrian         Training Centre for three years. Deciding on a career change she began care work in Orthopaedic Centre’s and was accepted to do her nursing qualification. She led a very energetic life, working full time, studying, riding six times a week,going to the gym and socializing with her friends.

Out of the blue she began to feel unwell, suffering blackouts and seizures, 163 of them. Almost a year of hospitalization yet her situation continued to baffle   the experts. An initial diagnosis of Addison’s disease was determined, However it was later discovered by a leading professor at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, to  be a very rare medical problem, Polyglandular Autoimmune Syndrome, otherwise known as PAS.

Charlotte suffered enormously and collected an unbelievable amount of bodily  damage. Her weight eighteen months ago had fallen to under 6 stone.  The NHS persevered and so did Charlotte; to put it in her words she blew a raspberry in the face of PAS. Her blog had a great many followers who drew strength from her brave attitude. Despite one or two set backs along the way and the need for regular medication, In fact 38 pills a day, Charlotte is back in action. This year she graduated with a first class qualification as a registered nurse following her studies here in the new faculty for health and education at the Anglia Ruskin University. Charlotte now works in the NHS, nursing in a specialist burns unit. 

Highly Commended: Louise Mundy

Louise joined Havering and Brentwood Bereavement Service just five years ago. It is Amazing that in that short time she has been personally responsible, through donations, events and gaining grants for raising a total amount of THREE HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND POUNDS. Taking a hands-on approach Louise has been involved in gaining help from local businesses, dealing with the annual fund raising Ball, Fun runs and a Half Marathon. She even ran herself! Together with other various events she took on the annual Children’s party and formed the KITT Club (Kids in It Together) running a series of events for children who have suffered loss to come together with others in a similar situation. In addition she has recently taken on the demanding role of Voluntary Business Manager. 

Highly Commended: Lucy's Little Stars

A group of caring and talented youngsters whose activities go under the name of Lucy’s Little Stars. They have formed what amounts to a Saturday Friendship Club. It all began when Mum Catherine Coale was concerned that her disabled son William and his friends were becoming increasingly isolated at weekends and school holidays. Finding activities to suit his complex needs and those of his peer group was extremely challenging. She wanted to find play situations with the addition of non-disabled children to create friendship and opportunities to play independently from their parents. William’s big sister Lucy, together with other friends and young family members, created just such an environment. Lucy’s Little Stars was born. Due to Lucy’s enthusiastic recruitment there are now twelve little stars aged between ten and fifteen. They give their time for free and as a result have given the disabled children so much, treating them as individuals and seeing beyond their disabilities.

 

Highly Commended: The Big Sing Soul (Howard Francis)

Howard originated a charity called the Big Soul. The Charity raised £46,000 in its first two years, and is now in its third year. The money is used to give free workshops in schools, playgroups, and homes for the elderly or anywhere that needs music. Usually at the end of each session a concert is performed by children to family and friends. The big Soul is of course related to The Big Sing, one of their choirs entertained us earlier. We gave choirmaster Gemma Francis a highly commended award a couple of years ago for encouraging all Essex people to sing regardless of ability and for encouraging music across the county. Their choirs are now extending across the country. 

Highly Commended: Edward Booker

Despite being handicapped by a broken back and neurological conditions Edward manages a football team of ten year olds, three of whom have special needs, two with Autism and one with Dispraxia.  He also assists with the coaching of a team of fourteen year olds.  He uses a walker or crutches to coach from the sidelines. As you can imagine he has become an inspiration to the kids and to their families. His wife Kate says “He is often in great pain but always puts a smile on their faces”

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