Jane Smith - Community Champion Winner
Jane is the chair of the ‘Relay for Life’ team in Clacton, a volunteer led community event, which raises vital funds for Cancer research UK. There are 46 such events that take place across the UK. ‘Relay For Life’ Clacton can be proud of the boast that they were the biggest of the events this year in England and Wales. Not bad for a small seaside town in Essex! Led
by Event Chair Jane Smith, the committee, has worked tirelessly to grow
‘Relay For Life’ Clacton since its inception in 2010, their hard work and
dedication has certainly paid off. They live and breathe the charity all year
round, and never miss an opportunity to talk to people in their local
community about the event and the work of Cancer Research UK,
whether they are queuing up in the supermarket, or doing one of their
many bucket collections. Year after year, this community event keeps
growing; local people even plan their holidays around it! In its first year it
raised £24,500, just 9 years later in 2019 it raised over £172,000.
The total raised Since Jane and her team begun is over nine hundred
thousand pounds. At the event ball this year Jane excitedly said over the
microphone ‘this time next year Rodney, we will be millionaires’
John Rowles - Highly Commended
For over fifteen years John has worked non-stop in trying to unite the fractured community. He has been instrumental in making the future regeneration of Purfleet a reality. Thurrock Council have, at last, approved outline planning for a one billion pound regeneration scheme. John and the community forum have worked tirelessly over the past four years to bring this scheme to fruition. As well as chairing the forum John is a trustee of a charity working in the area, to support children and young people from toddlers to teenagers. All of this whilst he and his wife continue to act as foster parents to many children.
Sarah Brown - Highly Commended
A few years ago Brightlingsea outdoor
swimming pool was neglected and expected to close. Thanks to the hard work of local people and town councilors, the pool was taken over and given charity status. Brightlingsea Lido was formed, all work done on a volunteer basis by a team of trustees. Sarah is one of these trustees. She has devoted an incredible
amount of time and effort in order to get the pool back up and running in
2018. Thanks to the success of that first summer season a cafe has now
been developed. The lido is now a safe place for the community to visit,
as well as a great family environment, providing swimming locally in a
beautifully maintained 50 metre outdoor pool. Promoting a healthy
wellbeing and a great community spirit, the lido is a blessing to the town
bringing in tourists from miles away.
Sarah Browns nominator, Lizzie Merrell says:
“Sarah has so much drive and passion. She personally devotes at least 20
hours of voluntary time every week to keep the establishment running.
She is humble, modest and works very hard, receiving not a single penny.
All of the trustees have put enormous effort into this project, but Sarah is
the face that we see working every day, sometimes as a lifeguard and
devoting serious hours to make sure the lido survives and makes
Brightlingsea such an amazing place to live.”
Paul Wilson - Highly Commended
Paul’s heart attack in 2010 left him unable to continue working at power stations as an Electrical Engineer on heavy-duty transformers. Paul, more used to a busy working life, started volunteering with CHARMS, The Essex Therapy Centre. He uses his skills every Friday operating the Hyperbaric Oxygen system. He is also a volunteer for Chelmsford Centre for the Blind. He is a volunteer Marshall for both the ‘Walk of Life’ and the ‘Santa Fun Run’ fundraising for Farleigh Hospice. Paul is also a fundraising volunteer for Essex Air Ambulance. Paul and his friend Mick regularly run quizzes to raise funds for charity. Performing, without charge, for ‘Support 4 Sight’ and a residential home. Paul is a member of the ‘Chelmsford Men's Shed’ where, with other members, he collects unwanted pallets to transform into things such as garden benches and planters that bring money back into the organization. Paul also helps to provide a weekly lunch for homeless people. His nominator Dr. Benjamin Newman Wright said: “Paul is someone who should be recognized for his ability to cope with a serious health condition while giving all he can to others. He goes the extra mile to undertake so many charitable roles”.
Aidan Kelly - Highly Commended
Aidan, a serving Metropolitan Police Officer, works tirelessly within the voluntary sector for a number of charitable organizations and community groups as well as the PARC organization, the specialist Play And Resource Centre in Braintree, where his son, Luke attends. Aidan has raised many thousands of
pounds for PARC, he has run, cycled, abseiled from ridiculous heights and
organized a great number of events, most recently a successful big band
He is also heavily involved with local heritage groups, one of which is
building a steam train from scratch, helping to raise much needed funds
for them, as well as other charity and preservation groups. Aidan is active
in his local church, and a qualified football referee, always available to
help local youth teams in order that the kids get an opportunity to enjoy
His Nominator Mark Allen said: "I am frankly in awe of this man and
would love to see his efforts recognized, he deserves it in recognition of
the help that he, his family and other families have received."