Winner: Kearan and Donna Varley
This special couple are best described by the nomination we received from Carolyn Carey. “Kearan and Donna are amazing, they support so many families with children with special needs
including mine. For example, I had to take my foster child to visit her ill mum in Chester, sadly she passed away. Donna stepped in and took care of my mum who has cancer and my other foster child
who has complex medical needs. Leaving her husband Kearan to care for their own children, two of which have autism and severe learning difficulties.
Another family I know with an adult special needs young man, has been supported by Kearan and Donna following a sudden bereavement of husband and father. They have been invited for meals and emotional support during this difficult time, another family have had assistance with hospital runs and emergency childcare on several occasions this year.
Kearan a corporal in Merville barracks and his wife also support a young single mum, who has no local family, with childcare so that she can continue her military career.
This amazing couple also give their time to support the salvation army’s work with the homeless on many Sunday mornings.
They do so much to support anyone who needs help in their local community, always with a smile despite the challenges their own life, family and ill health brings”.
Highly Commended: Wesley Taylor
Highly Commended: Perry Blake
Perry experienced a troubled childhood that left a mark on his character. As a hardworking and upright adult, he tried to get into youth work to help guide kids on to a better path than the one he had taken, but was refused because of a Disclosure and Barring Search. Now he is a single parent with two sons. Perry has founded an anti-crime programme called ‘the 21UP movement’ which is self-funded by the sales of custom-made items of youth and street clothing.
His nominator Jeff Hedges said “Perry gives kids opportunities they would not have had without him. He makes no profit but changes so many lives with what he has done. He is the most selfless individual I’ve come across.”
Highly Commended: Think Youth
Alex co-founded the THINK YOUTH project with one of our former award recipients Shirley Hume. They are dedicated to getting young people off street corners and to providing an alternative place to go that is fun, entertaining, and rewarding. They are also training young people to be able to use a bleed kit in case they need to use one in an emergency, and how to find the kits. They have recently refurbished an old studio for the youth to use free of charge. Think Youth is funded by the National Lottery and the Essex Community Fund. THINK YOUTH have youth at heart and do what they do out of kindness as they do not get paid for the work.
Highly Commended: Dean Weedon
Dean never thinks of himself. He is on a constant look out for wheelchairs, mobility aids, and other essentials to be donated for disabled people or people who are ill. He drives all day picking them up from people who no longer need them and delivering them free of charge to those who do. He arranges charity nights to raise money for many different charities including supplies for food banks, mental health and lots more.
Many nominations have come in to say the same thing that he is a fantastic help to people in need and they don’t know where they would all be without him.
In the midst of all he does in Essex he even found time to fill up a couple of vans with mobility aids for the Ukraine. He is indeed a very special man and well deserving to be highly commended as an Unsung Hero.