COMMUNITY CHAMPION AWARD
Winner: Stephen Hughes
Steve is registered blind, having been visually impaired since the age of 8. In recent years, he lost the majority of his sight, but he still manages to continue working in London. Steve has certainly not let his blindness, stop him from doing things he enjoys. He has always loved to run, and some years ago found a group of people, who wanted to be guide runners. He started, by running Park Run with them, and over recent years, he’s taken up long distance runs, gaining many medals. He’s run marathons, ultras, decathlons, and has recently participated in runs of up to 50 miles.
And the last marathon he ran, helped raise funds for guide dogs.
Wife and nominator Emma, says “Nothing phases Stephen; he is an absolute inspiration, especially to our children.”
Highly Commended: Simon Foxen
Simon’s childhood interest in comic books and superheroes, has resulted in thousands of pounds being raised for children's charities. He and his supporters, ‘The Thundersley Superhero Alliance’ dress up as superheroes, pirates, and princesses to bring much happiness and laughter, to seriously ill children, at the same time raising, much needed funds. One of Simon's nominators, Lindsey Bidwell, said: “Simon has the biggest heart and is the most caring soul, he deserves to be recognised for everything he has done for these children in need”.
Highly Commended: Kate Sharp
Every week, Kate volunteers, and selflessly gives up her time to run a ‘Rhyme Time’ session at Epping and North Weald library. She continues the sessions throughout the school holidays bringing her young child with her. The sessions are packed. There’s lots of singing and story time, Kate makes and brings in her own resources to complement the content of the sessions. Parents of these young children are happy in the knowledge that ‘Rhyme time’ is not only educational, but a safe, fun place for their children. It also helps parents avoid isolation. Nominator Marion Coyne, herself a primary school teacher said, “I know what a huge difference starting children reading from an early age can make, to help them become life-long readers”.
Highly Commended: Bonny and Jerry Minihane
Bonnie and Jerry, have been tirelessly running, the Brentwood food bank, for many years. Working on the principle, that nobody in their community, should have to face going hungry, the foodbank provides, nutritionally-balanced emergency food and support, to local people in crisis, who are referred to them. Bonnie and Jerry are both retired, but spend much of their time each week, selflessly helping other people.
Highly Commended: Richard Newman
Richard Newman is the founder of K9 Pet Services. His selfless efforts, commitment, and unwavering passion in training assistance dogs, have made a significant impact on the lives of countless individuals in need, in the Southend area. Through his extensive knowledge and expertise, Richard skillfully matches individuals with specially trained dogs that meet their unique needs. They assist individuals with tasks ranging from fetching items, opening doors, and providing emotional support, to alerting them to potential dangers. According to Richards nominator, Dean Nock, “By empowering those with disabilities, Richard's work fosters independence, enhances their quality of life, and restores a sense of dignity and purpose.”