Unsung Hero - Sponsored by St Lawrence Caravan Park
Winner - Carolann Jackson
Carolann has for over twenty years worked tirelessly to support people with Asperser’s syndrome, and their families. In 1997, the year her daughter Nita was diagnosed, Carolann set up the support group SAFE, to Support Asperger Families in Essex. In 1998 SAFE became a registered charity; Carolann was to be its Chair for the next 12 years, stepping down in 2010 due to her husband’s ill health. She continued her involvement as President and through voluntary activities. When Nita left school Carolann realised that like other adults with Asperser’s she faced enormous difficulties with employment, housing and meaningful relationships. Carolann created a new branch within SAFE called Asperger’s Syndrome Adults and Parents. ASAP, has provided a lifeline for those seeking help. Carolann continues to volunteer her time and sits on the Essex County Council Autism advisory board. She has been, and continues to work courageously on behalf of others, a true Unsung Hero.
Highly Commended - Ruth Booth
Ruth has been ever present at St Lukes Hospice
since it began. Nowadays she is a trustee and
volunteer receptionist. Her links to the hospice
are well known, it’s not unusual to see her
heading off to a St Luke charity shop, arms
laden with donated goods from friends and
neighbours, some of which are simply left on
her doorstep. Her mantra is ‘St. Lukes is my life’.
In 1990 She completed a form to indicate how she could help, she
identified a wide range of tasks but added a note on the bottom ‘always call
me in an emergency, for anything’.
Highly Commended - Danny Lawrence
Danny is one of the directors of community radio project ‘Gateway 978’ a station run by volunteers, Gateway won the Prime Ministers big society award in 2012 and the Queens award for voluntary service in 2013. Danny is the driving force, helping young people to overcome barriers using radio as a tool to inspire. He is patron of a media centre having set up the radio hub to help other radio stations in the community work and network together. Apart from radio Danny is a patron of the excellent La Danse Fantastique (one of our former winners) and is also patron of Maru Karate Kai both of which are mindful in providing young people with directions and objectives.
Highly Commended - Susan Wilsdon
Susan has devoted most of her life to being an
Unsung Hero. In fact she has been a Duke of
Edinburgh leader for over 40 years, has helped
at numerous sports clubs and has run weekly
summer camps for children. In addition she is a
first responder whose prompt close attention
has saved lives. Her nominator granddaughter
Abbie says, “For all the unpaid volunteer
work that she has done over such a long period she deserves to hear
someone say thank you for everything that she has done”
Highly Commended - Paul Mills
Paul has had a rough ride; he has been battling drug abuse, alcohol and mental health issues for many years. Six years ago, after the death of his father, Paul was in a bad way, he left Suffolk and moved to Southend. With the support of the Richmond fellowship and social services, Paul has turned his life around. He has managed to give up drugs and alcohol and he no longer smokes. He works one day a week in a charity shop, he is on a computer course, he runs a fishing group, and is in charge of a walking group. He’s also engaged in keep fit, swimming, and Zumba classes! He now runs a peer group for other mental health sufferers. His nominator says, “I can’t emphasise enough just how ill he was, his turnaround is nothing short of a miracle, due partly to the wonderful help and support he received, but mainly his own strength of character, we and all his extended family are so very proud of him” and so are we!