“and the winners are…”

Congratulations to the winners of the Telford Community Pride Awards 2018 for their dedication, kindness and commitment to making a difference in their communities.

The winners were announced at a ceremony at Telford International Centre last night (Thursday, 29 November) – an inspiring occasion that helped make Telford’s 50th birthday celebrations special.

More than 300 nominations were received for 13 awards, making the job of the judges a tough one.

Cllr Shaun Davies, Leader of Telford & Wrekin Council said: “We are very lucky to live in a place where there are so many wonderful people.  Everyone who was nominated is a winner in my eyes, but my huge congratulations have to go the winners. 

“Thank you for doing what you do.  You are what make our borough great.  Thank you also to all those who nominated and to our sponsors for helping to make the awards a memorable occasion. 

“I hope that together we have helped to inspire others to make a difference for Telford’s next 50 years.”

A gallery of photos from the Telford Community Pride Awards is available here.

The winners are:

Best School Environmental Project – Holy Trinity Academy
Award sponsored by Telford Business Services

Sean Devereux is a form group of 25 environmentally-aware pupils in year 7 and 8 that has led a campaign to clean up in and around their school and raise awareness of the impact of litter.  The group is aware of how lucky they are to attend a brand new school, but as the school has grown they have also become aware of the increasing amount of litter and chewing gum.  They began by drawing in chalk around chewing gum left outside the school to highlight the problem.  They also linked up with Telford & Wrekin Council’s Street Champion initiative to do more.  They decided to spend their ‘impact day’ colleting litter around Priorslee and have realised that positive improvements can only happen if schools gets actively involved.  They now have a weekly litter rota, carry out regular litter picks, come rain or shine, and have produced information materials for form tutors to share with their classes.  They raise funds and have campaigned for their school to end the sale of plastic bottles in school and buy metal HTA water bottles for all.  They “have se an extremely positive example to all students.”

Watch interview with this winner here

Best Environmental Champions – Street Champions
Award sponsored by Lyreco

This group of community volunteers give their time to help with local litter picks and also join together to clean up local beauty spots, such as The Wrekin.  Volunteers of all ages get involved to make a difference to our environment and communities.  There are now over 500 volunteer Street Champions who work in all weathers to help care for their communities.  They are all heroes.

Watch interview with this winner here

Outstanding Educational Achievement – Cameron Watson
Award sponsored by University of Wolverhampton, University Centre Telford

Cameron has overcome a range of sensory issues and literacy difficulties from a young age. He began to develop a passion and talent for music while studying at Abraham Darby where he played saxophone, drums and piano. Due to his perseverance, commitment, passion for music and talent, he went on to achieve three A Levels and is now studying for BA Honours Degree in Music at Salford University.

Watch interview with this winner here

Outstanding Volunteer (under 18) – Jessica Terry
Award sponsored by Aspirations Health and Fitness

Jessica is a young carer for her mother and a volunteer.  She volunteers at the PDSA and library.  She plays the ukulele (self-taught) and teaches a young girl how to play.  Jess “has and will always put others first”.  She is a huge support to her mother and her sister.  She called an ambulance for her mum when she had a stroke and also save her sister’s life after she went into anaphylactic shock.  Her mother nominated her to say thank you for being ‘an amazing young lady who helps everyone.”

Watch interview with this winner here

Outstanding Volunteer (adult) – Becky Cutler
Award sponsored by Aspirations Health and Fitness

Becky signed up to volunteer at Signal, a deaf and hard of hearing charity, after taking part in a British Sign language (BSL) course with mum Emma.  She did this to support her communications skills due to a speech impediment.  The tutors instantly loved her and were impressed with how adept she was at BSL and for the support she gave to others on the course.  Her confidence grew and she asked to volunteer for Signal.  Since starting, she has helped dozens of children learn basic finger spelling and BSL.  She is a great advocate for the deaf community and has shown great initiative – even securing funding from her employer to the charity.  She is described as engaging and patient, with a wonderful manner that brightens the day of everyone she comes into contact with. She wants to continue her work with the deaf community in a professional capacity and has secured a place to study BSL and Deaf studies at university.

Watch interview with this winner here

Outstanding Volunteer (group) – Feed The Birds
Award sponsored by Aspirations Health and Fitness

Feed The Birds aims to help people in our borough who housebound, isolated and lonely.  There are now 14 Feed The Birds volunteers who are trained and matched with someone who lives local to them.  Each week, these amazing volunteers give up their time to visit a matched client.  They clean and refill the bird feeder and chat about the birds they have seen.  They are dedicated to improving the lives of the people they visit and friendships are formed. Although a new initiative, it is already proving a success with an increasing number of referrals, which is thanks largely to the volunteers’ commitment, enthusiasm and dedication.

Watch interview with this winner here

Sporting Achievement – Claire Martin
Award sponsored by Lovell Homes

Claire has been running in Telford since she was a 9-year-old at Brookside Middle School, now Windmill Primary. She has been a member of Telford Athletic Club and has progressed to win several Shropshire titles at school and club level, as well as finishing in the top 10 in many regional championships. She is now the women’s team manager for the Midland Counties, and is ranked in the top 3 in the UK for her age group in many distances on the road and track. She has represented England Masters at Cross Country on many occasions and has also won the Home Countries International Cross Country title. This summer she won the British Masters 5000m track championship. She is putting Telford on the national running map.

Watch interview with this winner here

Best Community Support (individual) – Hannah Whitmore
Award sponsored by idverde

Hannah is a single mum of two young children, one of whom has autism and other disabilities.  Despite her busy life, she is always there to help others in her local community.  She recently gave up work to become a full time carer for her daughter.  Over the years, she has found that people don’t always understand the problems that arise for those who have an autistic child.  With a little more time on her hands to do something about this, she started up the MyFam Project which aims to bring families together and provide opportunities for young people with a variety of conditions and disabilities to socialise and learn from one another.  She started up a Telford Neighbourhood Watch Facebook page to keep people in touch with one another and share information – it now has 9,000 followers. She raises funds to help others, helped distribute water when the recent burst pipe cut off supplies and supports the Christmas Smile project. She is “a truly inspirational lady who is always thinking about others and nothing is too much trouble.”

Watch interview with this winner here

Best Community Support (group) – Christmas Smile
Award sponsored by idverde

Christmas Smile provides presents, hampers and hope to some of the most vulnerable residents in our borough. Originally set up to help children, it later expanded to help others – older people, young families and those living in difficult circumstances. Year after year they try to do more, and last Christmas they gave out 5,000 presents. Smile works with local organisations, charities, schools and care homes to ensure local residents receive Smiles each Christmas – letting them know they are cared for, they are important and they matter.

Watch interview with this winner here

Good Neighbour Award – Linda Leo
Award sponsored by The Wrekin Housing Trust

Linda is a real support to her neighbours, some of them elderly with limited mobility. She helps people on a daily basis, happily running errands, checking how they are and making them a cup of tea.  She has even taken a neighbour a Christmas lunch, glass of wine and flowers so that they were not alone on Christmas Day.  She enjoys going out for a walk and often picks up litter as she goes.  She has done lots of volunteering and currently helps out in the local library.

Unsung Hero – Julie Ward
Award sponsored by Free Radio

Julie has worked tirelessly over the last few years putting on events to raise money for both national and local causes.  Her latest mission, was to bring 10 giant ducks to Ironbridge. The #LetsGoQuackers duck trail brought delight to visitors in Ironbridge before moving to Southwater as part of Telford’s 50th birthday celebrations. Julie spent hours getting the project off the ground and making it happen.  As well as bringing pleasure, Julie and her ducks raised more than £30,000 for two local charities.

Watch interview with this winner here

Unsung Hero Posthumous Award – Malcolm Webster
Award sponsored by Free Radio

Malcolm has been awarded a posthumous Unsung Hero award because of his contribution to our community. It was only after he passed away earlier this year that his colleagues learnt of just how much he did for others though volunteering.  He was a School Governor at Lawley Primary School and Chair of Governors at Donnington Wood Junior.  He went out of his way to support schools, staff and children, in particular Traveller children and families in need.  He was instrumental in setting up inter-school football tournaments, acting as secretary and match organiser.  Without him, the children of Telford would not had an established structure for the tournament, which culminates in a week of finals at the Bucks Head.  He was the mainstay of St Georges Cricket Club for more than 20 years.  As well as being vice chair of the club for many years, he was a regular scorer on a Saturday.  Perhaps his greatest achievement was his work as a junior coach, introducing an entry level group called Junior Dragons. “He took nothing out of the club.  All he did was contribute.” He will be greatly missed.

Watch interview with the family of this winner here

Inspirational Healthy Lifestyle – Gary Annett
Award sponsored by RICOH

Gary is an inspiration to our community. He is a loving, caring family man who gives up three nights a week to support our local community to run. He has supported so many people, of all ages and abilities, who thought they could not run – helping them get fit, lose weight, socialise or just have fun. He has even got things in motion for our own 10k event next year which will bring people together to enjoy running.

Watch interview with this winner here

Social Responsibility Champions – DENSO Manufacturing UK
Award sponsored by Balfour Beatty

Denso has shown a real commitment to supporting local projects, in particular ones that have a positive impact on the environment and people’s wellbeing. As well as supporting the work of the Shrewsbury & Newport Canals Trust to restore our important waterways, the company welcomes local schools into their Eco Garden.  The garden provides a safe and stimulating outdoor environment for pupils to plant and nurture vegetables, learn about bees and explore the sensory garden, woodland and pond. It runs a Walking for Health scheme that encourages people of all ages and abilities to take part in short walks with other friendly, like-minded people. Denso also provides financial support for respite activities for young carers in the borough. 

Watch interview with this winner here

In addition to the Telford Community Pride Awards, six other awards were handed out last night.  The Leader and Cabinet Outstanding Contribution Awards were given to Telford Memories, Citizens Advice Bureau, TACT/Branches, Care Council, Eli Wilkinson and Julie Henry.

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