Final shortlist announced for St Albans Mayor’s Pride Awards

Mayor's Pride Awards 2015

Mayor's Pride Awards 2015 - Credit: Archant

A shortlist of 24 finalists has been drawn up from a list of 80 nominations for the annual Mayor’s Pride Awards.

Eight winners, including the Community Champion of the Year, will be announced at a celebratory evening next month.

An additional prize - the Mayor’s Special Recognition Award – is given to an individual or group chosen solely by the Mayor, Cllr Salih Gaygusuz.

Now in their sixth year, the awards honour individuals and groups who have made a distinctive and valuable contribution to the community.

They are organised by the district council with the St Albans District Centre for Voluntary Service, the Herts Advertiser and Radio Verulam.

The judges, who include the Mayor and representatives of various community groups, drew up the shortlist.

The finalists have been invited along with friends and families to a presentation ceremony at Ardmore House Hotel in Lemsford Road, St Albans, next month.

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The Mayor said: “These awards provide an opportunity to admire the virtues of the unsung heroes and volunteers who never seek praise for themselves.

“They recognise the achievements and hard work of local groups and organisations across the district.”

The finalists are:

Community Champion of the Year

* John Brown: a charity volunteer for Computer Friendly, Tools for Africa and the Children’s Society for 10 years.

* Barry Shadbolt: 30 years of voluntary work with the Scouts, Sandridge Judo Club and as a school governor.

* Ed Suttie: he is fundraising for four charities with a self-funded trek to the North Pole in April.

Cultural Innovation Award

* Caroline Jones: she has raised vast sums for Cancer Research by wearing a different pre-owned outfit every day during 2015.

* Catherine Fenton: she created an unusual and challenging art competition for children and adults to promote the UN’s World Toilet Day.

* Nicole Kelly: head girl at Nicholas Breakspear Catholic School, she has taken on a leading role in improving and promoting the school though charity work in Africa, public speaking and a media officer role.

Young Person of Distinction

* Gabriella Ferrugia: diagnosed with rare auto-immune disease at the age of 10, she has bravely spoken about her condition and raised money for charity.

* Henry Moody: aged 13, he completed a coast to coast walk for charity in aid of African amputees.

* Jessica Leigh: the Sandringham School student helped make contact with British astronaut Tim Peake on the International Space Station.

Community Project of the Year

* Sustainable St Albans Week: the group organised the highly-successful Sustainable St Albans week in November which held a series of educational events and projects.

* Sandpit Theatre: theatre at Sandringham School which has encouraged local children to take part and enjoy quality drama through workshops and performances.

* St Albans Refuge for Mothers and Babies (SARMAB): pioneering work in ensuring children from difficult backgrounds are given a secure and safe start in life.

Community Orientated Business of the Year

* All Saints Studios: a centre for dance, education and performance involving both children and adults offering free classes for carers and other groups in need.

* Chloe James Lifestyle: a boutique specialising and showcasing innovative designs which has helped raise funds for charity.

* Yoga Hall: transformed an unused church hall into a community hub that offers yoga classes for all including beginners, seniors, mothers and babies.

Environmental Champion of the Year

* Heather Foster at The Green Kitchen: she opened her family-friendly, vegetarian café in the Hatfield Road in 2014.

* Penny Jones: she keeps watch on the green belt with activities ranging from highlighting proposed developments to litter picking.

* Sustainable St Albans Week: environmental campaign group that has raised awareness of important issues in the District.

Voluntary Sector Award

* John Murphy: the 77-year-old has helped run St Albans Boxing Club for 40 years.

* Sue Hobley: an ambassador for Rennie Grove hospice.

* The Museum Volunteers of St Albans Museums and Gallery: the team who are working behind the scenes on the new museum and art gallery project.

Inclusive Communities Award

* Active Lifestyles: group that targets the over-60s to reduce isolation and provide activities, events and facilities which will improve social interaction amongst all cultures.

* St Albans for Refugees: campaign group that helps refugees from war-torn Syria and other countries and has organised collections of clothing and food parcels.

* Herts for Refugees: group that also promotes the cause of refugees.