St Albans Mayor’s Pride Awards winners announced after ceremony cancelled

St Albans Mayor Cllr Janet Smith. Picture: Photo Synergy

St Albans Mayor Cllr Janet Smith. Picture: Photo Synergy - Credit: Archant

The winners of the St Albans Mayor’s Pride Awards have been revealed after a planned ceremony was cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis.

Princes to Kings.

Princes to Kings. - Credit: Archant

The nominees had been due to attend a glittering awards evening at St Michael’s Manor hotel until the public health emergency prevented it from going ahead.

The annual awards aim to celebrate the achievements of inspiring individuals, hard-working community groups and public-spirited businesses.

Among this year’s winners were three brothers who formed a rock band to raise money for epilepsy charities, an anti-poverty campaigner and the organisers of a project to provide shelter for homeless people during the winter.

St Albans Mayor Cllr Janet Smith said: “We were determined that the COVID-19 emergency would not stop us honouring our community heroes this year.

“All of the nominated charities, businesses and individuals have done a huge amount for our community over the past year and I am proud to have been able to recognise their efforts with these awards.

“I’m sure that during this pandemic, we will all be even more appreciative of the great things that our community activists do for us.”

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The awards were sponsored by the construction group Morgan Sindall with the nominees being put forward by the public.

The winners were selected by a judging panel including the Mayor, Peter Trevelyan of St Albans Civic Society, Jenny Burley, trustee of St Albans Citizens Advice, and Stuart Nagler, chair of Communites 1st and Assistant Police Commissioner for Hertfordshire.

A special Mayor’s Recognition Award was presented to Helen Whitehouse, a volunteer at the St Albans Good Neighbour Scheme which helps elderly, unwell, lonely or disabled people.

This award is given to individuals or group that have made a significant impression on the Mayor during their year of office.

The Mayor said: “I chose Helen because she has been a frequent, reliable and dedicated volunteer with the Good Neighbour Scheme since 1995. She is someone who cares about the needs of elderly and vulnerable people in our community and is prepared to go the extra mile in helping them to stay independent in their own homes.

“She joined the committee in 1999 and became the Membership Secretary in 2000. Not only does she give lifts to hospital appointments and the like, but she also takes part as a volunteer in every aspect of the scheme.

“She’s a volunteer in the regular shopping team, a befriender, providing practical help, and has done gardening, keeping front gardens in trim so that passers-by are not alerted to the age of the resident.

“Her absolute passion, dedication and loyalty make her a real asset to the Good Neighbour Scheme. She has also found the time to volunteer at Abbey Primary School for the past 20 years.”

The full list of winners is:

Community Champion of the Year – Kathy Green, senior volunteer helper at Jersey Farm Day Care Centre.

Cultural Innovation Award - Alfie Nikitis, an anti-poverty campaigner.

Young Person of Distinction – Zac, Finn and Josh Pile, three brothers who formed the band Princes to Kings to raise money for epilepsy charities in support of their brother who lives with the condition.

Voluntary Sector Award - Winter Beds Project with special commendation to Kerry Pollard and Lucy Gaygusuz; a project run in association with the Open Door charity for the homeless and St Albans city centre churches.

Inclusive Communities Award – Herts Young Homeless, a charity helping young homeless people.

Community Project of the Year – Passport to Leisure, giving people with learning disabilities a social life away from parents and carers.

Community-orientated Business of the Year – The Boot pub run by Sean Hughes. It has campaigned for small businesses and championed good causes, raising thousands for charity each year.

Environmental Champion of the Year - Marianne Jordan, a campaigner whose Ethical Fridays group is making an increasing impact in the district.

Mayor’s Special Recognition Award - Helen Whitehouse, a volunteer at St Albans Good Neighbour Scheme.