Annual Herts Advertiser Community Awards celebrate the life, heart and soul of our district
PUBLISHED: 11:50 22 January 2019
Those selfless individuals who go out of their way to make things better for those around them were celebrated in style at the annual Herts Advertiser Community Awards.
The Maltings Theatre was packed to capacity with supporters and nominees for the 2018 awards, which were presented to the worthy winners by Sky Sports Formula 1 commentator David Croft.
Herts Ad group editor Matt Adams opened the evening, and told the crowd: “The nominees gathered here tonight know first hand how they can improve their communities, help others and, yes, make a real difference.
“We may have reported on their achievements in the Herts Advertiser over the past year, but the inspiration and initiative to stand up and be counted came from within themselves, and I am sure they would have succeeded even without our support and publicity.
“You nominees are the lifeblood of the St Albans district – but you are also the heart, and you are the soul. Your selfless determination to make things better for those around you is remarkable, and the rest of us gathered here should be humbled by your efforts.
“And although there will be those who walk away with the main awards here tonight, as far as I am concerned you are all winners.”
This year’s winners were:
Role Model of the Year - Pollyanna Hope
After being run over by a bus when she was just two years old, Pollyanna had to have her leg amputated and has since had 21 operations.
However, this has not stopped her from pursuing her love of dancing and inspiring other amputee children to take part in sports and dancing. She has also encouraged her family to set up the charity Elizabeth’s Legacy of Hope which provides prosthetic limbs to amputee children in Liberia, Sierra Leone and India.
Valiant Volunteer - John Jones
For the last year volunteer “JJ” has been covering the tasks required to maintain St Albans City FC’s ground, largely by himself. Maintaining Clarence Park was usually a job for two people but since the death of his colleague, Clive Churchhouse, JJ has been working hard on his own to keep up the conditions of the ground. Tasks that he carries out include erecting goals, washing kits, painting lines on the pitch and cleaning the terraces.
Carer of the Year - Sharron Brunton
Sandridge mother of two Sharron has supported both of her childrenin recovering from brain tumours. Five years after his older sister, Tilly, was diagnosed with a brain tumour, Chad began to notice similar symptoms. Sharron has had to manage caring for them whilst also running tea rooms in the village and fundraising for cancer charities. Both children have had their tumours removed but Chad now mostly uses a wheelchair to get around.
Parent in a Million - Kate Callum
Kate managed to beat cancer and still brought up her family while also battling for her life. Since 2016 she has also been a guardian to her two grandchildren, working full time hours and carrying out the daily chores of bringing up young children.
Kate has sacrificed her own needs to ensure her children and grandchildren have the best possible lives.
Service to the Community - Harpenden Lions Club Life
The club recently marked the 25th anniversary of its Life Skills Programme which has donated over £250,000 to local schools.
This programme currently benefits 27 schools in Harpenden and the surrounding area, encouraging them to use the donations in the best interests of their children. Originally a drugs and alcohol awareness project it now reaches a wider range of issues with funding being used on subjects such as cyberbullying and sex education.
Charity Champion - Adam Dickens
Photographer Adam founded the charity Taking Pictures, Changing Lives which helps to photo-document the stories of those in need and raise awareness to increase funds. At the start of 2017 Adam partnered with Hope for Children’s Head Held High Appeal and crowdfunded over £16,000 to visit and document the charity’s education projects. The appeal will help to transform the lives of thousands of children living in poverty in Africa.
Young Achiever - Giles Smith
10-year-old avid photographer Giles has autism and Charcot Marie Tooth Disease, which affects the nerves in his hands and feet. He decided to use his photography skills to create a calendar and donate the proceeds to the charities that support others with the same conditions he has. The calendars sold out and a total of £800 was made which will be split between the two charities, with a follow-up planned for this year.
Great and Green - Plastic Free St Albans
A new campaign which aims to encourage local residents, visitors and businesses to stop using single-use plastics. The campaign started during Sustainable St Albans Week with a plastic free picnic, a film screening and a partnership with Lush. Plastic Free St Albans wants to completely get rid of plastic bottles, straws and balloons.
Good Neighbour - Kayleigh Wakeling
Kayleigh, 32, donated her kidney to complete stranger Louise Sach after reading her plight on Facebook. Louise was diagnosed with chronic kidney failure aged eight and by the time she finished university it was determined that a transplant would be needed to save her life. Kayleigh bravely stepped forward as a donor and the operation was a success leaving Louise alive and well with a new working kidney.
Nurse/Careworker - Rennie Grove Hospice Care Workers
During times of heavy snowfall in the last year, nurses from Rennie Grove Hospice Care braved the dangerous roads to visit some extremely unwell patients in their homes. For all hours during the Christmas period, Rennie Grove’s nurses cared for patients in their own homes to help ensure families stay together. This was made possible by a team of volunteer drivers who transported nurses around the area.
The Maltings Community Hero Award - Neal Jordan-Caws
Neal is a member of the support team at Heathlands School for Deaf Children where he often helps those with additional learning or physical needs. He is the chair of the PTA at Heathlands and is at the forefront of any fundraising activities. Neal also runs an after school football club in collaboration with St Albans City Deaf Youth FC where he has undertaken training as a coach to ensure access for deaf children.
Lifetime Achievement - Pam Firth
Pam has spent her whole life helping people, particularly within the Hertfordshire community. She has been a member of the Counselling Foundation’s team in St Albans for over 20 years and is currently Programme Tutor. Pam is also Clinical Supervisor for nurses at the Cancer Directorate in an Essex Hospital and Head of Family Support at St John’s Hospice in Bedford. In the past she has worked at a Macmillan Cancer Support hospital and Isobel Hospice in Welwyn Garden City.
For more pictures visit http://communityawards.hertsad.co.uk/