FENLAND’S unsung heroes have been honoured for their service to the community in the annual Pride in Fenland awards presented at Wisbech Boathouse yesterday evening (Tuesday).
The awards go to people who make a difference to our lives in so many ways.
This was the seventh year of the awards and in view of the strong nominations, the judges took the unusual step of making an extra community award and some runners-up trophies.
The prestigious awards are spearheaded by Fenland Council in conjunction with the Fenland Citizen and carry £100 in vouchers for the category winners who also received a trophy. Everyone nominated received a certificate in recognition of their amazing work.
Fenland councillor Kit Owen, portfolio holder for Growth and Transport, made the presentations and compered the evening paying tribute to everyone for their outstanding contributions.
Citizen readers nominated their Good Neighbours, Young Citizen and Group/Club/Organisation benefiting the community.
The judges were told of heart-warming stories of young people who have overcome adversity, pensioners who tirelessly help others and long-standing fundraisers who have amassed thousands of pounds for charity.
The Good Neighbour Award went to 69 year-old Chatteris man Joe Cracknell who was described by his nominator Gladys Kightly as “one of the best neighbours anyone could ask for”.
Joe helps with odd jobs, driving elderly female neighbours to appointments, puts out their dustbins, cleans windows - you name it Joe does it!
Winner of the new category this year of Young Citizen (sponsored by the Youth District Council and presented by Ross McGivern, Fenland’s community development officer,) was 15 year-old Jessica Roy, of Elm, who was put forward by her dad, Daljit. Jessica spent a week on a life support machine at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in 2010 after a severe asthma attack. Despite this, she volunteers at a charity shop, helps an elderly neighbour with chores and is a “Kick-Ash” volunteer, helping to promote the anti-smoking message to young people.
The judges were also touched with another nomination in this cateogory for 15 year-old Tom Buck, of Wisbech, and they took the unusual step of awarding a runners-up trophy.
Tom came to live with his grandparents Shirley and Alan Buck at the age of ten after a personal tragedy. He had to give up his friends, school and home on the Isle of Wight.
His granddad doesn’t enjoy the best of health and Tom has been a tower of strength turning his own life around and helping his proud grandparents.
The Group award, sponsored by the Fenland Citizen, went to young people from Buddies at the Young People March centre. Here, a group of teenagers give up their time voluntarily to support primary school children who need an extra helping hand for a number of reasons. The young children might be having problems and the Buddies meet once a week to offer their support and friendship, help boost their confidence and enjoying playing games with them.
Another strong contender in this category was Philip Doughty, of Wisbech, for his fundraising on behalf of toddler Maddison Kilby, who has autism. Philip received several nominations praising him, including one from his mum Cheryl, who said he has “turned his life around” because of the fundraising.
Philip was also praised for his efforts to give Wisbech a better image in the wake of recent bad national publicity and he was presented with a new runners-up trophy.
One name which has become familiar with the judges since the start of the awards is that of Charlie Jenkins. Charlie (72) is chairman of FACT (Fenland Association for Community Transport) and he has been promoting and helping the charity voluntarily for over 20 years.
Despite his own disabilities, his efforts have allowed FACT to become the area’s biggest transport provider for the vulnerable, disabled and elderly members of the community.
He was nominated in the Good Neighbour cateogry but the judges felt his work was more fitting to the community and could not go without recognition any longer.
As a result, they created a trophy for Outstanding Contribution to the Community, which was presented to Charlie.
Other nominees were: Good Neighbour - Marion Ashman, Steve Hiskey, Sandra Allen, Mavis Reed, Robert Lockerbie, Kathy West, Patricia Stammers, Lydia Payne, Sparta Boxing Club’s Matthew Lenton, Kevin Lowe, Tracey Bright, Sharon Watson, Trevor Quince, David Bye, Major Norman Larke, Carol Parrish, Karen Harvey, Marg Stokes, Christopher Pope, Tony Cunnington, Cyril Snushall, Trevor Dyke and Kathy West. Group/club/organisation benefiting the community - Orchard House staff/volunteers, Chris Clark and the team from Staffordshire Bull Terrier Rescue and St Augustine’s Day Centre at Wisbech, Young Citizen - Lauren Goode, Kara Stockbridge, Beau Bain and Leigh Dawson.
• See next week’s Citizen for pictures and more information.