Glittering night to celebrate the Pride of Fenland
Hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the selfless heroes who are making a difference to Fenland communities.
Volunteers and fundraisers who are helping to change lives across the area were honoured during the Pride of Fenland awards.
Wisbech St Mary Sports and Social club hosted the amazing night, which was organised by Fenland District Council in association with the Fenland Citizen.
The top Judges’ Award went to inspirational Adele Wright, who gives up her time to support four different charities.
Mrs Wright, 70, is a key member of the Wisbech branch of Macmillan Cancer Support, which last year raised thousands.
She also supports families in the Home Start Scheme, along with visiting an elderly gentleman.
Mrs Wright and her husband Trevor also volunteer at Wisbech Food Bank.
And to prove what a worthy winner she is, Mrs Wright has generously decided to split her £100 prize money between Macmillan, Home Start, Age UK and the Food Bank, which will be receiving £25 worth of sugar.
Speaking shortly after receiving her award Mrs Wright said: “I can’t believe it, I am elated.
“I had absolutely no idea that I would win as there are so many marvellous people who had been nominated.
“I just like helping people.”
The runners-up award went to 16-year-old Ross Bennington for his inter-generational work in Wisbech.
Ross volunteers with various community groups who support elderly people in the town, including the Salvation Army and the Over 60s club.
The Salvation Army put Ross forward for the awards and their nomination states: “Without being asked to, he will often draw alongside elderly people and make them feel worthwhile and loved.”
Ross said it was a surprise to receive the award. “I like to help and I want to work in elderly care when I am older.”
The Good Neighbour category was won by Margaret and Dave Gibbs, who were nominated by nine different people.
The couple have been quietly making a big difference to people in Newton-in-the-Isle by organising social events and groups, litter picking, Christmas lights switch-ons and much more.
Mr Gibbs said: “It is a total shock to win. To have been nominated by so many people is amazing.”
His wife added: “We don’t do what we do for acknowledgement but it is nice.”
Other nominees were: A R Watson, Val Rawlings, Dee Potter and Ann Cross.
Jayne Denby was named the winner of the volunteer category.
Mrs Denby founded the Welcome 2 Our World group, which provides support to families with at least one child who has special needs or a learning disability. She has helped more than 200 families in Fenland.
Mrs Denby said: “I am pretty astounded to have won as there are so many worthy people here. But I am happy to have won.”
Colin Martin, who has fundraised to buy defibrillators and to help an elderly lady who had lost her Christmas money, was one of two runners-up.
Mr Martin, who was not aware he had been nominated until arriving at the hall, said: “I don’t do it for publicity. I just like to help.”
Pam Freer was named the second runner-up for her work with the Alzheimer’s Society. She said: “I was amazed and really thrilled. This is for all of the volunteers, not just me. We are a very happy group.”
Nominees in this category were: Penny Hicks, Steven Hubbard, Pat Brushett, Ann Cross, Peter Goodey, Jan Feekins, Tracey Milner, David Settlefield, Jane Groves, Geoff Wilkinson, Barbara Kingham, Adele Wright and Edward Dore.
For the first time members of the Fenland Youth District Council chose the winners of the young person category.
Chairman Charlotte Brenchley, her vice-chairman Sarah Bennett and Ben Martin, finance officer, presented the category.
Young carer Bethany West won for her academic determination to be offered two university places along with volunteering and supporting the day-to-day running of her home.
She said: “I am really shocked and really happy. I didn’t expect it.”
Ben Harvey, who has volunteered at a youth club along with providing one-to-one support for others, was named runner-up.
He said: “I am really pleased. This is a big reward and a bit of a shock.”
Other nominees were: Cosan Ahmet, Ross Bennington, Katie-Ann Jardine, Billy Griffiths, Lewis Watson, Ross Usher.
Big cheers rang out and the crowd was up-standing when Justin Cross and Macmillan FC were announced as winners of the group category.
Mr Cross, who has raised more than £40,000 after forming the team two years ago, has dedicated the award to Ady Peck, a player who sadly lost his battle to cancer last year.
He said: “This means a lot and I would like to thank everyone who has supported us.”
Volunteers at Gorefield Youth Club received the runners-up award. The club was formed in November and has 61 youngsters on its roll, who are supported by 20 adults and four junior volunteers.
The club’s Leonard Kimber said: “It is fantastic. We are pleased to get the recognition.”
Cllr Mike Cornwell, communities portfolio holder, once again did a fantastic job in hosting the event, which was organised by Julie Randall and Sharon Dove.
Council leader John Clark said it was a pleasure to be at the event. “It has been an excellent night. The amount of volunteering undertaken in the district is humbling and it is wonderful to hear of the youngsters who are coming in as well.”
Fenland Citizen editor Mark Leslie said: “It was a good night and I thought the new venue worked brilliantly well.”