Selfless superstars who dedicate their time to make a difference to others and their communities were honoured at last night’s Pride in Fenland awards (Wednesday).
Glowing tributes were paid to the district’s inspirational unsung heroes at the 11th annual awards ceremony, held at Wisbech St Mary Community Centre.
More than 200 people packed into the venue for the special celebration, organised by Fenland District Council in partnership with the Fenland Citizen and sponsored by the Vesuvio Italian Restaurant in Whittlesey.
Councillor Mike Cornwell, the council’s portfolio holder for communities, said he was delighted to see one of the highest number of nominees in the history of the Pride in Fenland awards – showing that volunteering is very much “alive and kicking” in Fenland.
“Volunteering is by no means a new idea, but it is one that is consistently undervalued in our increasingly materialistic society,” he said. “It is this generous act of giving up precious time to others that singles out the individuals, couples, groups and organisations here tonight. Without their thought, dedication and commitment, Fenland would be a much poorer place.”
Here are the winners of each of the five awards together with all the other nominees. Each of the winners was presented with a trophy and a cheque for £100; the runners-up received cheques for £25. They and all the other nominees also received a special certificate.
Winner: Bartosz (Barty) Alichper. Barty received a number of nominations for organising Christmas Day dinners at Paninis in March for people who are homeless or who would otherwise be on their own. Barty gave up his third Christmas Day in 2017 to put on the dinner, providing a four-course feast for guests and organising transport for those who needed it, all out of his own pocket.
Runner-up: Clare Edmund
Other nominees: Jane Archer, Rebecca Bradshaw, Dee Potter and Sue Hooton, Roy Roberts, Doris Russell, Rex Venni.
VOLUNTEER IN THE COMMUNITY
Winner: Paul Albutt, for his work in Wisbech St Mary and surrounding villages. One of Paul’s biggest achievements recently was project managing the transformation of the Sunset Rooms into an indoor sports centre for the wider community. He has also helped with many
local projects including the Wisbech St Mary float in the Rose Fair, and the Wisbech St Mary Primary School’s Parent Teacher and Friends Association with their fireworks extravaganza.
Runner-up: Jill Nursey
Other nominees: Anne Appleby, Mel Barkess, Peter Clayton, Sam Downing, Sophie Foston, Ernie Graham, Karine Greentree, Jane Groves, Carly Hain, Pat Hart, Geoff Hill, Sylvia Keane, Trevor Ketteringham, Major Norman Larke, Gill Lawrence, Lenner Mockford, Geoff Noriss, Matthew Ormiston, Alan Palmer, Joanne Rose, Deborah Slater, Cyril Snushall, Dominic Stannard, Glenda Storey, Adrian Sutterby.
GROUP, CLUB OR ORGANISATION BENEFITING THE COMMUNITY
Winner: March Community Car Scheme. The group’s nominators said the scheme “really stands out when it comes to the work people do a voluntary basis” and provides a “first class” service to members of the disabled community. The drivers are “friendly and very helpful and provide a genuinely brilliant service for community members who might not otherwise be able to get about.”
Runner-up: Wisbech and District Life Saving Club.
Other nominees: Chatteris in Bloom Committee, Doddington Carnival Committee, Eddies, Wisbech Lions, the New Queen Street Surgery Patient Participation Group, Newton Village Hall Committee, PHAB, Wisbech Rose Fair team, Wimblington Christmas Lights Committee,
Wisbech in Bloom.
YOUNG PERSON OF THE YEAR (presented by Coun Mark Buckton, portfolio holder for young people)
Winner: Byron Nunn. Ten-year- old Byron was nominated by his mum Peggy for the inspiring way he copes with cystic fibrosis, a life-limiting condition which causes him lung and digestive issues. Byron undergoes daily physiotherapy to help him breathe and has to take over 30 tablets a day to aid digestion. Mum Peggy said: “Byron gets up at 5am every day, does his physiotherapy and takes his tablets. He then goes to school like every other 10-year-old, all the while struggling to breathe. He does this with a smile on his face, and rarely complains, despite not always being able to take part in some of the things his friends do.”
Runner-up: Joseph Wood
JUDGES’ SPECIAL AWARD (presented Coun Kay Mayor, chairman of Fenland District Council)
Winner: Joanne Rose, who received six separate nominations for her “passionate and tireless” community work in Wimblington. Nominators said Joanne is a “driving force” behind many village projects, giving up hours of her time “year in, year out” to organise, fundraise and provide villagers with “amazing community events”. A member of the parish council, she is chairman of the Christmas Lights Group and annual Fun Day committee, and also runs a business from home while raising a young family. One nominator said: “Joanne is an inspiration to us all and always puts in 100 per cent.”