Congratulations! Hertfordshire Community Awards 2020 winners announced
PUBLISHED: 12:07 28 October 2020 | UPDATED: 16:42 28 October 2020
Today we can reveal the winners of the Archant-backed Hertfordshire Community Awards 2020.
The moment has come to reveal the winners of the Hertfordshire Community Awards 2020.
After much deliberation, the judges have decided who will be the winners of Archant’s inaugural county-wide celebration of the great and the good in the Herts community.
Held in association with London Luton Airport, award organisers were overwhelmed by the amount of entries they received.
There were more than 500 entries in the awards in total – and the quality of nominations made it hard to then whittle them down to the respective finalists in each category.
While the planned gala awards night at Stevenage Arts and Leisure Centre in January has had to be cancelled for the safety of nominees, staff and sponsors, we can reveal the winners today.
• CHARITY CHAMPIONS - Sponsored by London Luton Airport
Passionate, inspirational, and selfless are just a few words that sum up this wonderful lady.
As a volunteer, ambassador and Compassionate Neighbour at Garden House Hospice Care, Sarah’s hard work for the cause has made a positive impact on the lives of local families in need of vital end of life care and support.
Sarah is also a patron at Tilehouse Councelling, having been involved with the charity since 2016. She is a ‘Charity Champion’ through and through.
• CARER OF THE YEAR – Sponsored by B&M Care Homes
Romina has been described as “a carer in a million” by colleagues at Smartys Day Nursery, Hitchin.
As manager of the nursery, she carries out her role well above, outside, on top and beyond that specification. She will always offer support, care, guidance and advice to whoever may need it.
With a massive heart and caring nature, she worked tirelessly to fight for Smartys to remain open during lockdown so that childcare could be offered to NHS key workers and other front-liners. A deserving winner.
• TEACHER OF THE YEAR – Sponsored by Airbus
Inspirational Spanish teacher Susanna has run her classes virtually during lockdown and also spends many hours doing her voluntary activities for charity Potential Kids.
She is a mentor for Carers in Herts and also runs mental health courses for them.
She has used the lockdown to continue to learn and educate herself, focusing on mental health and wellbeing. This award recognises all her charitable work and contributions to the Neurodiverse communities.
• GOOD NEIGHBOUR AWARD – Sponsored by Tesco
Selfless Dave Carter really is the ultimate good neighbour. He conceived and started up volunteer organisation Royston vs Coronavirus.
The group is entirely voluntary and operates a helpline for the town, offering a range of services. During the COVID-19 crisis, the organisation Dave started has taken over 800 calls and emails for help from vulnerable neighbours.
One neighbour summed up the group’s work by saying: “You are stars.”
• YOUNG ACHIEVER – Sponsored by JARK Recruitment
Showing a huge heart for someone so young, three-year-old Hatfield girl Lexi cycled a mile-a-day for 32 days for the cancer charity that got her mum through neuroblastoma.
After her mother Lois, 21, was supported through a rare condition, Lexi got on her bike to raise funds for CLIC Sargent.
The mum explained that without Lexi she does not know what she would have done to keep going, and Lois is so proud of her caring daughter helping a charity that helped her.
• SCHOOL OF THE YEAR – Sponsored by University of Hertfordshire
Peartree Spring Primary School
Overcoming the challenges presented by COVID-19, Peartree Spring Primary School is more than just an education establishment.
Its staff are dedicated to going the extra mile to ensure that all children reach their full potential.
An exceptional team effort saw the Stevenage school welcome back all 400 pupils for the last few weeks of the summer term.
• SERVICE TO THE COMMUNITY – Sponsored by Redwood Bank
Keech Hospice Care
This year Keech Hospice Care’s Children’s Team celebrated its 20-year anniversary.
Since it began, the children’s hospice has cared for 1,401 children while supporting their loved ones – and that number is on the rise. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Keech has been on the frontline, caring for life-limited and terminally ill children.
It has quickly adapted to establish new ways of supporting families in isolation.
• NHS HERO – Sponsored by Cambridge Support
Catherine is described as “an amazing nurse and ward manager” and “definitely our NHS hero” by one of those nominating her.
With their daughter, Jess, on a ward for five weeks as the COVID crisis unfolded, the nomination says: “Catherine went above and beyond to pull lots of professionals together and keep us informed and safe”.
The citation added: “I will forever be grateful for her persistence and support.”
• VALIANT VOLUNTEER – Sponsored by Gascoyne Estates
David has been volunteering for the local Mind, mental health charity for more than 20 years.
An IT expert, he was already a long-serving volunteer for Mind in St Albans and Mind in Welwyn Hatfield when they merged to create Mind in Mid Herts (MiMH), in 2007. MiMH would not have been able to grow into the effective and supportive organisation it is today without David’s hard work.
He was shielding during the COVID-19 lockdown but continued to provide support remotely.
• CLUB OF THE YEAR – Sponsored by Mylan
Goffs Oak Girls
George Nicholson formed Goffs Oak Girls’ football club in June 2019 with just six girls. The club now has U8, U9, U10, U11, U12, U13 and U14 teams.
In nominating the community-based club, one parent wrote: “George’s dedication to the girls is absolutely fantastic.”
Another parent wrote: “My daughter was made to feel a part of the Goffs Oak Girls’ family straight away and was made to feel so welcome.”
• LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT – Sponsored by HRJ Foreman Laws Solicitors
Paula has dedicated the last 50 years to care. She has worked in the sector since she was 19, and now has her own care agency.
She is an inspiration to everyone around her. One of her nominations read: “Paula is truly a wonderful carer who a lot of people could learn from.”
Another read: “Paula is an amazing carer and brilliant leader. She is very knowledgeable and always shows empathy whilst providing excellent care to all service users.”
• PARENT IN A MILLION – Sponsored by Archant
Terry is described as “a dad in a million” who does all he can to help others. As well as being a devoted dad to his five children, one with high needs, he drives his wife to deliver food parcels to homeless shelters as part of her Aimee’s Community Project.
His nomination form read: “Terry thinks he doesn’t do anything anyone else does, but he’s wrong. He is totally amazing.
“He is definitely a dad in a million and to see him win this would make my day and his for sure.”
• TEAM OF THE YEAR (SPORTS) – Sponsored by Archant
Stevenage Sports Acrobatics Club
Despite the challenges faced by lockdown, tumblers from the Stevenage Sports Acrobatics Club still have a spring in their step.
The tumbling squad has gone from strength to strength, despite being up against teams that have purpose-built facilities.
The nomination form said: “They all get on so well, we have various ages but they all look out for each other. The older ones act as mentors for the younger ones and look out for them. They are a real team.”
This year has been a difficult one for everyone in the county due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But what shone out from the hundreds of nominations is how much the community has pulled together across the county in time of need.
Community champions, unsung volunteers, NHS heroes, dedicated key workers, hard-working teachers, community-minded clubs and societies, and ordinary folk looking out for their neighbours have all done extraordinary things to help others this year.
The events team at Archant – publishers of the Welwyn Hatfield Times, the Herts Advertiser, the Comet and the Royston Crow – would like to congratulate all those who entered the awards, the respective finalists and, of course, all our deserving Community Awards winners.
Organisers would also like to thank London Luton Airport, all our individual award sponsors and associate sponsors for their support throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
For more on the Hertfordshire Community Awards, visit www.hertscommunityawards.co.uk
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