Welwyn Hatfield Times Community Awards finalists announced
PUBLISHED: 11:02 20 July 2017 | UPDATED: 14:41 20 July 2017
We are proud to announce the finalists in the Welwyn Hatfield Times Community Awards 2017.
These awards celebrate individuals, schools and groups who have made a difference to others and the community.
The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony this evening at Oaklands College in Welwyn Garden City.
Role Model of the Year
•Steve Owen is a dad from Knebworth who took on a cycling challenge of 100 miles to raise money for Thrombosis UK.
He did this despite having severely damaged lungs due to a blood clotting disorder.
Steve had never smoked and has lived a relatively healthy lifestyle, but was diagnosed with Factor 5 Leiden after passing out at a train station.
He now raises awareness of the condition.
•Timothy Muggleton is a kind-hearted churchgoer who is often thinking of ways of helping others.
Just after Easter, he bought over £100 worth of discounted chocolate eggs to help some of the area’s less well off families.
At Christmas Timothy took on the role of Santa Claus when he bought toys and donated them to the local Women’s Refuge.
•Bill Parker is a devoted grandfather who organised a family fun day in WGC in a bid to transform the life of his disabled toddler grandson.
Bill, who works as an electrician, organised the day to help raise money for a private operation for four-year-old Reilly.
As a result of spastic diplegia cerebral palsy, Reilly has poor muscle control, and can walk only with special splints on his feet.
•Chris Welsh is a fire officer and watch commander at Hatfield Fire Station.
Following the death of a rough sleeper from a garage fire in Hatfield in 2015, Chris began looking into the situations that rough sleepers find themselves in.
Chris started a project to reduce garage fire call outs and by working with other organisations and local charities he obtained funding for survival bags that were distributed to rough sleeper to use over winter to help keep them alive.
•Geoff Rawlings took on an 82-mile walking challenge to raise money for WGC-based charity Isabel Hospice earlier this year.
He has fundraised several times for the charity by taking part in challenges, including a trek in Iceland, the Five Peaks Challenge and the Three Yorkshire Peaks last year.
•WGC Swimming Club has been nominated after 37 young members swam as many lengths as possible in one hour.
They raised at least £2,800 for Isabel Hospice.
•Mirvet Brodie is the bursar at Onslow St Audrey’s School in Hatfield, but goes above and beyond the call of duty.
She always makes sure every charity event raises its full potential and is in early to be on the gate to collect donations on non-uniform day.
For the past three years Mirvet has knitted hats to be sent overseas to help those in need.
She has knitted over 400 hats as part of the Welhat appeal.
•Abbie Hackworth swam 1.5km to raise money for Marie Curie.
The nine-year-old wanted to support the charity after learning that her headteacher’s dad was battling cancer.
She also raised money for The Swimathon Foundation.
•Kirsty Conder organised a hugely successful four-hour ‘clubbathon’ at the Sports Village at the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield for the OMF (Oli Mills Foundation).
This event alone raised over £7,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust in Oli’s memory.
Kirsty got everyone she knew to take part or sponsor the event.
School of the Year
•Homerswood Primary School has been nominated for helping children settle in quickly and making them feel welcome.
The school has been praised for encouraging children to congratulate each other when they do well and even if they don’t win during sports.
Staff have also introduced an App called Marvellous Me whereby teachers can let parents know about something special that their child has done.
The children get to give a ‘high five’ to the screen and it also helps parent/child interaction when they get home.
•Commonswood Primary and Nursery School has been praised for its “amazing school council who work tirelessly to improve children’s lives”.
They are a group of children aged between seven and 11.
•Oaklands Primary School has been put forward for this award because of its “brilliant” community spirit.
The teachers, teaching assistants and other staff have been praised for working extremely hard.
Parents would strongly recommend the school to other parents, adding that “every child is different and every child is happy” at the school.
Oaklands is also a Forest School and holds sports and language events.
•Codicote Primary School has been nominated because of its “incredible staff and wonderful environment for children to thrive in”.
Staff go above and beyond their duty to run after school clubs, charity events and to attend community and sporting events.
Staff also took part in the Race for Life for Cancer Research in Stevenage.
A parent who underwent treatment for cancer and described the support of the school as “incredible”.
Good Neighbour Award
•Marian Hurle and Cathy Roe are passionate about keeping public areas clean and tidy.
They regularly organise community clean up events across Hatfield.
The litter-picking duo and their teams manage to clean up huge amounts of rubbish from the streets,
Not only does this improve the local environment, but it also generates community spirit by bringing everyone together.
•Dawn Mahood has been nominated after helping save the life of her neighbour.
When Dean Botham suffered a sudden cardiac arrest as he was driving into the street, he was pulled out of the vehicle by two male members of the public.
Dawn then immediately performed CPR.
She did this for 20 minutes whilst waiting for the emergency services and has been credited for saving his life and also preventing any brain damage.
Dean’s family are incredibly grateful to Dawn.
•Kate Wright is a church warden and despite mobility difficulties, she visits the sick and poorly in various care homes in the Birchwood area of Hatfield.
She takes them Holy Communion, friendship and a listening ear.
She is always willing to take local people to the hospital or doctors, all at her own expense of time and sometimes parking costs.
When her health was better she was also a governor at Birchwood school.
Kate has been described as “an absolute asset to her community”.
Service to the Community
•Carole Charters has been running a trampoline club in Potters Bar for the last 15 years on a voluntary basis.
She also runs disabled groups, school groups, and works closely with Hertsmere Council on their We Move, She Moves group, which encourages woman and girls to get active.
She has taken countless children right up to national and international level.
She is a high level coach and a national judge, often giving up weekends to support and guide the children.
•Andrew Chapman is known for putting the community first and helps out however he can.
His involvement includes being the head of the Lemsford History Group, being a warden for the Lemsford Springs, helping out with St John’s Church/School fete, building websites for the Lemsford Village community and helping neighbours with building works.
He has been a scout leader helping the cubs.
Andrew has also attended and supported protests for the QEII Hospital and Panshanger Airfield.
•Dave Simpson does his bit to help senior citizens.
Dave had a very bad accident last year while taking his scout group (which he also volunteers for) skiing.
He was bed/wheelchair bound for almost over a year and unable to work.
As soon as he was able to get back out and about he started driving senior citizens around for charity and he’s been doing it ever since - all weekends, holidays, all sorts of hours.
His neighbours are very grateful to him.
•Selina Evans has been a Reader [assistant minister] in the Church of England for many years now.
For the last 2.5 years, she has worked in Digswell and WGC.
Mother-of-five Selina visits the sick, works in three primary schools, officiates at funerals, listens to children read and is a champion of social courses.
She has worked hard at ensuring that all three churches in Digswell are dementia friendly.
This summer she has been working on two projects - combating loneliness by encouraging people to join a coffee morning and organising summer activities for children.
•Joe Heeney established the Resolve drug and alcohol service in WGC as one of the main ports of call for vulnerable people of all ages.
Sadly some have died, but many more lives have been saved through the service which originally started some ten years ago.
It started as a voluntary agency existing entirely on donations, and has received Big Lottery funding of £600,000 over the past five years.
Joe has been praised for his “drive and passion” and the fact that he never gives up on people.
He has worked without payment for six years and has raised the profile of addiction and alcoholism so that people suffering with these problems do not feel shame and fear.
•Shark Robotics is Stanborough school’s robotics team who achieved the best-ever finish by a British team in an international competition for robotics.
They travelled to Kentucky to compete against the best 500 teams from around the world for the VEX World Championships title and made it to the semi-finals,
Their teacher, Mr Sahbi Benzid, described it as an “outstanding achievement”.
•Maryrose Mead has lived in WGC, since the age of 4, some 58 years ago.
During this time, she has had a positive impact on many children’s and families’ lives, in many ways.
She has served the community in various ways for example foster care, pre-school education and within the church environment.
The majority of these roles have been unpaid, without status or any form of significant recognition.
Since the age of 14, Maryrose has been helping at the children’s groups at Christchurch. She has been children’s leader for the three to four year olds for the last 15 years.
•Ian Sparks has been a Herts Police Special Constable, a St John Ambulance volunteer, a first responder for the ambulance service and a volunteer for Herts Fire and Rescue service.
He became a Special Constable when he was 20 and did this for 10 years.
As he was a single dad caring for his disabled daughter, he then volunteered for St John Ambulance as this fitted in better with his caring duties.
When he heard there was a severe shortage of first responders, he signed up and became the second volunteer in Hatfield.
He is currently a volunteer with the fire service and is highly thought of within the fire service.
Carer of the Year
•Tia Catlin is seven and helps look after her 12-year-old autistic brother every day.
The only break she gets is when she is at school.
Her mum said: “She is so amazing and mature for her age and I am so proud of her. I am also a full time carer to my son.”
•Gemma Bray, 31, looks after a little girl with special needs who has a tracheostomy. She spends every day with her, carrying her medical bag.
When Year 5 went on a residential school trip, Gemma made it possible for this girl to join in by volunteering to go with her.
Gemma is always by her side not letting her miss anything.
•Niamh Bateman is just 11 but helps look after her dad who is a 57-year-old retired police officer with multiple sclerosis.
Niamh is described as a fantastic help and never complains when asked to fetch things.
She brings her dad food and drink, closes and opens the car door and goes to watch football with him.
•Aimee McCormack began her own community project a couple of years ago helping homeless people by making up food parcels and hampers that she then delivers to them, particularly at Christmas.
She has mainly relied on donations from friends and spends a lot of her own money buying things such as food, clothing, sleeping bags
Aimee is a young mum with five children under 10, including her youngest born in January 2017.
But being heavily pregnant didn’t stop her from getting lots of hampers together.
•Romeo Hartley is a five-year-old Staffordshire bull terrier.
He and owner Steph Hartley regularly visit Lister hospital in Stevenage to bring a bit of light to the patients of two stroke wards, and also Acacia Mews, a care home for the elderly where they pay a weekly visit to residents with dementia.
On top of this Romeo is also a regular blood donor at the Royal Veterinary College.
•Margaret Stephens almost single-handedly keeps Old Hatfield in flower, and is a tireless litter picker.
In 2014 the fledgling Old Hatfield Residents’ Association decided set up a Blooming Old Hatfield project to involve the community and make a visual improvement to the old town.
Margaret led this project from the front and has become a familiar presence around Old Hatfield planting, watering, weeding and tidying her creations which now amount to 20 hanging baskets, 12 planters and 10 beds varying in size from one metre diameter to 400 metres long.
•Charlie Honour runs the Welwyn Garden City Hockey club colts section.
Charlie has a very busy working life as a primary school teacher, but she can be found every Sunday morning at the hockey pitch running coaching sessions and co-ordinating the various volunteer coaches.
Charlie is extremely organised and dedicated to providing hockey opportunities for the young people of Welwyn Hatfield.
In addition to this volunteer role, Charlie also plays for one of the ladies teams on a Saturday and carries out a lot of administration on their behalf.
•Jonathon Elkhuja, 27, volunteers for the Hertfordshire Charity Herts Young Homeless (hyh).
He has done so for the last three years and continues to go that extra mile.
Jonathon first experienced homelessness at the age of 17 and was living independently with additional needs from a young age.
With help from hyh, he was able to sort out his debts and build a life for himself.
Jonathon now works in a care home and outside of work he speaks to young people about homelessness, often sharing his journey. He also represents hyh at large networking and partnership events.
Parent in a Million
•Terry Humbles, 29, has taken on two children as if they were his own and has one child of his own. He treats all three children equally and has helped the two older children overcome troubles from their past.
•Gareth and Jessica Burger are parents of a Jonty, six, who has quadriplegic cerebral palsy and epilepsy.
They recently raised money with help from the public to provide Jonty with a new powered wheelchair so that he can stay at the school he loves.
Jonty is described as a bright and lively boy and has surpassed all expectations given his dire prognosis at birth.
His loving parents were overwhelmed by public support to help fund the wheelchair.
•Gillian Smith’s life changed when her daughter Ruth was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer in January 2016.
Gill and her husband Bob had sold their house and were days away from moving to Norfolk to retire when the terrible news was delivered.
Without a second thought the house sale was cancelled so Gill could be by Ruth’s side to help with her young daughters, one who has anxiety issues and the other with a sensory autistic syndrome.
Thankfully after being told the cancer was untreatable, Ruth has since been given the all clear.
•Ruth Smith, who is in her thirties, has been through a hugely difficult year and a half.
She is a single parent to two daughters and was diagnosed with breast cancer in early 2016.
She has had numerous appointments, operations and biopsies.
This month she was finally given the good news that she no longer has cancer cells in her body.
Her friends describe her as a “true fighter who never gives up” and say she is “always putting her children first”.
During and following her battle with cancer, Ruth has also been raising money and awareness for charities.
•Bailey Gardner, 12, took it upon himself to start a petition calling on Welwyn Hatfield Council to bring a splash park to the town.
He collected more than 1,000 signatures online and on a hard copy.
Bailey is keen to make sure the council’s plans for a splash park come to fruition.
•Ellie Roddy, 15, helps her mum and brother.
Her mum has nerve damage and her brother is deaf in both ears.
Ellie helps cook and clean.
She helps her brother get changed for school and also helps her mum get ready for the day.
Howard Centre Community Heroes Award
•Mirvet Brodie -see Charity Champions category
•AGMS Foundation is a Hatfield-based charity which helps disadvantaged and low income families, as well as the elderly.
In January the group held a free foodbank and clothing event at the Jimmy Mac Centre in Hatfield, feeding roughly 100 people.
AGMS foundation also holds a foodbank in Hatfield on the last Friday of every month.
•Abbie Hackworth - see Charity Champions category
•Liam Kelly, 49, of Brookmans Park, ran the London Marathon this year for Asthma UK.
It is the sixth year that he has completed the marathon.
Liam has had asthma since he was a child and takes part in running events to show that it is a condition that does not have to hold you back.