Serving their community:the latest Welwyn Hatfield Times Community Awards nominees

PUBLISHED: 16:00 31 March 2018

Vicky Woodcraft

Vicky Woodcraft

Archant

Whether it's in a hair salon, on a bicycle, or somersaulting on a trampoline, people seem to find endless ways to be of service to their communities.

Carrie-Ann Williamson. Picture: SuppliedCarrie-Ann Williamson. Picture: Supplied

Nominations are still open for all categories of the 2018 WHT Community Awards, but names are flooding in already.

The Service to the Community category, sponsored by HRJ Foreman Laws, is awarded to a person who through hard work and commitment has made a dramatic impact on their community.

George Woodcraft was glad he had answered the phone when we called, because his wife Vicky, 76, didn’t know he had nominated her. “She’s probably going to shout at me now,” he joked.

But George has very good reason to single out Vicky’s work in Welwyn Garden City.

Theresa Beretta (second left) with fellow fundraisers at Setting Out salon. Picture: Danny LooTheresa Beretta (second left) with fellow fundraisers at Setting Out salon. Picture: Danny Loo

A founding member of the local Amnesty International chapter and of Herts Welcomes Syrian Families (HWSF), Vicky has worked for years to help provide for the most vulnerable.

Her most recent project, through HWSF, is to collect unwanted bicycles for needy refugees.

Each bike is fixed up thanks to community donations, and is distributed to a person who otherwise would be having to get expensive buses and can’t easily get a UK driving licence.

Anyone whose child has grown out of their bike, or has upgraded to a new model, often doesn’t get round to selling it and instead lets it gather dust in storage.

Theresa Beretta (second left) with fellow fundraisers at Setting Out salon. Picture: Danny LooTheresa Beretta (second left) with fellow fundraisers at Setting Out salon. Picture: Danny Loo

“She works so hard on this,” said George. “She enjoys it but it’s hard work.

“She loves helping other people, and she’s got more energy than I’ve got!”

High energy and a love for helping others seems to be common to the nominees, as this is exactly what Carole Charters said about her daughter Carrie-Ann Williamson in Potters Bar.

For the last two years Carrie-Ann has offered trampolining classes at Zenith Trampolining Club at Furzefield Leisure Centre, as part of Hertsmere Borough Council’s project We Move, She Moves.

The project is aimed at encouraging women and girls of all ages to be more active.

Carrie-Ann also volunteers her trampolining teaching to schools and children with disabilities.

She offers one-to-one classes to a boy with autism.

“I couldn’t praise her enough for the work she does,” said Carole.

“She really does enjoy working with people. She never stops!”

Carrie, 34, has been trampolining since she was 12 and used to compete to a high standard, but is now focused on community work such as a recent secondary school visit to help with the sports GCSE teaching.

“Schools can only teach it to a certain standard,” said Carole, adding that Carrie-Ann only asked for her travel costs in return.

Another person turning their everyday work into an opportunity to help is Theresa Beretta, who runs the family-run Setting Out salon in Birchwood Avenue, Hatfield.

The defibrillator that has appeared for public use at Birchwood shops is the result of Theresa’s fundraising, and it’s not the only project she’s taken on.

“I don’t know which category to nominate her for, she’s always been so lovely,” said her neighbour Carly Hazell, who nominated her.

Theresa keeps donations coming in for good causes through organising events and holding raffles in the salon.

She has fundraised for Mencap and breast cancer charities, and knits hats for premature babies in hospital.

Carly’s own twin newborns are proudly sporting the knitted gear. “Theresa has knitted for the girls, and made sure I have vitamins and am in good health, she’s always just checking in on me.”

“Recently I’ve started to notice just how much she’s done for the community.”

“If you go to the salon she’s always fundraising for a charity.”

“I think people like that are just one in a million.

Do you know someone whose community spirit shines as brightly as these nominees? Make sure you get your nomination in for this and all the other WHT Community Awards categories by June 15 here: www.whtcommunityawards.co.uk

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