Welwyn Hatfield Times Community Awards winners praised

PUBLISHED: 14:21 25 July 2017 | UPDATED: 15:07 25 July 2017

Welwyn Hatfield Times Community Awards 2017. Picture credit: Cathy Benucci Photography.

Welwyn Hatfield Times Community Awards 2017. Picture credit: Cathy Benucci Photography.

©2016 Cathy Benucci Photography

We were proud to award those who have made a difference in the community at the Welwyn Hatfield Times Community Awards 2017 last week.

On Thursday, July 20, the winners of the awards that celebrate individuals, schools and groups who have made a difference to others and the community, were revealed at Oaklands College.

Bailey Gardner, 12, of Welwyn Garden City, won the Young Achiever award after he took it upon himself to start a petition calling on Welwyn Hatfield council to bring a splash park to the town.

The youngster who collected more than 1,000 signatures online and in person said: “I’m really proud of myself. It was a lot of work and I’m glad people have realised my efforts.”

Single mum Ruth Smith, 37, of Howicks Green, won Parent in a Million after battling grade three invasive aggressive breast cancer triple negative while being there for her daughters Betsy, eight, and Beatrix, nine.

Sponsors of the Welwyn Hatfield Times Community Awards 2017Sponsors of the Welwyn Hatfield Times Community Awards 2017

Ruth recently received the news that she has no active cancer cells in her body and is all clear from the disease, said: “It’s been such a roller coaster year and it means so much to hear how I have inspired my friends and family to look on the bright side.

“I always have and always will do everything for my children. I obviously learnt from the best... my mum.

“I will cherish my award, it has pride place on my fireplace.”

Jonathon Elkhuja, 27, who has volunteered for the Hertfordshire charity Herts Young Homeless (hyh) for the past three years won the Valiant Volunteer award.

The Welwyn Hatfield Times Community Awards 2017The Welwyn Hatfield Times Community Awards 2017

Jonathon first experienced homelessness at the age of 17 but with help from hyh, he was able to sort out his debts and build a life for himself and now speaks to young people about the issue.

Niamh Bateman, 11, and Tia Catlin, seven, both won Carer of the Year.

Niamh helps look after her dad who is a 57-year-old retired police officer with multiple sclerosis and is described as a ‘fantastic help’.

Tia helps look after her 12-year-old autistic brother every day, the only break she gets is when she’s in 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.”

Ian Sparks won the Lifetime Achievement after being 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.

Joe Heeney was awarded Service to the Community for establishing the Resolve drug and alcohol service in Welwyn Garden City as one of the main ports of call for vulnerable people of all ages.

He has worked without payment for six years and has raised the profile of addiction and alcoholism so that people suffering from these problems do not feel shame and fear.

Dawn Mahood won the Good Neighbour Award after helping save the life of her neighbour Dean Botham.

Dean suffered a cardiac arrest as he was driving into their street, and Dawn immediately performed CPR on him for 20 minutes while waiting for the emergency services.

Codicote Primary School took home School of the Year because of its “incredible staff and wonderful environment for children to thrive in”.

Kirsty Conder was awarded the Charity Champions title due to organising a hugely successful four-hour ‘clubbathon’ at the Sports Village at the University of Hertfordshire for the OMF (Oli Mills Foundation).

The event alone raised £7,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust in Oli’s memory.

Chris Welsh, a fire officer and watch commander at Hatfield Fire Station, received Role Model of the Year.

Following the death of a rough sleeper from a garage fire in Hatfield in 2015, Chris started a project to reduce garage fire call outs and obtained funding for survival bags that were distributed to rough sleepers to use over the winter.

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