The second Broadland Community at Heart Awards run by Broadland District Council were presented at a ceremony at The Space in Sprowston on Wednesday, October 26. The awards were attended by more than 120 guests and featured a performance by the Broadland Youth Choir.
The awards, which were sponsored by The Space and The Romanian Wine Company Ltd, celebrated the achievements of Broadland residents who have many an exceptional contribution to their community.
Winners were chosen for 11 categories from nominations made by members of the public. They were presented with a trophy and £100 in shopping vouchers. Highly commended nominees were also presented with certificates at the event.
Opening the ceremony was council chairman, Cllr John Ward who addressed the awards finalists; “I hope you all feel proud of your achievements this evening. Whether you have been nominated for helping less fortunate members of your neighbourhood, for excelling in sport or for improving the environment for us all to enjoy, your actions will inspire those around you and have contributed to making our area what it is.”
Mike Ellard from Sprowston received the Good Neighbour of the Year award. Mike has led Broadland District Council’s Grow Your Community Project’s greenhouse scheme in Sprowston, ensuring that redundant greenhouses are accessible to everyone and teaching residents new gardening skills. He also helps regularly with his neighbours’ garden and plays an active role in the Horticultural Society.
The Carer of the Year award was presented to Sherena Skedge who was nominated by an elderly resident who she cares for in her role as a carer with Leaf. The people she cares for always appreciate how Sherena goes the extra mile.
The Friends of Cremer’s Meadow were named as Environmental Champion of the Year for their work for all their work over the past two years turning a nearby disused meadow into a beautiful public space for residents in Brundall to enjoy.
Amelia Williamson of Hevingham secured the award for Sporting Achievement of the Year for her achievements in golf over the past year, placing highly in many tournaments over Europe and becoming the National Champion U18 in English Schools. Amelia holds three course records at nearby golf courses; Belton Park, Weston Park and Royal Cromer. Amelia was unable to attend the ceremony due to training but her father, Mark Williamson, collected the award on her behalf.
The Burgh Reading Room Social Committee was named as Community Group of the Year for all they have achieved in their small community, organising events for residents including summer fetes and film nights. They are an inclusive group who welcome every resident to the Reading Room, making Burgh a better place to live.
The Acle Community Resilience Group received the Safer Broadland Award for the support they gave to local residents who were affected by surface water flooding in the summer. Whilst the rescue services were at work, the group ensured that residents who had to leave their homes were had everything they needed.
The Business Community Support of the Year award was given to the White Horse Development Trust who opened a community shop within the White Horse pub in Upton in 2015. The shop is run by 23 local volunteers and provides a vital service to residents.
17 year old Megan Blazer was presented with the Young Person of the Year award. Over the past three years, Megan has been volunteering with the Sprowston Youth Engagement Project, helping other young people in her community and has become young committee chair. She has also been key in leading a campaign of support for a new skate park in Sprowston, speaking at town council meetings and speaking to objectors.
The Personal Courage of the Year award was presented to John Graves for his great weight loss of 35 stone over the last ten years as he participated in the council’s Broadly Active scheme. John started by participating in just ten minutes of exercise per day and can now do up to three hours as he continues to improve his fitness.
Also receiving an award is Christine Chapman who has been named as Volunteer of the Year for all her hard work as a Girl Guide leader in Thorpe Marriott over many years. Christine was unable to attend the ceremony due to taking her Guide group on a trip to Paris but will be presented with her award by the council’s Chairman at an upcoming Guide meeting.
This year, award judges were especially impressed by the achievements of Cantley resident, Alfie Hewett and created a special Outstanding Achievement of the Year award to celebrate his accomplishments. Alfie has excelled in his sport of wheelchair tennis, winning a number of impressive accolades. Alfie and his tennis partner, Gordon Reid, secured the title of wheelchair men’s doubles champion at Wimbledon earlier this year. The pair then went on to win the silver medal in the Rio Paralympics where Alfie was also awarded the silver medal in the men’s singles tournament. Alfie is currently competing in California so asked his grandparents, Ann and David Hooper to collect his award on his behalf.
Ahead of the ceremony, Alfie said: “It’s been an incredible year for me, winning two silver medals at my first Paralympics and doubles at Wimbledon with my partner Gordon before that. It really has been an amazing six months for me in tennis and I am even further ahead than where I thought I would be at this point, having won two out of three of my recent tournaments and now holding a top eight spot. I am so thankful for the support which I have received from my family and all of Norfolk and it is an honour to have my success recognised with a Broadland Community at Heart Award. Thank you to the judges and everyone who has supported me, it really does mean such a lot.”
Council Leader, Cllr Andrew Proctor, closed the ceremony with thanks to all the participants and those who made the event possible, including: Rob Chandler of Radio Norwich, master of ceremonies, the Eastern Daily Press who agreed that all finalists will be entered into their Stars of Norfolk Awards, and sponsors, The Space and The Romanian Wine Company Ltd.
Broadland Community at Heart Awards 2016 Good Neighbour or Friend of the Year winner Mike Ellard, from Sprowston, with Cllr Shaun Vincent.