Melton Times Community Awards: Well done to our community heroes

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A wonderful night was had at this year’s Melton Times Community Awards, where we grasped the opportunity to thank some of the area’s kindest, most generous residents.

Now in its eighth year, the awards exist to celebrate those special individuals who help to make Melton a fantastic place to live and work.

The Melton Times 2016 Community Awards winners.

The Melton Times 2016 Community Awards winners.

Held at the Melton Vale Post 16 Centre, the event carried an Indian theme, from curry and poppadoms to a fabulous ‘Bollywood’ performance by a group of Brooksby Melton College students called Fly Dance.

Melton Times content editor Marie Bond presented the awards this year. Afterwards, she said: “One of the most rewarding elements of what we do as the local paper is hold events like this. It’s wonderful to be able to give a special thank you to some of those who make such a big difference to the lives of others.

“Recognition for their actions isn’t why they do it of course, but we’re so pleased to be able to celebrate their kindness.

“Thanks must also go to our sponsors, without whom the community awards wouldn’t be possible.”

Sadly, the winner of the Child of Courage award, Grace Moore, was too poorly to attend the event. Grace is a pupil of Ab Kettleby Community Primary School who was diagnosed with leukaemia six months ago. She was nominated by teaching assistant Samantha Brunt, who said Grace is always smiling, helps other children on her ward when in hospital and called her “the most selfless person that I have met”.

Well done to Grace and to all our award winners and runners-up.

Youth Achiever Award, sponsored by Tesco Melton: Joint winners of this award were Izabella Roberts and Isobel Knight. Izabella was put forward as a winner in a Rotary Club of Melton Belvoir young writer junior competition. Isobel, who was unable to attend the awards, is a star dancer who has scooped a haul of awards as part of Team England in the 2016 Dance World Cup.

Environment Award, sponsored by Melton Mowbray Town Estate: Winner was Ralph Johnson, whose tireless dedication to the Holwell Nature Reserve has made it the successful, well visited attraction it is today. His nominator called him ‘a true unsung hero’. Runners-up were Birch Wood School’s sensory garden, Prince’s Trust volunteers who transformed the garden at Phoenix House and Friends of Melton Country Park and staff at McDonald’s in Melton who together carried out a litter-pick, planted bluebells and trimmed hedges.

Service with a Smile, sponsored by Benton’s estates agents: Award winner was Mollie Goodrich, who works at Mercury News in Sherrard Street. We received a large number of nominations for Mollie, who was described as ‘a very kind lady’ who ‘always has a smile’...despite starting work at 4am each day! Runners-up were The Flower Basin, where staff ‘go the extra mile’ and Rachel Lovegrove, who was praised for her ‘wonderful nature’.

Young Champion,sponsored by Melton Borough Council: Joint winners of this award were Kieron Taylor, a volunteer at The Venue, and Aaron Nugent and Lizzie Golland, who recently volunteerd at a home for vulnerable girls in Sri Lanka. Kieron was described as “an outstanding young man” who also cares for his disabled sister. Aaron and Lizzie were praised for giving up their holiday time to volunteer and also for their fund-raising activities for the home over the last three years.

Community Champion, sponsored by Melton BID: Winner was Carolyn Little, who gives endless help and support to her neighbours in St John’s Drive. From walking dogs and mowing lawns to lifts in her car and cooking meals, she is there for anyone who needs a helping hand. Runner-up was the Women’s Section of the Royal British Legion, which won the Community Spirit Award.

Best Arts, Sports or Community Project, sponsored by Costco: Miranda Wilder and her team who worked hard to restore St Bartholamew’s Church in Welby won this award. When the church was left to fall into disrepair, Miranda put together a Heritage Lottery Fund grant application and was awarded £140,000. Now, the church is a multi-functional building which encompasses educational, social and religious purposes. Runners-up were Pete Wilkinson and Kelly Spencer, who both work hard to promote the area’s many live events, Alan Pearson at SAQ International and its pioneering school research movement pilot project to improve children’s agility and activity, and the Belvoir Cricket and Countryside Trust, which gives new sports and outdoor experiences to thousands of children of all ages and abilities.

Community Spirit Award, sponsored by Mars Petcare: The Women’s Section of the Royal British Legion won this award for their commitment to supporting RBL parades, funerals and charities.

Their nominator said they certainly follow their motto of ‘service not self’ and are ‘an extraordinary bunch of ladies’. Runners-up were the Snowdrop Support Group, which is a bereavement group run by Shane Mousley & Son Independent Funeral Directors, Environment Award winner Ralph Johnson, Luke Ferguson, who runs table-top games shop Last Realm with a focus on community before profit, and Dawn Hall and the Friends of Gretton Court. This group of volunteers puts on regular events and entertainment for the elderly people of Gretton Court.

Top Teacher, sponsored by Samworth Brothers: Winner of this award was principal of Long Field Academy Chris Haggett, for whom we received several nominations. He was praised for transforming the atmosphere in the school, leading to happier children and better grades. Runners-up for the Top Teacher award were Jenny Smith, a ‘fabulous’ reception teacher at Asfordby Hill Primary School, long serving girl guide leader Margaret Jury and ‘kind, funny’ Grove Primary School teacher Martin McQuade.