Date Published: 04 November 2019
Some of the best examples of voluntary community endeavour which characterise life within North Kesteven have been rewarded through the annual NK Community Champion Awards.
This year, a record 30 finalists, their guests and nominators were among 170-plus guests at the evening event hosted by North Kesteven District Council Leader Cllr Richard Wright and Chairman Cllr Susan Waring at the International Bomber Command Centre, Canwick in celebration of those who work tirelessly and quietly in their communities for the benefit of others.
Every year North Kesteven District Council calls for nominations of people living and working in the District whose voluntary actions, carried out quietly, tirelessly and selflessly they feel are worthy of recognition. This year we saw over 140 nominations, and the quality and diversity of such neighbourly contributions illustrate the depth of community-minded activity, which helps to make North Kesteven distinct.
The evening was compéred by BBC Radio Lincolnshire presenter Rod Whiting who said: “It is a privilege to share such a happy event. It is an honour to be in the presence of so many dedicated people, who give up so much of their time, for no greater purpose than the love of their community.’
“This is all about celebrating community endeavour and you are all putting the community back into community,” he said. “That sense of community spirit is so strong here in North Kesteven, where the community is all about giving, supporting and encouraging.”
Cllr Wright said; “We are very proud to run these awards in order to applaud and award some of the many people who give so much through their voluntary and charitable endeavours. The awards are a small but heartfelt thank you on behalf of the District for that, and it goes without saying – would not be possible without the support of our sponsors.”
“The 30 individuals, groups and businesses selected as this year’s finalists were but a small selection of the immense amount of voluntary work that provides a foundation to the District’s flourishing, strong and vibrant communities and I thank everyone who goes out of their way in this way.”
Having dedicated around half of her life to community enhancements within Washingbourough as a parish councillor, instigator of the community centre and continuing to be deeply involved locally, Betty Bland – winner of the Community Spirit Award – said she was ‘absolutely overwhelmed’ to win. “If they’re not sure of something, people say ‘go to Betty’. I can’t always put them right but where I can I will and as long as I can keep going I will try.”
Winner of the Good Neighbour Award Maggie John said: “I don’t feel to be deserving of this award. I just try to do what I can where I can. It’s so easy to walk along with our heads down, not recognising what’s going on before our eyes and I hope this inspires more of us to look around us and see where we can start giving something back and making a difference.”
Community Business winner Nikki Harris, director of family-run firm TFM Country Stores at Whisby, said it had been ‘a real pleasure’ to help out fellow winner Ian Callaghan to achieve what he had with his community nature reserves in Skellingthorpe. “It’s a privilege to be a part of that and get a feel for the community spirit that goes into all of these things,” she said.
The awards are only made possible through the thoughtful nominations made by District residents and the generosity of the community-minded businesses who sponsor the awards. This year these were – Police and Crime Commissioner for Lincolnshire, Washingborough Hall Hotel, Ringrose Law, Duncan & Toplis, Lindum Group, Your Local Lincs Magazine, LincsInspire, Branston Ltd, the Sleaford Renewable Energy Plant and BETTER; with further support from The Lincolnite and Sleaford Standard, BBC Radio.
The full list of nominees and finalists, plus photos at www.nkawards.org.
The shortlisted finalists (with the winners highlighted) are:
Contribution to Arts & Culture
- Bracebridge Heath Community Library Volunteers: For keeping open and maintaining a much-loved service in the community and providing additional activities to encourage children to read.
- Violet Hill, Sleaford: For her dedication to music spanning a period of almost 30 years; a founder member of the Sleaford Concert Band, her support of other music groups in the town and surrounding villages whilst also being the driving force behind the Sleaford Live Festival.
- Kei Bailey, Heckington: Kei has a great passion for the arts and inspiring young people. He is writer, director, youth theatre lead and occasional actor for the Junior Heckington Players.
- Charlotte Ingram-Janetta, Sleaford: At the age of 18 Charlotte set up a brand-new Girlguiding Rainbows unit – giving youngsters the opportunity to get involved with a variety of activities they wouldn’t otherwise be able to get involved with.
- Logan Somers, Bracebridge Heath: Whilst living with learning difficulties Logan has overcome and developed a real skill in gymnastics. His skills haven’t stopped there – inspiring others to get involved in the sport and supporting their training and ambitions along the way.
- Joseph Trofer-Cook, Walcott: A 6 year old, shy young man who has overcome his struggles through gardening – supporting the school gardening club, raising funds and fully submersing himself into a worthwhile community project.
Good Neighbour Award
- Maggie John, Washingborough; Described as one of the most selfless, compassionate people ever met, Maggie goes out of her way to support others; providing meals, doing shopping, helping around the home, tending to graves and driving those in need to hospital appointments.
- Lloyd D’Arcy, Branston; Regardless of his own health conditions, Lloyd does anything to help other residents in his retirement living complex; he tends to the garden and checks on his neighbours to ensure they are ok – there’s nothing he wouldn’t do for anyone.
- Graham Fuller, Cranwell; Despite having a full-time job and family of his own, Graham spent evenings and weekends rectifying his neighbours garden after work that should have been carried out professionally was left in a mess. Unable to tend to it themselves, Graham took it upon himself to put it right. He always looks out for his neighbour and is always there if help is needed.
Contribution to Health & Wellbeing
- Jane Barringer, Welbourn: Jane coordinates tea parties every month for ‘Contact the Elderly’ – a non-profit organisation. Without Jane these may not take place and they are a vital support for some of the elderly residents in the area.
- Gina Macphie, Sleaford; Gina set up Lincolnshire’s first Dance for Parkinson’s Group. Living with Parkinson’s herself she knows first-hand how complex the disease is and felt the need to provide more opportunity for those living with the disease as well to improve their health, wellbeing and quality of life.
- Angela Callaghan, Skellingthorpe; Angela provides led bike rides for the local and wider community through the HSBC Breeze and Let’s Ride Team – actively encouraging people to get into cycling. She gives up a huge amount of her time, and is passionate about cycling and the health benefits it can bring, through the physical side and social / mental health benefits.
- Nikki Harris, TFM Country Store, Whisby: TFM Country Store have supported many local causes, in particular Bluebell Pond in Skellingthorpe. They donated new fencing for the whole area and offered use of any hire equipment needed to get the area finished – supporting a community project that had no funding and helped create an amazing area for people to enjoy for years to come.
- Ringrose Law, Sleaford; In the last 12 months the firm has raised money for Sleaford Community Larder , Sleaford Dementia Support and supported various events across the town. At Sleaford Christmas Market they raised money for LIVES, they’ve sponsored the Sleaford Town Awards and will also be sponsoring Sleaford’s Oktoberfest. They support the town and surrounding areas through a range of different endeavours proving that they are a business at the heart of the community.
- Lindum Group, North Hykeham; Without hesitation after being approached by the local Community Beat Manager Lindum Group repaired a local residents fence after repeatedly being the victims of criminal damage. No one knew they had done this, and they gained nothing from it but it just shows the community spirit behind the company.
Longstanding Contribution to an Organisation or Group
- Paul Boucher, Waddington; Paul is the founder and director of the Lincolnshire Traveller Initiative based in Waddington providing a range of services to Travellers in Lincolnshire. For around 20 years Paul has voluntarily supported one of the most discriminated against groups in society.
- Violet Hill, Sleaford; Over the past 22 years Violet has been the leading light of the Sleaford Concert Band. She organises concerts to raise money, she helps organise Sleaford Live, she organises Open Mic Night at the NCCD – the list is endless. Her enthusiasm and interest in all things musical has never waived over the past 22 years.
- Carol Brinkworth, Sleaford; Carol has voluntarily taught swimming for Sleaford Swimming Club for 23 years. She helps to give a life skill to so many people that can now go and enjoy days at the beach and summer holiday swims.
Contribution to a Better Environment
- Ian Callaghan, Skellingthorpe; Ian has given up a phenomenal amount of his time and resources to create Bluebell Pond on a piece of waste land alongside the cycle track in Skellingthorpe. He is a selfless man and does this out of the kindness of his heart. This isn’t the first project he has completed, he also created Willow Glade last year – a focused learning area which is widely used by community groups, schools and childminders.
- Leadenham Litter Picking Group; Made up of 12 volunteers the group litter pick in the area once a month. They clean all the way up to the A17, and have gone on to educate local school pupils on the importance of keeping your communities clean. They also organised an event which displayed all the rubbish collected in just one month showing the community and wider visitors how they can help do their bit.
- Anthea Ashmore, Sleaford; For more than 20 years Anthea has been the secretary for the Sleaford Area Group of the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust. She is very active locally and passionate about the environment of Sleaford. She has organised owl nesting boxes in the year, and this year organised the Best Wildlife Garden competition.
Contribution to Sport
- Joy O’Neill, North Hykeham; Joy has dedicated her life to sport getting involved in everything from Judo to Football, but more recently she has been involved in the Men’s and Women’s Walking Football, Walking Netball and an Over 50’s Mixed Sports Group – giving older generations the chance to take part in sports, improving their health and wellbeing. She creates opportunities for others – nothing is ever too much for her.
- Stephen Morgon, Sleaford; Stephen founded the current walking football group Sleaford Academicals. He has worked tirelessly to officially affiliate the group to the Walking Football Association, as well as arrange and organise all of the fixtures, events, fund raisers, as well as larger tournaments which happen all over the country.
- Sleaford Striders AC; Having been established for over 35 years the club has helped thousands of people from the age of 6 upwards get involved in and enjoying running – keeping not only their bodies healthy but their mind as well.
- Betty Bland, Washingborough; Now in her 91styear, Betty has given over 40 years continuous service to the community and community organisation including Washingborough Community Centre, Washingborough Parish Council, the Forget Me Not club, T & Natter, the Bowls Club and the Ladies’ Club. What makes Betty stand out is the range of her activities, the sheer length of time over which she has been working for her community and the fact she remains so very active to this day.
- Marion & Len Seviour, Skellingthorpe; Marion and Len have been at the heart of the community in Skellingthorpe for many years. Trustees of the Youth Centre, they run events to support the centre, they are editors of the village magazine and regularly volunteer for other activities in the community.
- Andrew Brewer, Beckingham; He is the driving force behind many community activities from the village fete day to championing the opening of a social club following the closure of the village pub. Andrew also voluntarily acts as parish councillor, poor gardens trustee , caretaker, event’s organiser, quiz master and gets involved in many more projects which improve village life, the local environment and provide opportunities to bring the community together.
- Jem Green, The Source Sleaford; Jem runs the Street Pastors, a group of volunteers who at weekends throughout the year between 10.30pm and 2am provide practical help and support to people in the town centre after a night out. They can provide a place of safety, as well as provide food, water and access to a phone. The work they do saves the resources of the health services and the police, as well as helps prevent harm coming to people or them becoming a victim of crime.
- Kenneth Yates, North Hykeham; Kenneth has staffed the Town Enquiry Office for around 20 years on a voluntary basis, dealing with members of the public and their queries when they attend the station, he also answers any calls received in the station whilst he is on duty. He provides an invaluable service to Public without any gain.
- Rod Munroe, New Life Church, Sleaford; The New Life Church does so much for Sleaford providing a community larder for those in need, The Junction, a prison support service and a youth club. Each of which contributes to the community safety of the area. Without this support, both emotionally and practically, some of the people that are supported could choose a different path in life, but thanks to the New Life Church they have other options.