NK Community Champions 2017
Date Published: 23 October 2017
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.
A record 28 finalists, their guests and nominators were among 150-plus guests at the evening event hosted by North Kesteven District Council Leader Cllr Richard Wright and Chairman Cllr Sally Tarry in celebration of the consistent, selfless and tireless acts of community-minded endeavour which characterise life in the District.
This year there were around 80 nominations put forward by grateful residents who have benefited from such thoughtful, life enhancing and at times life-saving actions.
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. The quality and diversity of such neighbourly contributions illustrate the depth of community-minded activity which helps to make North Kesteven distinct and contributes to its high ranking status as a good place to life with strong community cohesion, high levels of happiness and wellbeing and – for a fourth year running – the lowest crime levels in the county.
The evening was compéred by BBC Radio Lincolnshire presenter Rod Whiting who said it was ‘very humbling to be in a room with so many dedicated and deserving people, who give up so much of their time, for no greater purpose than the love of their community.’
“They’re putting the community back into community. That’s a spirit that seems to have gone out of fashion, but not 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. These are the unsung heroes of our communities who, through their selfless motivation and quiet inspiration make an enormous difference within our District and these awards are a small but heartfelt thank you on behalf of the District for that.”
“The 28 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.”
Amelia Bailey from Washingborough won the award for Contribution to Health and Wellbeing in recognition of her extensive work raising funds and awareness in support of better cancer outcomes, especially among young people. “There are some amazing people in this room; amazing people from many communities doing some some incredible things and it’s lovely to share that.”
On behalf of the Heckington Show volunteers, recognised for their Contribution to Arts & Culture in respect of a 150-year legacy of volunteering in support of the event, Show Chairman Charles Pinchbeck said it was ‘really special to be acknowledged in this way, especially by the District which we seek to serve so proudly in what we do.’
Trevor Midgely, awarded for Contribution to a Better Environment through his efforts in keeping South Kyme spick and span, saw the increasing importance of volunteers. “The way I see it we are all going to have to do more, with more people needing to get stuck in, if we love our villages and the places we live.”
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 – Ringrose Law, Duncan & Toplis, Lindum Group, Your Local Lincs Magazine, Skeet Print, Branston, the Sleaford Renewable Energy Plant and 1Life; with further support from The Lincolnite, Sleaford Standard, Tucann Publishing, BBC Radio Lincolnshire and Flowers by Suzanne.
The full list of nominees and finalists, plus photos at www.nkawards.org.
The shortlisted finalists (with the winners highlighted) are:
Callum Ball, Norton Disney – by applying himself to a study programme at Hill Holt Callum has turned his life around and now engages others in conservation as a national Bright Future ambassador.
Ivy Mitchell, Sleaford – Aged only five, Ivy has spearheaded fundraising and awareness initiatives at school to support others with Di-Georges Syndrome and campaign to keep Glenfield Hospital open.
James Robshaw, Ruskington – through his determination to pioneer new technology to engage in a normal school life James’ cheerful disposition and hardwork ethic are inspiring to all.
DBS Internet Marketing, Navenby – for investing time and effort in building community networks, facilities and events for the benefit of the village.
Leadenham Post Office, Leadenham – for reaching beyond the counter in the way the business engages with residents through support and care and the provision of a community hub.
Sleaford Elite Gymnastics, Sleaford – for offering bursaries, scholarship and supportive opportunities for the less-advantaged to access sporting opportunities.
Contribution to Sport
Will Barber & Nathan Wood, Billinghay – for inspiring, instigating, running and motivating a weekly football team.
Sammi Emsley, Sleaford – for her commitment and dedication in motivating young gymnasts to exceed beyond their own expectations.
Peter Ford, Metheringham – for active and ongoing association of 50 years-plus with the village football club and broader sporting endeavours.
Contribution to a Better Environment
Doug Laidlow, Little Hale – a pillar of the community who, aged 80, keeps the hamlet spick and span and even helps others keep on top of their own garden.
Trevor Midgely, South Kyme – a motivator and doer in managing monthly tidy ups, keeping the church yard and verges immaculate and boosting the village’s Best Kept standing.
Tracey Stevenson, Great Hale – for running a hedgehog rescue service that helps to address population decline and educating others in best caring practice.
Contribution to Arts & Culture
Emily Owen-Jones, North Hykeham – for her enthusiastic and committed support of young participants of the ONE NK youth dance programme and assistance in their smooth operation.
Heckington Show Committee and volunteers, Heckington – for the combined effort of some hundreds of people in organising and running the annual event which has been central to local heritage and culture over 150 years.
John Lyon, Heckington – for his massive contribution to a range of musical initiatives, not least as the driving force and musical director for the Heckington Singers, church choir and church band.
Contribution to Health & Wellbeing
Pete Ashmore – for his energetic involvement in the smooth running of walking initiatives, festivals and continued success of the District’s Stepping Out network.
Amelia Bailey, Washingborough – for tireless endeavours in raising awareness of the risks, signs and symptoms of cancer raising funds and engaging schoolchildren on a national scale.
Hand in Hand Club, Metheringham – a fortnightly social group for the disabled and their carers, now in its 50th year, under the leadership of Mhairi Lavington-Browne.
Longstanding contribution to a group or organisation
Tony Farrow, Aswarby – for the smooth operation of the Sleaford & District Voluntary Car Scheme over ten-plus years which supports people in reaching vital health appointments.
Helen Gillatt, Digby Fen – for continued involvement in wide ranging initiatives over many decades, primarily the Blankney Pony Club with which she was District Commissioner over 30 years.
Mandy Harsley, Ruskington – for over 25 years devotion to St John Ambulance, leading youth cadets and the delivery of life-saving and life-affirming emergency care to many local people.
Peter Ford, Metheringham – for more than 50 years at the grassroots of Metheringham FC, across all levels from player to manager, secretary and treasurer.
Peter Lee, Ruskington – for 30-plus years of association with Scouting, at one point running three groups at once, organising camps and supporting leaders, boys and families over the decades.
Vivien Banks, Sleaford – for creating and nurturing a parents forum that reaches out to isolated families, especially in the military, to help foster nurturing relationships for disadvantaged children.
Branston Library Volunteers, Branston – for their ongoing endeavours in saving and developing the library into a thriving community facility.
Helen Gillatt, Dunston Fen – for a far-reaching, enthusiastic and active involvement in many groups and institutions as well as finding time to be a magistrate Sunday school teacher, church warden and prison visitor.
Sheila Grosssmith, Heckington – for being at the heart of all things Heckington, cheerfully engaged across all areas of village life.