Community champions made a 'life-changing difference' to Weston-super-Mare

PUBLISHED: 12:09 23 November 2017 | UPDATED: 12:09 23 November 2017

Winners of this year's Community Champions. Picture: Jeremy Long.

Winners of this year's Community Champions. Picture: Jeremy Long.

(C)2016 Jeremy Long / JCLPhotography, all rights reserved

Weston-super-Mare celebrated its best and brightest people at the Community Champions of Weston Awards on Saturday.

Five worthy ‘unsung heroes’ were chosen by a panel of judges to win the award – which was sponsored by the Nightingale Group and run in partnership with the Mercury – which celebrates people who go above and beyond to make the town a better place.

The panel had a difficult time deciding on the winners this year and settled on five winners in a panel which included Weston MP John Penrose, Pride organiser Nigel Briers and Richard Nightingale.

Mr Nightingale said: “My thanks go out to everyone who nominated many worthy residents in this round of awards. Once again the judges were faced with some very difficult choices.

“The winners stood out as making life-changing differences to the local community and I am very proud we had an opportunity to recognise them.”

DEREK MEAD

Farmer and businessman Derek Mead, who died earlier this year, was the first posthumous award winner, after untimely death.

His passionate advocacy of the town and its potential saw him serve on a number of local bodies to help make the town the best it could be.

Mr Mead also dedicated himself to the agricultural industry, winning a Dairy Industry Award and described as ‘the farmers’ champion’.

RAY AND MARION HILL

Ray and Marion Hill have worked tirelessly since their two grandchildren – Harry and Isabell – were born with cystic fibrosis.

Through garden sales, cream teas and galas, the pair has raised more than £21,500 for the charity which researches cystic fibrosis.

Nominator Marion Foord, who won a Community Champion Award earlier this year, said: “I was one of the first people to be nominated and am proud of my certificate, but felt at the time that someone should have nominated Ray and Marion Hill.”

ASHLEY JONES

Ashley Jones was nominated for his ‘outstanding contribution to the safety of the older adult community in the Weston area’.

The founder of the Senior Citizen Liaison Team (SCLT) charity divides his time between his family, charity work with Age UK, SSAFA and SCLT to protect some of Weston’s most vulnerable people safe from fraud and scams.

Mr Jones has served as a police office for more than 20 years and split his busy schedule between protecting the people of North Somerset, caring for his elderly parents, supporting his family and volunteer as chair of trustees for the charity, as well as working with many others including Age UK and SSAFA.

JON CODD

Jon Codd gives up lot of his free time prior to, during and after the festive season co-ordinating Comfort At Christmas at St Paul’s Church.

He spends time organising rotas, shopping, staffing, attending and running numerous meetings and much more.

Not only that, but during the rest of the year he cooks hot meals and feeds homeless and vulnerable people needing a warm meal and a friendly face every Thursday at Friends Meeting House in Weston.

BARBARA ROCHE

Barbara Roche was nominated for dedicating every Monday for three years to working as a volunteer for the Children’s Scrapstore charity in Weston.

Without Barbara, the charity would be unable to open as regularly to the nearly 300 North Somerset organisations which are signed up as Scrapstore members – including schools, drama clubs, nurseries and uniformed groups.

Nominator Laura said: “Scrapstore operates on a shoestring and needs volunteers in order to offer the service that we do.

“We are so grateful that, week in and week out, every single Monday Barbara has ensured the store is open to the public and is on hand to help anyone coming in.

“Simply put, Barbara is a star, and she should be recognised as such.”

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