Lockdown Community Champions awards recognise remarkable people of Weston

Neil Marsh of CleanSec.

Neil Marsh of CleanSec. - Credit: CleanSec

Winners of the Lockdown Community Champions of Weston awards have been announced this week.  

The accolade recognises and celebrates exceptional people in the community who have gone out of their way to help others during the course of the pandemic. 

Neil Marsh, owner of cleaning service company CleanSec, is one of 14 people chosen to receive an award for cleaning cash machines, parking meters, door frames and bus stops in Weston and Worle, Portishead, Nailsea, Bristol and Bridgwater before he went to work between 4-6am during lockdown.  

Weston and North Somerset Samaritans have also won.  

Weston and North Somerset Samaritans volunteers. 

Weston and North Somerset Samaritans volunteers. - Credit: Weston and North Somerset Samaritans

The branch has faced challenges this year due to the pandemic and volunteers have been praised for providing an ‘invaluable service' in these times. Director Andy said he is 'absolutely thrilled' they have the recognition they deserve.

Entertainer Action Pussycat said he was 'shocked’ to receive the accolade. 

The man behind the costume, Ade Bowen, has performed more than 160 events this year, the majority of which have been done online since lockdown.  

Ade Bowen of Action Pussycat.

Ade Bowen of Action Pussycat. - Credit: Action Pussycat

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Graham Road Surgery wins the award in recognition of the team’s hard work throughout the pandemic.

The team at Graham Road Surgery.

The team at Graham Road Surgery. - Credit: Nigel Grinstead

Pier Health Group, which oversees the surgery, arranged shopping for several hundred shielding or vulnerable people in the area, providing PPE for charities, set-up a GP surgery outside Weston General Hospital and much more.  

Chief executive of Pier Health and the man-in-charge of the surgery, Nigel Grinstead, said: "We are very proud and very grateful to all who nominated us. I'm so proud of our team and we couldn’t have done it without them." 

Rachel Mason.

Rachel Mason. - Credit: Kirsty Northover

An ‘unsung hero’ of the community, Rachel Mason, organised a variety of projects to bring people from different age groups together through music, storytelling and song-writing and is ‘thrilled’ to win the accolade. 

Weston Foodbank volunteers have helped twice as many people throughout the pandemic than normal.

Manager, Frederique Wigmore, said the award is a tribute to all the volunteers who ‘just keep going’ have smiles on their faces and just want to help people in these times. 

The foodbank team outside the premises in North Street.

The foodbank team outside the premises in North Street. - Credit: Weston Foodbank

Fellow winner Paul Doble has been praised for providing a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community as well as keeping spirits high throughout the pandemic after creating and organising the Facebook group Drag Diva Lockdown. 

Paul Doble, taken before lockdown.

Paul Doble, taken before lockdown. - Credit: Paul Doble

Nigel Briers of Weston Pride has also received the accolade for being ‘fundamental’ to the support and inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community in North Somerset.

He accepted the award this award on behalf of the community of Weston. 

Nigel Briers, taken before lockdown.

Nigel Briers, taken before lockdown. - Credit: Nigel Briers

‘Selfless and caring volunteer’ Johnny James Boxshall won an award for his environmental work with the Friends of Grove Park.

He has been described as a ‘beacon of environmental excellence’.  

Friends of Grove Park, taken before lockdown.

Friends of Grove Park, taken before lockdown. - Credit: Henry Woodsford

Hard-working Barry Edwards won the award for his efforts to help vulnerable rough sleepers find accommodation through charity Somewhere To Go, running a soup kitchen along with volunteers and caring for the elderly.  

Barry Edwards.

Barry Edwards. - Credit: Barry Edwards

Winners Wayne Hadley and the team at ConciergeUK received the accolade after the company helped the community in lockdown by arranging to order and have shopping delivered to those who needed it, collected prescriptions and helped with social distancing measures at Tesco.  

The ConciergeUK team.

The ConciergeUK team. - Credit: ConciergeUK

Chris Fisher of the Weston Then and Now Facebook won for her efforts to keep people smiling throughout the pandemic by posting a morning message for readers to look forward to, mulling over the day’s news and reminiscing about the good old days in the town. 

Laura Panter

Laura Panter. - Credit: Laura Panter

Selfless Laura Panter has been awarded for co-ordinating and providing more than 7,000 masks, scrub bags and ear saver masks to be collected and delivered, quality-checked and given for free to vulnerable people in the community.

She said: "More than 40 amazing locals then gave up their time to help us meet requests and I can only thank them for their efforts."

Finally, Mary Adams of the NHS Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG won the accolade for working 'all hours and weekends' to help people in Weston.  

Founder of the awards and managing director of The Nightingale Group, Richard Nightingale, said his ‘heartfelt congratulations’ go out to the winners. 

Richard Nightingale

Richard Nightingale. - Credit: Archant

He said: “There is not a single person in our community that hasn't been affected by the global pandemic.

"Yet despite the tragedy, worry and anguish that it has heaped on us all, some have found the time and made the continued commitment to improve the lives of others.” 

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