Weston-super-Mare's very best people presented with community champions awards for their 'outstanding' work
PUBLISHED: 08:00 27 April 2017 | UPDATED: 09:02 27 April 2017
A group of Weston-super-Mare's unsung heroes were dubbed the 'magnificent seven' by MP John Penrose when they were presented with their Community Champions awards this week.
The new scheme – which was sponsored by the Nightingale Group and run in partnership with the Mercury – celebrates people who go above and beyond to make the town a better place.
Nominations flooded in from Mercury readers and seven winners were chosen by a panel of judges which included Mr Penrose, Richard Nightingale and Mercury editor Simon Angear.
Mr Nightingale said: “Each and every one of the winners has made an outstanding contribution to their community and it was my honour and privilege to be part of the Community Champions team, giving them the recognition they deserve.
“My sincere congratulations to them all and all the work they have done to support the community.”
The winners were invited to the Grand Pier, in Marine Parade, on Saturday to receive an award for their hard work.
The Mercury received multiple nominations for Sue Collard, who has raised more than £300,000 for the Bone Cancer Research Trust.
Sue began fundraising after losing her 11-year-old daughter Mary in 2012 to the disease, but told the Mercury she was ‘shell-shocked’ to receive the award.
She said: “It is great and so nice that people have nominated me.
“I cannot thank everyone enough for their continued support in remembering her and trying to find a cure so another family does not have to suffer.”
Brian Coombs was recognised for his enormous contribution to the town through the Weston Carnival, which he has helped organise for the past 43 years.
Hundreds of thousands of children, parents and grandparents have enjoyed the carnival over the years, which has also raised thousands of pounds for different charities.
Brian’s friends and family surprised him at the ceremony – telling him he had a meeting instead – and he said he was ‘lost for words’.
The next award went to Marianne Foord, who showed real community spirit after being nominated by her neighbour Myra Ann.
Not only has she raised thousands of pounds for charities such as Weston Hospicecare and Macmillan Cancer Support, but Myra said she is also ‘a gem’ of a neighbour.
Over the years Marianne has helped Myra with her shopping, cooked meals and cleared snow off her neighbours’ driveways.
Marianne said she was ‘pleased’ and ‘very touched’ to be recognised.
Triliria Newbury was nominated for her work with Weston’s Multicultural Friendship Association, which helps to ensure people from all around the world feel welcome in the town.
The judges were inundated with nominations and she was described by others as ‘kind’, ‘caring’ and ‘an absolute star’ for her work.
Triliria said she was ‘speechless’ when she found out she had won.
She added: “If we continue to recognise the people who work hard behind the scenes, it will make the community a stronger and happier place.”
Marcus Eastman has spent his life making the town a better place and so far – along with his son Steven – has raised more than £6,500 for Weston Hospicecare.
Marcus was nominated by Sally Davis, from the hospice, who wanted to thank him for his hard work.
He said: “I feel brilliant. It is all to do with my wife, Jeanette, who died a couple of years ago. The hospice was very good to her and I cannot say thank you enough to them.”
Since then, he has worked tirelessly to raise thousands for the charity and will continue to raise money with a wheelchair marathon around Weston in June.
Haywood Village is one of Weston’s newest developments but it is not lacking in community spirit.
Vikki Lindsay, who volunteers for the Haywood Village Residents’ Association, the WI and the area’s leisure enterprise, has run a number of successful events.
Vikki’s dedication to the community, which has benefitted hundreds of people, earned her the award.
The final winner was Bridie Collier, the founder of Shrubbery Neighbourhood Watch, which has now evolved into the Shrubbery Neighbourhood Group.
Bridie has helped provide children in the community with a new play area and football pitch, a nature garden and a book club.
She has also worked to cut crime in the area and combat drug-dealing through her work with the police and North Somerset Council.
Keep an eye out for the launch of the next community champions awards in the Mercury this autumn and think about who you would nominate as your unsung hero.