The Community Awards 2021: And the winners are…

From gardening for wellbeing to serving healthy meals for thousands of children, the Community Awards 2021, in partnership with Lincs FM, has shone a light on the brilliant things happening every day.

As reported, we teamed up with the radio station to celebrate community positivity. Over the summer we asked you to vote in several categories and, boy, did you give the judging panel a hard time! Eventually a shortlist was made, and at a glamorous ceremony at Grimsby Town Hall, the winners were crowned.

Opening the ceremony was Lincs FM presenter Ross Carrick, who said: “Any awards ceremony is special but I’m sure you’ll agree with me, even more so after 2020 – a year like no other. One positive that has come from the past year is that of true community spirit and people coming together to help others, and that is what the Community Awards 2021 is all about.

“We received hundreds of nominations and the judges had the hardest job in choosing our finalists. The stories we heard we so moving, so it’s a big thank you for what you do – everyone is a winner.”

First up was Team of the Year. The finalists were the clinical team at St Barnabas Hospice, the Lincoln Core CAMHS (Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service) Team, and Abbey Access Training – The Arboretum Café.

Abbey Access Training won and were presented with their award by Grimsby Town Football Club’s chief executive, Debbie Cook. During lockdown, the team used their cafe to cook healthy meals for children, serving more than 7000 meals to children, as well as tonnes in food parcels for families. They continue to work with the local community and look forward to delivering more free projects. More recently, they have been running summer activities for children as well as free meals and activities for OAPs to help them reengage following the isolation of lockdown.

HMT St Hughs Carer of the Year

The next award was Carer of the Year, and the finalists were Laura Armstrong, Trudy Dawkin and Claire Louise Nixon. Homegrown Strictly Come Dancing star Joanne Clifton virtually announced the winner as Trudy.

Trudy was the youngest girl in a large family of 10 children. Her older sister Susan is epileptic and has learning disabilities, and her nephew David also has learning disabilities. When Trudy’s parents died, it was her mother’s last wish that Susan and David would be looked after and not taken into care. Trudy took them both on. They need 24/7 care, which can be very demanding and puts many restraints on her own freedom. She has now cared for them for the last 39 years.

St Hughs Volunteer of the Year

Volunteer of the Year was up next, and those shortlisted were Daisy-Jean Cardwell, Sue Cracknell and Kevin Troop. The Mayor of North East Lincolnshire, Councillor David Hasthorpe, took great pleasure in presenting 22-month-old Daisy-Jean with her award.

Daisy is the youngest volunteer at Oasis Hub South in Grimsby. She helps with the food pantry and greets the public with a smile. She helps create healthy meals and loves to put vegetable packs together that go into parcels for the community. Daisy has congenital heart disease and is sometimes out of breath, however, this never stops her.

The finalists for Fundraiser of the Year were Sam Batchelor, Eileen Miller and Stuart Fox. Tesco Cleethorpes’s Community Champion Jenny Follan presented the award to Stuart, who over the last few years has been fundraising for Ward D33 at Queens Medical Centre, a ward that treats children with Cystic Fibrosis.

Over the last few years, Stuart has done amazing challenges including biking coast to coast and biking from London to Paris, and most recently he climbed the equivalent height of Kilimanjaro by walking up and down Steep Hill in Lincoln continuously, which took 24 hours. He has raised very close to £20,000.

Hot St Hughs Community Awards Winner

The final Unsung Hero category was for someone who, no matter what is thrown at them, carries on without complaint. The finalists were Lorraine Hoof, Lilly-ann Woolliss and Debbie Hill. Announcing Lilly-ann as winner virtually was actress and presenter Gemma Atkinson.

Lilly-ann has a very rare metabolic disease, which means she can only have four grams of protein daily. If this is not weighed and her daily supplements are taken exactly, she will end up with irreversible brain damage. Lilly-Ann deals with this remarkably and because it is not visible, she doesn’t get recognised for her courage. Her condition means she has no tea dates or many play dates with friends.

That was the end of the awards that the public voted for – but we had a surprise or two in store! The St Hugh’s Special Recognition Award was presented by hospital director Ashley Brown to Thea Jones. When Thea’s dad was diagnosed with tonsil cancer, she decided to take on the challenge to run a mile every day for 20 days to raise money for Macmillan.

She said she wanted to help them like they were helping her daddy and has raised at least £1,300. Unfortunately, she fell off some monkey bars and broke her arm, resulting in a hospital stay – however, this little star never gives up! She has shown nothing but positivity during this gruelling situation, watching her father going through his treatment.

The Lincs FM Star Award was given virtually by presenter Joseph Begley to Eileen Miller, one of the finalists in the Fundraiser of the Year category.

And finally, St Hugh’s and Lincs FM came together to award a £1000 bursary to a worthy cause. There was no doubt in which organisation that would be – Sage Gardener. The group has helped many people, including those with dementia, before and through the lockdowns by holding workshop and visits when possible or by dropping off wellbeing baskets containing food and things to make and do. They have a base in Eagle full of nature, plants, birds and even a compost toilet. Any funding helps keep them afloat and brings people together in the community. The project is run by Jane and David Newman, who have very big hearts.

And in a flash, the Community Awards 2021 was over! We will be featuring more on our winners soon, and we are already planning for 2022!

Thanks: Ross Carrick for presenting the awards, with help from Lincs FM colleagues Lee, Keith and Lynn; Liz at Abbey’s Of Abbeygate for providing a delicious meal for all our guests; Gary Allington from St Hugh’s for organising vital parts of the awards; and Gemma Brown for the lovely table decorations.