Some of Bedfordshire’s most caring and deserving citizens were honoured at our annual Pride in Bedfordshire awards on Friday night.
People who have shown high levels of bravery, courage and those who constantly go the extra mile for others were among those recognised at a glittering ceremony held at Bedford Corn Exchange.
The event was compered by Casualty star and former Coronation Street actor James Redmond.
He presented the awards with the help of our proud sponsors the Harpur Trust and Costa, BPHA Ltd, Keens Shay Keens, Stanair, Bedford BiD, University of Bedforshire, and Eagle Ale Charles Wells Brewery.
The annual awards night recognises the hard work, self-sacrifice and determination shown by the people across the country, with 10 awards celebrating their achievements over the last 12 months.
The following is a list of all our winners and finalists:
n Care in the Community sponsored by Harpur Trust
This award recognises the individuals who have shown incredible patience and understanding, often for many years, caring and supporting a local stranger in need, friend or loved one.
Winner : Family Groups Bedford.
The group helps women who have had their lives affected by domestic abuse.
The woman who nominated them said they had helped her to grow her confidence and self esteem and helped to turn her life around.
n Service with a Smile sponsored by Bedford Bid. This award recognises an individual or a team that goes the extra mile when it comes to customer service, setting a superb example and making you want to return again: those people who make our community a friendlier place to be and deserve to be recognised for going that extra step.
Winner: Patricia Newell.
Patricia was nominated by Father David Beresford of the Church of the Holy Cross in Marsh Farm, Luton, who described her as “an angel here on earth.”
She spends hours cooking without any complaint and can resolve any problem or misunderstanding that may arise and does so many things to help other people.
n Friendly Neighbour of the Year sponsor, Eagle Ale
This award recognises those who have done so much for the people who live near them
Winner: Mary Doyle.
Mary is described as a stalwart of her community in Linford and is such a good neighbour that neighbours clubbed together to get her an early 90th birthday present.
n Young Achiever of the Year sponsored by The Harpur Trust
This award is for a person 21 or under who has either achieved great things in sport, represented their school, is involved in volunteer work, or achieved distinction in some other field. An individual who has gone above the expected and is setting new standard in a particular field.
Winner: Gabriella Connolly.
Ten-year-old Gabriella is a gymnast who has overcome adversity and dreams of competing for Great Britain.
Her faith, passion and dedication to her training was challenged early this year after she sustained a stress fracture in her back but has refused to reduce her 21 hours a week training schedule.
n Volunteer of the Year sponsored by BPHA Ltd
This award is for an individual or team who give freely and unselfishly of their time to help others.
Winner: Lionel Albon
Lionel, of Carers in Bedfordshire, offers highly valued peer to peer support to many group members and is an active member of the group for many years having looked after his wife, who lived with dementia until her death earlier this year.
n Excellence in Education award sponsored by University of Bedfordshire
This award recognises the enthusiasm, effort and commitment given to achieve excellence.
Winners: The Teachers of St George’s Lower School, Leighton Buzzard.
The school serves one of the most deprived areas in Bedfordshire but the highly committed staff work to continually raise standards and give all the children the best education.
This year the school was placed among the top 2 per cent in the country.
n Raising the Profile of the Town sponsored by the Bedfordshire Times & Citizen
Category for an individual or group who has actively promoted the town.
Winner: The Wheelchair Legacy Challenge Organisers.
The group was set up in 2012 and has been going every year. A challenge in October this year attracted more than 150 participants.
n Fundraiser of the Year sponsored by the Luton News
This award is to recognise the achievements of the many people who raise money for others. Many of these people so often so without recognition.
Winner: Amelie Simpson.
Amelie, aged seven, was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease after becoming critically ill. She is now fundraising for toys and gadgets for Bedford Hospital and raised £1,000 in three weeks. She is now fundraising for Crohns in Children Research Association.
n Unsung Hero of the Year sponsored by Keens Shay Keens
This award recognises the achievement of individuals or groups that go out of their way for others, or their community as a whole.
Winner: Anne Grant
Anne has been a carer for her husband for more than 20 years. But not content with looking after him and raising their children she has edited the Renhold Village magazine for the past seven years and is central to the Carers in Bedford charity.
n The Senior Citizens’ Award sponsored by Johnston Press
This award is for someone who is 60 and over and has either achieved great things in the community, is involved in volunteer work, overcame a major hardship, or achieved distinction in some other field.
Winner: Daphne Cherry
Daphne, aged 75, has been patrolling with Bedford Street Angels since 2009. She is a supporting granny figure to many young and old, helping vulnerable people on the streets of Bedford on Saturday nights and early Sunday morning.
n Winner of Winners Award sponsored by Johnston Press
This award is to celebrate all of tonight’s winners.
Winner Anne Grant.