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Pride in Fenland: local heroes named and acclaimed

They are "unsung heroes" no longer. The selfless volunteers of all ages who devote their time and energy to helping others were named and acclaimed at this year's Pride in Fenland Awards last night (Wednesday, March 22).

Pride in Fenland 2017 - Jane Archer

About 220 people packed the community centre at Wisbech St Mary for the joyful and often moving ceremony. They heard glowing tributes to all the nominees for the awards, organised by Fenland District Council, the Fenland Citizen newspaper and the Fenland Youth District Council

Councillor Mike Cornwell, the council's Cabinet member responsible for communities, described them as "truly inspirational".

He said: "It is the selfless act of giving of our precious time to others that singles out the individuals, couples, groups and organisations here tonight. Without your thought, dedication and commitment, Fenland would be a much poorer place."

Declaring that he was incredibly proud to have been able to celebrate their achievements with them, he said: "Fenland is a unique place to live and the positive contributions you have all made, in making the lives of our residents better, safer, cleaner and more inclusive are genuinely humbling.

"You should leave here proud of your achievements, and I hope you all continue to make a difference in the future."

Here are the winners of each of the five awards together with all the other nominees. Each of the winners was presented with a trophy and a cheque for £100; the runners-up received cheques for £25. They and all the other nominees also received a special certificate.

GOOD NEIGHBOUR

Sponsored by Knowles Transport

Winner: Jane Archer (pictured above with Cllr Cornwell), for her work with many elderly people in Doddington and Wimblington "She collects their shopping and prescriptions, mows lawns, cleans houses and sends time with them...and she does this with a big smile on her face. She understands the value people place on simply having someone willing to spend time with them."

Runners-up: Debbie and Matt Elliot

Other nominees: Roger and Julie Coulthurst; John Granger, Andy Prior, Colin Caulfield, Nick Wickins and Roger Hutson; Monty and Betty Charles

VOLUNTEER IN THE COMMUNITY

Sponsored by the Oliver Cromwell Hotel, March

Winners: Ron and Carol Payne (pictured below, left). They received six separate nominations for their "unstinting giving" in Leverington. Both are members of the village hall committee (Ron is chairman) and "they dedicate time and effort to the village organising coffee mornings, afternoon teas and soup and sandwich lunches". They also provide transport for local residents who need it.

Runner-up: Janet Belamy

Other nominees: Jill Hindle; Margaret Oatey; Jackie McPherson; Colin Martin; Dee Potter; Sue Hooton; Brian Massingham; Penny Stocks; Brian Bennett; Wendy Smith; Mary Watt; Patricia Hart; Martyn and Julie Dent

YOUNG PERSON OF THE YEAR

Sponsored by the Skylark Garden Centre

Winner: Yazmin Hills, a teenager from Coates (pictured below with Cody and Cllr Michelle Tanfield). Nominated by Kelly Stainer, who says: "Our son Cody has a rare chromosome condition. He is believed to be the only person in the world to be missing the same  two chromosome structures which hold his genes. Cody, who is now three. cannot talk or chew and was never expected to walk.

"Yazmin cut and shaved all her beautiful long hair off and sent it to the Princess Trust, which makes wigs for children with cancer. She raised £3210.81 and this will go towards the purchase of a specially adapted pushchair. I was speechless and had tears in my eyes - I can't thank her enough."

Runners-up: Katie Mowat and Wisbech Volunteer Police Cadets

Other nominees: Ben Martin; 15 teenagers from 20Twenty Productions

GROUP, CLUB OR ORGANISATION BENEFITING THE COMMUNITY

Sponsored by the Vesuvio Italian Restaurant, Whittlesey

Winner: Fraternity Children Centre Parent Forum (their representatives pictured below). As a passionate, community-focused group, they work closely with the three children's centres in the Wisbech area, "listening and reacting to the needs of both their children and themselves, thereby providing a voice and learning to promote social, emotional and physical development of children through play and various activities, in addition to encouraging their independence and stimulating their inquisitive minds."

Runner-up: Defibrillators For All

Other nominees: Chatteris In Bloom; March Cancer Research Shop; Alan Hudson Day Treatment Centre; Wisbech Round Table; Whittlesey Emergency Food Aid; March Park Run; Chatteris Christmas Lights Committee; North View Lakes; March In Bloom/Street Pride; CCORRN

JUDGES' SPECIAL AWARD

Winner: Whittlesey Emergency Food Aid (representatives pictured below). An organisation that has gone from strength to strength since its formation in 2015. It is "an excellent example of local people getting together to meet a pressing local need in these uncertain times", providing help to those most in need.

Runners-up: Colin Martin; Martyn and Julie Dent

Pride in Fenland 2017 - Ron and Carol Payne Pride in Fenland 2017 - Yazmin Hills 3 Pride in Fenland 2017 - Fraternity Children Centre Parent Forum Pride in Fenland 2017 - Whittlesey Emergency Food Aid

Article added March 23, 2017