Inspirational people who so often put themselves before others
By Derby Telegraph | Monday, May 14, 2012, 07:35
Our 14 Community Champions winners were recognised at a glittering awards ceremony last night. Sophie Evans looks at what makes them so special.
Presented by Steve Hall and Simon Cornes
JAYSHREE devotes her time to others, running three yoga classes a week for people in her local community.
The 60-year-old took on holding the classes at a Hindu temple in Normanton as a social event for many of the people who might not otherwise get out into the community.
Jayshree, of Westfield Close, is retiring from her job as a civil servant later this year and is going to use the spare time to do more community work.
She said: "Working full-time and juggling all the work with the extras I do on top is difficult. I'm looking forward to having more time to help others in the community."
Jayshree is also qualified in sign language and helps deaf people in Derby.
And the elderly Indian community are looked after by Jayshree when they need help filling in benefits forms.
She said: "I want to be a help to the members of the community who need my help."
KINDNESS TO ANIMALS AWARD
Presented by The Apprentice star Howard Ebison
When Jo started the annual St Francis's Day service at Derby Cathedral she never imaged it would get such a good response. But, 10 years on, the service is attended by hundreds of people and their pets – from cats and dogs to parrots and goats.
Jo, 66, has been volunteering at the Abbey Street branch of the RSPCA for the past 14 years and is also involved at the St Francis Hospice for Cats in Sapperton Close, Littleover, becoming fund-raising co-ordinator for the charity.
The hospice cares for elderly and terminally-ill cats and relies on charitable donations.
The West Hallam Animal Charities organisation has also been a recipient of Jo's fund-raising efforts.
Animal lover Jo, of Ambergate, has a few pets of her own. She has Max, a toy poodle, and Chrissy, a West Highland white terrier, plus a cockatiel called Benjemima.
She said: "The centres need our help because they rely on the public for donations. We are supposed to be a nation of animal lovers but pets are abandoned all the time. It's our job to help them."
ACHIEVING AGAINST THE ODDS AWARD
Presented by Jo Hughes, Alvaston branch manager of Derbyshire Building Society
WHEN Katie developed a painful condition when pregnant with her son, leaving her struggling to walk, she dreamed up the idea of a science park. Five years later, the dream became a reality when Alvaston Park Science garden was opened to the public.
Katie, 33, secured a £43,152 grant from the Big Lottery Fund's Community Sports programme to bring her science garden alive.
Katie, who's son Theo is now five, said: "I wanted to create something that would attract more and more people to Alvaston Park.
"It was always used by people playing sport but we wanted to open it up to everyone.
"It's been a great success so far. Everyone seems to love it and the idea behind it."
Katie, of Chambers Street, Alvaston, was unable to walk properly for two years following the birth of her son and was unable to play with him like other mums at play group.
She said: "It was really hard when all I wanted to do was play with my child, like you expect to be able to."
THE MAYOR'S VOLUNTEER AWARD
Presented by Deputy Mayor Frank Leeming
FOR 17 years, Eve Allen has been running Derby Kids for Christ to help young people and their families.
The charity, based at Derby City Church, in Curzon Street, organises events for young people so they have something to do.
Eve, of Max Road, Chaddesden, also has a team of people who visit schools in the city to give assemblies.
Eve said: "We run parenting classes, too, to help educate parents in the needs of their children.
"I love working with the children and adults and I get a lot of pleasure out of it. It's a great feeling."
Eve is planning to retire in September. She said: "I know I'm leaving everything in capable hands with the team I've been working with for the last few years.
"I'm so proud of everything I've achieved over the last 17 years and I'd do it all again."
UNSUNG SPORTING HERO AWARD
Presented by Derby County player Mark O'Brien
FOR 23 years, Gordon Taylor has been coaching the young people of Chaddesden in all things football.
The 69-year-old began playing when he was at school in Pear Tree and his love of the game has never left him.
He said: "I worked for Qualcast for 25 years and I always played for the works team while I was there. Football has always been a massive part of my life. I can't imagine it being any different."
Gordon, of Chesapeake Road, Chaddesden, also coaches at the club's soccer school sessions. He said: "They are training sessions aimed at teaching youngsters the skills they need for the game. Anyone can come along and join in. It's meant to be good fun.
"We've got 18 children at the moment, including a couple of girls, which is always great."
Presented by Anne Davies, East Midlands Today presenter
CARING for others is what Christine does best and, when she lost her husband, she turned to helping her friends.
For the past seven years of his life, Christine's husband, Jim, suffered with Alzheimer's. She said: "I cared from him right until the end. It was a relief when he passed away as I knew he wasn't suffering any more. It was comforting to know he wasn't in pain any more."
Christine, 64, of Stanton Street, calls on four elderly people every morning and goes to visit at least two others every day.
Christine said: "Some of them don't have any family and, if I didn't go and talk to them, even just for half an hour a day, they'd have no one.
"Some mornings I take someone to the doctors and end up talking to all the patients and spending two hours there. But I love it."
GREAT NEIGHBOUR AWARD
Presented by TV auctioneer Charles Hanson
DELIA El-Hosayny has been a great neighbour to the Singletons for the 13 years they have lived next door to each other.
Delia, who works on the doors of Derby's pubs and clubs, has even had to call 999 for Margaret Singleton in the past.
But, despite being there for others, Delia has also faced her own problems in life.
The 44-year-old, of Anglesey Street, said: "I suffered a heart attack, a miscarriage and an early labour, where I lost my baby.
"I met my husband, Samaail, in 2007 and we got married, but he is stuck in Morocco and can't get a visa to join me here in the UK.
"But I always think that there will be someone worse off than me and, if I can help someone out, then I will."
EXTRA MILE AWARD
Presented by Maria Fowler from reality TV show The Only Way is Essex
WHEN Keith's young children did not have anything to do in the evenings in Chellaston, he and his wife Debbie set up a youth club.
And now, two years on, the club has had more than 5,000 children through its doors.
Every Friday night, scores of youngsters arrive at Chellaston Community Centre.
Keith, 50, said: "My children, Siobhan, 13, and Kieran, nine, didn't have anything to do and we thought it was a real shame.
"So we decided to be proactive and set the group up. We organise trips to Rollerworld and Alter Rock and the kids love it."
Initially, Keith and Debbie put their own money into setting up the group but later they approached Chellaston Neighbourhood Board to help with the running costs.
Keith, of Foxdell Way, said: "Without the continual support of the neighbourhood team, we wouldn't have a place to meet each week. Without them, we wouldn't be able to carry on."
CULTURAL CHAMPION AWARD
Presented by Derby Telegraph editor Steve Hall
ANDREW Manning has been organising the Derby Pride event for the past three years and promises 2012's is going to be even bigger and better.
Andrew, who is 29, had helped out at the Derby event for several years before becoming chairman of the organising committee.
The 29-year-old, of Heath Avenue, Littleover, said: "We've had to overcome a lot of obstacles over the last couple of years with the homophobia and anti-gay leaflets that were being handed out.
"We want to promote the event for what it is – a whole day where the community can come together and enjoy each other and everyone's company."
THE CHIEF CONSTABLE'S SPECIAL AWARD
Presented by Presented by Derbyshire Chief Constable Mick Creedon
JOHN Augustin set up the street pastor service in Derby. The service – run by volunteers from city churches – helps young people who feel they are excluded and marginalised or who may be at risk of harm.
John, a social worker for Derby City Council, co-founded it because he wanted to reach out to more people in the community.
John, of Lawnlea Close, said: "I go round the housing estates in the area and support the families who live there and give them any help that they may need.
"We also speak to all the shopkeepers and help them if they are having any trouble with anti-social behaviour.
"We are just another set of eyes on an evening to help out people who may be in trouble or need some assistance, whether they realise it or not."
CHILDREN IN THE COMMUNITY AWARD
Presented by film actress Georgia Groome
JACK Mason has put off an operation to make sure his team could compete in a national competition.
The 14-year-old has been swimming through the pain barrier so he did not let his team-mates down ahead of the UK National Speed Championships – a life-saving competition.
He has also raised £1,400 for a bowel cancer charity after his grandmother, Jan Attwood, suffered with the disease.
The injury had knocked Jack's right hip out of line and doctors didn't know how he was still able to swim and walk.
Jack, a student at Heanor Gate Science College, said: "There are four of us in the team and to compete we all have to do it. If one of us can't, then none of us can.
"So, I told the doctor I didn't want the operation and I carried on swimming.
"It is painful but I am not letting my team down."
BE INSPIRING AWARD
Presented by Tim Clegg, director of Derby City Partnership, which sponsors Community Champions
FROM kettles to underpants and shampoo to shirts, nothing is too much to ask of wheelchair-user Jenny Birrane.
Ms Birrane moved into Handyside Court, Alvaston, in 2009 because she was struggling to live alone.
Now, thanks to her, the court has its own mini-mart.
Jenny said: "We have a hairdresser, a restaurant and community living areas but we lacked a shop. So we started up, at first just on two trays with a few snacks. Now we've got pretty much everything you might want."
Jenny suffered deep vein thrombosis and was taking the blood-thinning drug warfarin when she had a bleed on her spine in 2005. She needed surgery, which left her paralysed from the waist down.
Jenny also acts as a voice for Handyside Court, so she can speak to management on behalf of fellow residents.
Presented by jazz act Miss 600
WHEN Tim Etherington started to lose his sight at the age of 21, he decided it was not going to rule his life.
Tim set up a tenpin bowling group for blind and partially-sighted people 13 years ago because he did not want to give up on the sport he loved.
Around 30 members of Derby Dragons now meet each week for a game at Tenpin, Sinfin.
The 44-year-old, of Acorn Drive, Belper, said setting up the group helped give members some independence.
He said: "Setting up the sporting club and keeping some of the independence that sighted people take for granted was very important to me. And to be able to pass that on to others is a great gift to give."
FUND-RAISER OF THE YEAR AWARD
Presented by actor Robert Lindsay
PARKINSON'S disease sufferer Mick Mills has been praised as an "inspiration" for his efforts to raise more than £20,000 to help others.
Mick requires round-the-clock care but continues to help raise money for good causes.
The 56-year-old, a member of Ripley Rotary Club, said: "Every year, I do the Walk the Walk event, which goes from Ripley to the community hospital, in London Road.
"Last year, we raised £7,500 and bought some walking frames to help people with Parkinson's carry on walking independently for as long as possible."
At Green Gables care home, in Alfreton, where Mick is a resident, he has taken on the role of fund-raising co-ordinator.
The money he has raised over the years has been split between Parkinson's UK, the air ambulance and the British Heart Foundation.