Unsung heroes honoured at Community Awards
South Cambridgeshire District Council honoured local unsung heroes at a Community Awards ceremony, hosted by Chairman Cllr Sue Ellington, at South Cambridgeshire Hall last night (Thursday 9 March).
Martin Sebborn of Toft was crowned this year’s Village Hero for his work improving the quality of life for local residents and boosting the village social calendar. Martin introduced and is the driving force behind the annual firework display, Toft Film Club, Toft Camera Club and Toft Beer and Cider Festival. He organised the first Speedwatch event and the lighting of the village Beacon to mark the Queen's 90th birthday and has also created websites for the village, Toft Social Club and Toft’s successful Down Syndrome athlete Charlotte Cox.
Over Day Centre was honoured with the award for Outstanding Service or Amenity. The centre provides a much needed place for elderly and isolated residents and their carers to come together to receive help, support and care with daily living, form friendships and socialise, and integrate with the wider community through established links with the school, church, community centre and local interest groups.
Sarah Harris of Milton scooped the Environment Award for inspiring a team of local volunteers to help her renovate the neglected orchard at Milton Country Park into a beautiful, healthy, safe, educational and sociable public place with an abundance of produce for local people to enjoy.
The Wellbeing Award was presented to Anne Hall of Little Abington, who is a very hands-on and inspirational church warden. Anne runs a village social group, the Forget Me Knot Club, for the elderly, she set up the village women’s choir, got the community engaged in fundraising for a recent church extension, and is on standby for several elderly and vulnerable residents who can call her in any time of need.
Carol Wright and Chris Robins took the gong for Outstanding Youth Initiative for running the successful Gamlingay Summer Playscheme for 26 years, bringing together 7 to 14 year olds from the wider community. The group relies on volunteers and gives families somewhere for their children to go and do something different for one week of the summer holidays.
There were two joint winners of the Parish Councillor of the Year Award. They are Gill Ashby, who has transformed Longstanton Parish Council into a well run, financially secure council that is engaged with the community; and Sarah Groom from Gamlingay, who is heavily involved in village events and groups, and continually seeks to create new opportunities to engage members of the community and improve village life.
The winner of the Portfolio Holder’s special award was Oakington Environment Group. Newly banded together, the group is already making an impact in their village by clearing pathways, cleaning signs and making Oakington cleaner, greener and safer for everyone.
The Community Awards, sponsored by Hill, have been running for seven years and aim to honour some of the people who make a difference in their community.
Cllr Sue Ellington, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Chairman and host of the awards, said: “These Community Awards are a great opportunity for us to say a special thank you to some of the district’s inspirational volunteers who have given their time to light up the lives of others. They have each shown us how much can be achieved when a community pulls together to help one another and it is fitting that we pay tribute to their achievements and the role they play in making the district a great place to live.”
Cllr Mark Howell, cabinet member for communities, said: “We’re very proud to be hosting these awards once again. Communities are at the very heart of what we do and it is inspiring to see how hard local people and parish councils work to improve life in their villages. Ideas and projects become a reality thanks to wonderfully dedicated volunteers and these awards are a great way to thank those people for the contribution and difference they make.”
Village Hero, Martin Sebbon from Toft, said: "I get a lot out of the activities I help to run in Toft; it's that kind of village and I like to see people enjoying themselves. It was lovely to be nominated and a very pleasant surprise to win."
The full list of winners are:
Village Hero Award
First place – Martin Sebborn, Toft
Second place – Andrew Clark, Linton
Third place – Lyn Pepperell, Stapleford
Outstanding local service or amenity
First place – Over Day Centre
Second place – Compass Café, Swavesey
Joint third place – Bethel Baptist Church Community Rooms, Swavesey
Roger Stubbings, who set up the FB page People of Sawston
Wandlebury Park, Brabraham
First place – Anna Harris for the Milton Country Park Community Orchard
Second place – The Community Led Plan Implementation Group, Croydon
Third place – Sustainable Cottenham
First place – Anne Hall for the Forget Me Not Club in Little Abington
Second place – Fen Edge Runners, Over
Third place – Geoff Klein, martial arts instructor, Bassingbourn
Outstanding Youth Initiative
First Place – Carol Wright and Chris Robins for the Gamlingay Summer Playscheme
Second place – Deborah James for Abington Woods
Third place – Hannah Turner for Swavesey Village College Enrichment Week
Parish Councillor of the Year
Joint first place – Gill Ashby, Longstanton Parish Council
Joint first place – Sarah Groom, Gamlingay Parish Council
Second place – Terry Sadler, Ickleton Parish Council
Special Portfolio Holder’s Award
Oakington Environment Group