It’s nearly time to celebrate the unsung heroes of our communities at The News We Can Do It awards ceremony. ELLIE PILMOOR reveals the shortlist of nominees in the 10 categories ranging from Best Street to Best School.
Over the past 12 months, people have been nominating the unsung heroes of our community – and now it’s time to honour them.
Our We Can Do It awards celebrate the people who make a difference to other people’s lives and go that extra mile to help out.
They say a big thanks to individuals and groups who selflessly give up their time.
We have drawn up a shortlist of nominees who are in with a chance of winning awards in 10 different categories.
The winners and runners-up for 2015 will be announced on Sunday, October 25, at a ceremony at the Kings Theatre in Southsea.
As well as the awards, the audience at this fantastic free event will enjoy the South Downe Musical Society performing an extract from the musical Legally Blonde, which is at the Kings Theatre in November.
The News Instant Star talent contest winner from this year, who will be chosen following auditions next week, will also perform.
Popular Wave 105 radio presenter Steve Power is compering the awards, which begin at 3pm.
Included in the categories are Best Business, where we honour a firm which has done something special to help the community, and Service With A Smile – highlighting a business or employee who have gone the extra mile.
Someone who has given so much for others will win a Best Volunteer award while a school that has excelled or contributed to society will be named Best School.
For Spirit of Youth, we will shine the spotlight on a youngster who has shown exceptional qualities and for Personal Achievement we will give an award to somebody who has risen to a challenge.
The awards show is sponsored by Colas. For tickets contact Liz Parker on (023) 9262 2206 or email email@example.com.
Here is the full list of categories and nominations:
n Swimming through an icy lake for 1km is something Kate Steels-Fryatt always wanted to do. She completed the feat in Russia earlier this year.
n Keith Harris loves to cycle but this year took on a whole new challenge. He cycled from Pompey to Pompeii, covering the journey in 16 days.
n Adventurous Paula Reid became only the fourth British woman to trek to the South Pole. She covered 560 miles in very low temperatures.
n Ian Tautz, pictured, completed a life-long dream of swimming the Solent. But he completed the feat for his daughter’s school friend Aiden Farrell, from Gosport, who has cerebral palsy.
n Running 100 marathons was something dad-of-two Paul Sahota never thought he could do. But he has completed the challenge and did so in just over a year. For some of the races he completed two marathons in two days.
n Losing her stepfather to cancer in 2013 inspired Sarah Southern to start fundraising. Her annual body combat marathons have raised £22,000 for Cancer Research UK.
Best Art/Community Project:
n Families walked in the streets to celebrate the Festival of Lights in Fratton. The event is about bringing people together and is run by Fratton Big Local.
n Crafty residents of the Cowplain area showed community spirit to help put together a beautiful display window for The Rowans Hospice shop.
n Two artists working with Langstone Technology Park have transformed an underpass near the A27 with a mural of Havant’s history.
n Create Club, held every week, encourages children to get arty. The sessions, run by Louise Richardson, also raise money for Cystic Fibrosis Kids as Louise’s son Ben was diagnosed with the illness when he was a baby.
n Titchfield Art and Craft Show, pictured, had more than 500 pieces on show for art enthusiasts to enjoy. All money raised is donated to Titchfield Community Centre.
n Encouraging people to discover Emsworth, the Emsworth Art Trail has more than 150 artists contributing to the event. It is a walking trail which has grown every year.
n Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is no easy task, but two colleagues from Taylor Made Computer Solutions, pictured, did just that to raise money for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance.
n Tesco in Fareham created a community room for groups in the area to use. The modern room can be used for free and has already housed lots of weekly meetings.
n The Royal Pub in Commercial Road held a 72-hour dart marathon in aid of Help for Heroes and Cancer Research UK. Organised by landlords Allen Wilton and Steve Welsh, an incredible 64,049 darts were thrown.
n Highway maintenance firm Amey spent two different days donating their time to an Air Scout group and a Girl Guide group. They transformed their huts.
n Staff from SSE, in Havant, cycled across the country to raise funds for Sam’s Haven. The charity provides families with sick children with a short break to a holiday park.
n Employees and customers from The Manor House Pub, in Drayton, walked on hot coals for a charity event. They raised £3,100.
Spirit of Youth:
n Brave Callum Lake dialled 999 when his dad cut himself on a saw. Callum helped the paramedics and looked after dad Jamie.
n Amber Bartlett has been a great older sister to Leah who suffers with retinoblastoma - a cancer that affects children’s eyes. Her hard work has seen her become a Childhood Eye Cancer Trust Champion.
n Reggie Aird, pictured, got on his bike to raise money in memory of his grandad Bob who died from lung cancer. Reggie cycled 16 miles for Cancer Research UK.
n Raising more than £44,000 is something teenager Jess Ridge is very proud of. She has been giving up her free time for the past six years to hold a number of events and has even started her own charity A Touch of Magic.
n Best friends Adam Williams and Oliver Ingram organised a fundraiser for dinner lady Carolyn Turner after hearing that her daughter tragically died in an accident in 2008.
n Teenager Zoe Adey has been raising awareness for charity Ovacome after losing her mum to ovarian cancer. She was determined to give something back to the charity.
n Keeping a small area looking pretty with flowers and trees is hard work but volunteers at Fareham in Bloom keep the entire town looking beautiful and bright.
n Dedicating more than 20 years of her life to a charity, Margaret Taylor, pictured, has been helping the Portchester branch of Open Sight in lots of ways.
n Becki Short has been organising fun tea parties for the past three years. The Alice in Wonderland-inspired events raise money for Cystic Fibrosis Kids - an illness her brother is affected by.
n Tending to their garden, Keith and Terri Sandy spend a lot of their ensuring it’s beautiful. They love having open days to share their horticultural haven with others and to raise money for charity.
n David Cockshoot spends a lot of his time helping organisations and groups in Fareham. He is always thinking about ways to help the community and those in it.
n Helping orphans around the world, Nicola Dore raised cash and collected items for children affected by the Malawi floods.
Care of the Environment:
n Volunteers organised by Graham Smith took part in one of the biggest beach clean-ups in the area. Lots of rubbish from Portsmouth, Gosport, Fareham and Havant was cleared from the shoreline.
n Wilko, in Portsmouth, donated items to Lyndhurst Junior School Academy to encourage pupils to look after wild birds. It wanted to share the importance of wildlife in the area.
n Denmead in Bloom organised a mass clean-up of rubbish alongside busy roads in the area. Nearly 50 bags were filled with items ranging from bottles to sweet wrappers.
n It was a campaign the whole community took part in and the Friends of Nore Barn Woods, pictured, raised £46,000 to save a treeline from falling into the sea.
n Groundwork South and Havant Borough Council helped organise a big clean-up of rubbish before the summer holidays, ensuring children had a nice open spaces to play in.
n Dressed in superhero outfits, a team of volunteers from East Hampshire District Council cleaned up dog mess to make the Horndean a cleaner place.
n Staff and pupils from Park Community School held their Race At Our Place inspired by teacher Georgie Harris, whose sister Louisa Hirst was diagnosed with breast cancer. This year’s event was even more poignant as Ms Hirst lost her battle with the illness.
n Three teachers from Elson Infant School, pictured, decided to take part in Macmillan’s Brave the Shave campaign and have their hair shaved off.
n Brune Park School created a garden area for their students who struggle with daily school life. The garden gives them a space to relax and take it easy when they feel school is getting too much.
n Miltoncross School collected lots of food and gifts to make hampers last Christmas. They were then donated to the Rethink Homeless Centre, in Fratton.
n Pupils and parents from Victory Primary School took part in their own Race For Life event. More than £1,000 was raised.
n Boundary Oak School held an energetic fundraiser for Macmillan with children taking part in eight activities.
n Shops in Park Parade, Havant, came together to mark the 60th anniversary of the high street. Lots of free activities saw hundreds of people join in the celebrations.
n Working hard together, residents in St Andrew’s Road, Southsea, campaigned to save their chestnut trees from being cut down.
n Floods hit Lumley Road a couple of years ago, so last Christmas people living in the Emsworth street lined the road with sandbags in a bid to keep their houses dry.
n Getting in the party mood, a street closed their road to mark Victory in Europe Day. Nettlecombe Avenue, in Southsea, was transformed with bunting, games, live entertainment, tables and food to mark the 70th anniversary of VE Day.
n Emsworth High Street, pictured, turned red to mark Red Nose Day. The entire road was covered with decorations for the charity day.
n Castle Road in Southsea celebrated music with Record Day. Live bands performed and music-lovers flocked to the area for the celebrations.
n Woodcot Primary School honoured people who died in the First World War and Second World War by creating a memorial garden with poppies. They opened it at a special ceremony attended by veterans.
n Families living in Wingfield House, in Portsmouth, decided to spruce up the block of flats and were encouraged to plant flowers. Youngsters spent the day planting, learning about flowers along the way.
n The Stacey Centre held an open day to share its garden with the community. The orchard took centre stage as families were welcomed to take part in planting activities.
n The 147 Gardening Club, pictured, volunteered their time to transform the outside space at the Sure Start Centre in Paulsgrove. Families now have somewhere outside to enjoy.
n Wanting to bring families together, Lorraine Brownsea transformed the communal garden at Barclay House in Gosport. She planted trees and flowers to make the space nicer.
n Mark Muir proves you don’t need a big garden to make it lovely. His small garden is full of insects and wildlife.
Service With A Smile:
n Care home Cross Way House, in Havant, takes its residents to Butlins and to the beach and ensures everyone has something fun to do.
n Staff at The Tea Party, in Gosport, pictured, go that extra mile to create a happy, laid-back atmosphere at the cafe.
n Paula Lawes has dedicated her time to helping others and always makes sure she is a friendly face they can rely on. Her Home-cooked Love project creates meals-on-wheels for families in need.
n Newly-opened shop The Burrito Man, in Havant, celebrated the store opening by encouraging people to Park Parade to boost the area. Music and lots of lovely food ensured it was a day for families to enjoy.
n The Diving Museum was picked out of hundreds of attractions across the UK for its family-friendliness. With its interesting exhibits, kind staff and activities, there is lots for families to enjoy.
n Groups at Buckland Community Centre were given an enjoyable afternoon put on by the centre’s dedicated staff. They enjoyed a tea party, quiz and live entertainment.