Community champions honoured at South Norfolk Community Awards
Unsung heroes and community champions of south Norfolk were honoured as more than 100 people gathered to celebrate their achievements.
Dozens attended South Norfolk Council’s Community Awards at the John Innes Centre, in Norwich, where seven worthy winners were handed awards.
Martin Wilby, deputy leader of the council, said: “We had some really inspirational and moving nominations which made the shortlisting process very difficult.
“There are so many wonderful volunteers in south Norfolk making a real difference to people’s lives and inspiring others to take action and get involved in their community.”
Each winner at Friday’s awards received a grant of £250 to give to their chosen charity.
Supporting others, young volunteer and community volunteers awards
Kevin Parfitt, winner of the supporting others award, has been described as a “unique individual dedicated to service to the local community”.
In 2000, he set up the Bergh Apton Older People’s Lunch at Christmas – including a delivery service – which gives a festive lunch for up to 110 residents.
A year later, he launched the New Year’s Day Kitchen Breakfast at the village hall – an event which is attended by more than 200 people.
Eighteen-year-old Declan Jones, winner of the young volunteer award, began volunteering at the Pennoyer Centre in Pulham St Mary when he was just 15, helping people with computer-related advice.
Now, the university student has left Diss High School, but returns in his holidays to help out at the club.
Arthur Novis, who was helped by Mr Jones, said: “In 2014 a local young man helped me with what I was missing in this technical world. He coached me to the point where I am now able to use an iPad. My deepest thanks go to him.”
Triumphing in the community volunteers section was the Four Villages Good Neighbourhood Project.
Launched in 2011, chairmen of Broome, Ditchingham, Hedenham and Thwaite parish councils met to discuss how they could offer help, support, transport and friendship to residents.
Special awards of £100 were given to Bullock Fair Charity Shop in Harleston and Denton Community Composting.
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Charity fundraiser of the year
Anne Beckett-Allen and Pippa Hardie were both named charity fundraiser of the year.
The pair, from Rosedale Funeral Home, which has branches in Diss, Attleborough, Bungay, Wymondham and Halesworth, have raised thousands for local charities.
Mrs Beckett-Allen, founder and director, ran 10 marathons in 10 weeks as part of a challenge to raise £10,000 for the business’ tenth anniversary.
She donated the funds raised from the marathon to the Diss Friends of Chernobyl’s Children charity. She and her husband regularly host children who are living with the effects of the disaster. Mrs Hardie described her colleague, from Scole, as “inspirational” and “motivational”.
Meanwhile, Mrs Hardie, of Talconeston, was instrumental in ensuring that the team raised £7,000 more than their original target – money which went to charities including Wymondham Pabulum Café, Star Throwers, Quidenham Hospice, Feline Cat Care and The Dogs Trust.
She said: “We say that although it is us, it is a win for Rosedale overall.”
Community sport volunteer
Jim Harlow and Gary Fisher, winners of the community sport volunteer award, were recognised for setting up a successful football club in Tasburgh.
The pair aimed to start an activity which would occupy youngsters in the village.
When it was launched in February 2013, it had just 20 children and five volunteers.
Now, it welcomes more than 70 each week.
Mr Harlow said: “We knew we had been shortlisted, but we never expected to win, it was a nice surprise.”
Inspiring achievement volunteer
Caring for others comes naturally for Wymondham man Trevor Brown, (right). Having been involved in the industry during his working life, it was a natural step to set up the Pabulum Café in 2009.
The dementia café – often known as the Wymondham Dementia Support Group – has become a lifeline for its users and welcomes more than 40 people each week. It supports those living with dementia, their carers and family and helped Wymondham become the first dementia-friendly town in Norfolk.