Jun 15 2011 By Siba Matti
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THE judging panel for this year's Local Heroes awards made some difficult decisions on Friday (10) as the standard of nominations proved to be higher than ever before.
The competition, run jointly by the Uxbridge Gazette and Leader Series, together with Uxbridge College, celebrates the unsung stars of Hillingdon who have made an outstanding contribution to the community or shown courage when overcoming hurdles in life.
The Gazette has been overwhelmed with nominations from readers for all five categories, including Community Champion, Star Carer, Fabulous Fundraiser, Outstanding Young Person and Citizen of Courage.
Each category winner will receive £200 and a trophy, while person crowned the overall Hero of Hillingdon will pocket an amazing £500. Runners up will each win £50.
The winners will be announced and presented with their prizes at a glittering gala awards ceremony at Uxbridge College's Hayes Campus, off Coldharbour Lane, on Thursday, July 7.
Invitations are currently winging their way to short-listed candidates (more details below).
This is the ninth time the popular competition has been held and the judging panel – including Gazette multimedia content manager, Shujaul Azam; principal of Uxbridge College, Larraine Smith OBE; Mayor of Hillingdon, Councillor Mary O'Connor MBE, and her escort, Tim McCarthy.
Mr Azam said: "It's absolutely amazing what our unsung heroes do for their friends and families and the community at large. Their achievement is a triumph of the human spirit and I congratulate all of them. It was extremely difficult to choose from these amazing nominations. Well done to all."
Ms Smith said: "As in previous years, choosing the winners of the Local Heroes competition has been very difficult for all of us on the judging panel. The quality of entries was extremely high, so if you entered someone who has not been awarded a prize it is only because there were so many excellent entries to choose from.
"As ever, the competition shows what amazing people we have in our community and illustrates just how much they do for others."
Cllr O'Connor added: "This competition is here to recognise those in Hillingdon who do so much to help others in ways that we can all be proud of, and it is only right that such an opportunity exists. I have met so many remarkable people already in my time as Mayor, and the Local Heroes competition shows just how many more unsung heroes there are in Hillingdon. It is a pleasure and a privilege to be part of it."
Visit www.uxbridgegazette.co.uk from Friday, July 8 for details of the winners. Don't miss the Gazette on Wednesday, July 13 for full coverage of the awards ceremony.
DAVID BROUGH (chairman of the Hayes Town Partnership and Hillingdon Community Trust) keeps Hayes town at the forefront of everyone's mind, including community groups, council leaders, business managers, police, carers and places of worship. He encourages the community to work together to make Hayes a better place to live.
LESLEY CROWCROFT (chairman of the Friends of Eastcote House Gardens), led the restoration and replanting of the walled garden at Eastcote House Gardens, which were officially re-opened in July last year. The Friends have now launched a £1m appeal to restore the Stables (the Old Coach House) and the Dovecot on the site.
STEVE HARDWICKE, rector at St Lawrence Church in Cowley, set up a residents' association to make a better life for the Cowley community. He runs youth clubs and will help anyone he comes across who needs assistance, such as a lift to the hospital.
MAVIS HAZELL has worked as a volunteer lay minister at Hillingdon Hospital for 20 years, visiting all who need prayer or friendship when ill or vulnerable.
HILLINGDON FOOD BANK provides short term and emergency food and support for families in the borough going through hardship. Volunteers encourage local people and organisations to donate food. Schools, supermarkets, churches and companies have given 10 tonnes of food, worth an estimated £25,000, helping about 600 people.
CAROLE MAIN took care of her elderly mum until she moved to a care home, where Carole now volunteers. She also runs a children's Sunday school and the Girls' Brigade on Fridays, as well as running errands for friends and neighbours, and escorting people to hospital appointments.
MAURICE AND RITA RAY have been praised for their 'endless energy and enthusiasm' while volunteering at the Compass Theatre in Ickenham since 1990. They have been involved in various fundraising initiatives, including forming the Friends of Ickenham Hall, committed to raising cash for Ickenham Hall, which adjoins the Compass.
LEN TURNER has spent 20 years volunteering for Michael Sobell House (MSH) hospice, based at Mount Vernon Hospital in Northwood. The 92-year-old has been involved in gardening, taking care of the hospice aviary and helping to set up a bridge club which has raised more than £100,000 for the hospice in the past three years alone.
PETER WILLIAMS formed the Hillingdon Choral Society in 1980 and Hillingdon Philharmonic Orchestra in 1985, which have taken part in a range of concerts and events, including the Queen's Golden Jubilee Tour. The groups have given musicians and audiences the chance to appreciate music.
CURTIS BOTTEN jumped into a frozen lake to rescue two boys who had fallen through the ice in the middle of a blizzard, despite having an injured shoulder.
REBECCA HUMPHRIES has completed two parachute jumps for charity despite being blind as a result of being born prematurely. She has raised money for Moorfields Eye Hospital and Guide Dogs, and does tin collections outside tube stations.
JOSEPH KANE has beaten testicular cancer twice, aged 26 and 30. He ran the Paris Marathon in five hours to raise money for research to help cure the disease.
SARAH MUSTOE has raised a huge amount to fund a £23,000 play area attached to the Peter Pan and Wendy children's wards at Hillingdon Hospital, where her son, Tommy, was treated for Cystic Fibrosis.
IAN PARKINSON rallied the Eastcote business community to raise about £18,500 and arranged the biggest Christmas fair the village had ever seen, attracting 10,000 people. Local businesses say they generated £250,000 from the event.
BERNARD ROBERTS, a Second World War veteran, was Poppy Appeal organiser for the Eastcote Branch Royal British Legion for 10 years, during which £250,000 was raised for the relief of distress of serving and ex-service military personnel.
JULIE WHITE-COLE, has raised money for animal charities for more than 20 years. She is a trustee of Hillingdon RSPCA and also fundraises for Lockwood Donkey Centre in Surrey and Greyhounds In Need.
OUTSTANDING YOUNG PERSON
ELIE CLARK, nine, takes care of her grandmother, Toni Bonnie, who has epilepsy and lives alone. She does the shopping, cleaning and hoovering, and also helps her grandmother in and out of the bath.
AHAMED FARHAN, six, a pupil at Hedgewood Special School in Hayes, has faced the challenges of having autism head on. He has much better speech, concentration and spelling and is also very good at typing.
SCOTT LEWIS, 13, a pupil at St Martin's School in Northwood, volunteers his time to help RSPCA Southridge, near Potters Bar, to rehome animals. He has also helped raise money for Harefield Dogs' Trust, Comic Relief, and the Love in the Box charity appeal for underprivileged children.
AMBER POWLING, 13, a student at Haydon School in Eastcote, achieves top grades and has also received Head Teacher awards. She is a member of the school council, Hillingdon Youth Council and the London 2012 Olympic Leadership Team, raising awareness of the games. She is also an accomplished musician and gifted athlete. She also helps care for her brother Scott, who has Down's Syndrome.
LIN GREGORY volunteers at Grangewood school for children with severe learning difficulties. She also takes time off work to help Orchyd, a Ruislip-based charity which gives disabled children a holiday. She also runs a Girl Guide unit in Ruislip and helps out with Marie Curie Cancer Care street collections.
VALERIE MAGUIRE, 80, is always willing to help with people's shopping, hospital visits, and official paperwork.
TINA MOON single handedly cares for six children including her physically and mentally disabled son, Steven, who suffered from meningitis as a child, and is now 29 years old.
EARL PHILLIP has been the main carer for wheelchair-user, Hazel Calender-Philip, for six years, since she had a fall and injured her right knee. He does all the cooking, laundry, shopping and accompanies her to hospital appointments. He is also part of the Safer Neighbourhood Group and a volunteer cook.
SHARON POWER was nominated by her mum, Eileen, for taking care of her after she was diagnosed with osteoporosis and also her dad, who is in the late stages of Alzheimer's. She also took care of her sister who had a bad heart and was in hospital for three weeks after having twins.
KANE THOMAS, 10, a pupil at Botwell House Roman Catholic Primary School in Hayes, took care of his mum, Roma, after she suffered from two mini-strokes (bells palsy). He got himself ready for school, brought her breakfast in bed and got his own packed lunch. He has also excelled in sporting activities and was made captain of his school swimming team.