Jul 7 2011 By Siba Matti
Kane Thomas Local Hero
HILLINGDON'S unsung heroes who defied adversity or went beyond the call of duty were invited to step into the spotlight at our Local Heroes awards ceremony tonight (7).
About 100 guests, including proud family and friends, packed the theatre hall at Uxbridge College Hayes Campus, off Coldharbour Lane, Hayes, for the event.
It was a double celebration for 10-year-old Kane Thomas (pictured with his mum, Roma), who was crowned the Hero of Hillingdon and the winner of the Star Carer category.
Kane, a pupil at Botwell House Roman Catholic School in Hayes, was recognised for taking care of his beloved mum, Roma, after she suffered from two mini strokes (bells palsy).
He got himself ready for school, brought her breakfast in bed and made his own packed lunch.
He has also excelled in sporting activities and was made captain of his school swimming team.
The Local Heroes awards, run jointly by the Uxbridge Gazette and Leader Series and Uxbridge College, recognises people who have overcome hardship or made an outstanding contribution to the local community.
There are five categories in the competition – Star Carer, Fabulous Fundraiser, Community Champion, Courageous Citizen and Outstanding Young Person - plus an overall Hero of Hillingdon title, handed to the category winner who the judges feel is most deserving of the accolade.
As always, the standard of nominations was incredibly high, with the judging panel – Gazette multimedia content manager, Shujaul Azam; Uxbridge College principal, Laraine Smith; and the Mayor of Hillingdon, councillor Mary O'Connor – spending hours deliberating nominations before making a decision.
After a short selection of music by talented pianist, Michael Gallagher, followed by a series of speeches, the results were finally revealed.
Brave Curtis Botten was named Courageous Citizen after fearlessly jumping into a frozen lake to save two boys who had fallen through the ice in the middle of a blizzard, despite having an injured shoulder.
Community Champion David Brough, chairman of the Hayes Town Partnership, was honoured for his tireless efforts to keep the town at the forefront of everyone's minds, including community groups, council leaders, business managers, police, carers and places of worship. He encourages the community to work together and make Hayes a better place to live.
Kindhearted Scott Lewis, a pupil at St Martin's School in Northwood, was named Outstanding Young Person for giving up his time to volunteer for RSPCA Southridge, near Potters Bar, Hertfordshire. He has also helped raise cash for Harefield Dogs' Trust, Comic Relief and the Love in a Box charity appeal for needy children.
Second World War veteran, Bernard Roberts, was given the Fabulous Fundraiser award after working for 10 years as Poppy Appeal organiser for the Eastcote Branch Royal British Legion, during which an amazing £250,000 was raised for the relief of distress of serving and ex-service military personnel.
Our 2011 Hero of Hillingdon, Kane Thomas, pocketed £500 while each category winner received £200 and a trophy, with runners up taking home £50. Certificates were also handed out to a number of Highly Commended nominees.
Laraine Smith said on the night: "Our heroes really are unique, exceptional, and extraordinary.
"Many of them do not think so – in fact we have had to twist a few arms to get everyone here tonight!
"This is a great opportunity to recognise some amazing people you might not normally hear anything about – whose stories are humbling, touching, inspiring, cheering and a privilege to share."
Editorial director of Trinity Mirror Southern, the Gazette's parent company, Kim Chapman, added: "We are proud as a national newspaper group to support these events, include Pride of Britain and Local Heroes.
"These people are the glue that keeps the community together and their stories are amazing.
"Their kindness, hard work and bravery are brilliant examples of how we can improve our communities."
The Mayor of Hillingdon, Councillor Mary O'Connor MBE, was unable to attend the ceremony, but left a short message, saying: "I would like to congratulate all of you. I was proud to be on the judging panel and learn about all the wonderful things being done in Hillingdon."
See next week's Uxbridge Gazette (out Wednesday, July 13) for the full report and interviews with the winners.
FULL LIST OF THE WINNERS
Hero of Hillingdon
Winner: Kane Thomas
Runner Up: Earl Phillip
Runner Up: Sharon Power
Highly Commended: Lindsey Gregory
Highly Commended: Valerie Maguire
Highly Commended: Tina Moon
Winner: Bernard Roberts
Runner Up: Julie White-Cole
Runner Up: Sarah Mustoe
Highly Commended: Ian Parkinson
Winner: David Brough
Runner Up: Len Turner
Runner Up: Lesley Crowcroft
Highly Commended: Maurice and Rita Ray
Highly Commended: Steve Hardwicke
Highly Commended: Mavis Hazell
Highly Commended: Hillingdon Foodbank
Highly Commended: Carole Main
Highly Commended: Peter Williams
Winner: Curtis Botten
Runner Up: Rebecca Humphries
Runner Up: Joseph Kane
Outstanding Young Person
Winner: Scott Lewis
Runner Up: Elie Clark
Runner Up: Amber Powling
Highly Commended: Ahamed Farhan