Community Pride finalists announced

Tony Teasdale

Phil Wiggins

Nioni Grant.

Jak Church,

Lollipop lady Joyce Donkin

Helen Hoult

First published in News
Last updated
by

THEY'RE the pride of York.

Five months after our 2014 Community Pride Awards were launched, and scores of nominations later, the list of inspirational people who have made it to the final has been drawn up.

A panel of judges spent hours deliberating over the scores of worthy nominations in the awards, run by The Press and City of York Council with principal sponsors Benenden Health.

In one of the strongest years yet, the judges said they were constantly impressed by the community spirit and bravery shown by so many unsung heroes all over the city.

Now the 36 individual finalists and nine groups - from dedicated volunteers to loving parents and brave youngsters - have all been invited to the award's glittering gala dinner at York Racecourse in October, when the final winners will be announced.

The finalists are:


Child of the Year

All five finalists have battled and overcome heartbreaking adversity.

Ten year old Georgina Thompson suffered a stroke at birth leaving her with visual impairment and learning difficulties, but brave Georgina has faced the ongoing treatments with spirit and earlier this year went without birthday presents to instead gather donations for Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Jak Church, also 10, is a hero to his best friend and nominator Sam Pryke after Jak survived a boat fire and saved his father's life, before starting to raise money for the burns unit that treated him in Pinderfields.

Twelve year old Ebony Whitehead, a pupil at Fulford School, relies on a wheelchair because of her cerebral palsy, and is a popular figure at school because of her cheerfulness and enthusiam. Teachers say Ebony, from Riccall, is "an asset to the school."

Tang Hall's Cameron Lee, 11, has been nominated by staff at special needs play centre SNAPPY - who call him "a lovely lad with a lovely heart". Living with autism and ADHD, Cameron has faced up to bullies with courage.

The final shortlisted nominee - Phoebe Watling - just five years old - has taken gruelling treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in her stride. The outgoing tot has faced chemotherapy, hair loss and long spells in hospital, all with amazing bravery.


Service with a Smile

The Bishopthorpe Road Traders Association has brought the shops and customers of the vibrant street together and helped foster the remarkable community spirit that saw it transformed into "Bishy Rue" for the Tour de France.

York Hospital Radio, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, has spent half a century comforting and entertaining the patients of York Hospital - providing "a tonic better than medicine".

And York Against Cancer's Bus Service takes a weight off the minds of people facing cancer in York by providing free transport, as well as friendship and cheer, to patients travelling backwards and forwards to Leeds for their treatment.


Primary School Project of the Year

Pupils and staff alike at Yearsley Grove Primary School have seized the challenge of the Tour de France and taken to two wheels in force. The school is nurturing the cycling stars of the future and giving pupils long term health benefits, and even teachers have got on the bandwagon, meaning the school has had to install a whole new bike rack to accmommodate the staff cycles.

At nearby New Earswick Primary School, pupils have picked up litter from the village green, and produced a DVD to show secondary school pupils what a mess they were making of the area.

At Haxby Road Academy, an innovative project to get pupils away from their computer games and into new activities has introduced children to everything from street dance to Spanish, music and sports.


Teacher of the Year

Assistant headteacher Tony Teasdale always has a smile on his face, and makes time for all his pupils at All Saints School. He has helped countless students.

Also retiring after long and successful careers are joint nominees Janet Taylor and Janet Pringle. The two women grew up together and later came to teach at Poppleton Ousebank Primary School together, where they were rocks of the school community.

At Burton Green Primary School, Christopher O'Malley inspires both his pupils and colleagues with constant positivity and enthusiasm, and is well-loved for his dramatic and entertaining story-telling.

St Aelred's Debbie Feehan is deputy head and a star of the school's music scene. Under her leadership, children have sung at the Barbican and Sheffield Arena.


Parent of the Year

Single mum Jade Ross supports her para-climbing star daughter Sianagh Gallagher, and is a brilliant and loving mum to her other children.

Great grandmother Celia Crampton is the heart of her extended family, and has devoted herself to caring for her mother, aunt, children and grandchildren, always welcoming people into her home and supporting them.

Parents Tony and Theresa Etheridge-Clarke lost their son Blaise to cancer on Boxing Day 2012. Devoted parents to their other children, Tony and Theresa have also raised money for a memorial playground at Blaise's former school and set up a support group for other bereaved parents.


Volunteer of the Year

Mother and daughters team Sarah, Jessica and Hannah Stone give hours of support to Brownies in York. Sarah also acts as a district commissioner, holiday advisor, and a mentor to new leaders.

Holgate woman Helen Hoult was already working hard with the Holgate Windmill Society when she stepped in to organise the under-threat West Bank Park Summer Fair. Teaching herself to organise a major event as she went, Helen made sure a vital fundraising opportunity for local charities survived and thrived.

Dan Shrimpton has been a part of Joseph Rowntree Theatre since he was a baby, and is now both Managing Director and Chairman of the Trustees. He is also an accomplished stage manager and tributes have poured in from the amateur groups who have benefited from his expertise.


Public Sector Hero

The Communities and Equalities Team at City of York Council are real heroes of the council's West Offices, often dropping everything to pitch in and help out at events and regularly working outside their normal office hours.

Lollipop lady Joyce Donkin has been a fixture of Fishergate Primary school for more than 30 years, and now sees her former pupils coming back to bring their own children to school.

Kathy Arthur, a teaching assistant at Canon Lee School actually retired from her role earlier this year but hasn't let that stop her, and is hailed as the pride of the school's community for her hard work on everything from helping students whose first language is not English, to drama productions.


Community Project of the Year

The Tour de Tang Hall was inspired by the Tour de France, but went far beyond a sporting celebration by bringing together families from across the community and helping to promote pride in the area.

In Copmanthorpe, Sprouts Community Garden gives the village everything from crop swaps to gardening sessions to craft workshops, and has has brought together age groups from across the community.

While in Acomb, the Lidgett Grove Community Cafe has set up in the Methodist Church. Growing out of a desire to fight loneliness in the area - and initially just a six week trial - the cafe gives people a place to meet regularly and make friends.


Charity Fundraiser of the Year

Eunice Cooper's breathtaking commitment to raising money for good causes started more than 40 years ago, and has seen her work for a hospice, hospital and church, among other organisations. Already given the Freedom of Haxby for her tireless work, Eunice is also a leading figure in her church in Haxby.

Phil Wiggins - Wiggo to his friends - set out on his "Wiggo 4000" challenge earlier this year to mark his 40th birthday and raise cash in memory of a close friend lost to Alzheimers. He's already smashed his £4,000 target and in one day cycled 100 miles in a loop around Cliffords Tower.

The Smiley Riley Fund was set up in memory of Riley Plant who died aged just 21 months old. His grandmother Simone Plant has raised more than £100,000 for the charity.

The four women who make up Charlie's Angels have been hard at work for the MS Society for more than 20 years. They too have raised more than £100,000, and the boss in York says she does not know how her branch would have managed without Diane Fairclough and her team.


Sporting Hero

The three finalists for Sporting Hero have all channelled their passion for sport into work to help others get involved. Carl Alsop of Huntington is a fan of the relatively new sport of VX and the driving force behind York's club as well as being a leading player himself.

Football refereeing can be a thankless task, but Ian 'Jock' Hotchkies has dedicated himself to it since the 1970s. A living example of "service before self", Jock has given many young footballers the platform to develop their skills and show off their talents.

Boxer Bartek Szymczyk has not let his cerebral palsy keep him away from the sport he has grown to love. A relatvie newcomer to boxing, he now throws his energy into helping other boxers and has started special boxing sessions for people with disabilities.


Spirit of Youth

Fourteen-year-old Cian Stancliffe's life is dogged by the little known condition of ME, which saps his energy. But Cian is an inspiration to those around him and refuses to let the condition hold him back, doing his own versions of school activities like a sponsored walk, to make sure he does not miss out.

Luke Farley, 18, is about to head off to university but unlike many other young people has dedicated himself to speaking up for youngsters who, like him, have spent time in care. He has represented looked after children regionally and nationally, and event helped develop a DVD on children's rights.

Tom Sutton from Bishopthorpe seems to do everything, At just 13 years old, Tom is a volunteer youth worker, bell ringer, charity fundraiser, and helps best friend Corey, who is disabled, by raising cash for a life-changing operation.

Nioni Faye Grant, 16, has spent much of 2014 in hospital battling leukaemia, but was determined not to let her illness keep her from her school prom, and made it there to celebrate with friends and schoolmates.


Health Service Hero

From a physiotherapist to a coronary care team to a volunteer dining companion, all three nominations have provoked greatful thanks from those around them

Physio Vicky Pursey helps people put their lives back together after life changing illnesses and accidents, and the support she offers goes far beyond her duty.

The Coronary Care Team at York Hospital stand out for the warmth, kindness and compassion they offer their patients, while Diana Thomson gives up her own free time to help people with dementia to eat in the specialist elderly care ward at York Hospital.


Person of the Year

The Person of the Year shortlist includes long-term fundraising hero Eunice Cooper, star parent Celia Crampton and cycling-mad charity supporter Phil Wiggins.

Also nominated is Johnny Hayes, the chairman of Bishopthorpe Road Traders Association. As the driving force behind the "I Love Bishy Rue" Tour de France street party, he has been hailed as a true ambassador for York.

Comments (3)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

1:52pm Fri 8 Aug 14

Phill wiggins says...

Wow. Can't believe I'm a finalist..in 2 categories! Brilliant! Humbled and proud.
Wow. Can't believe I'm a finalist..in 2 categories! Brilliant! Humbled and proud. Phill wiggins
  • Score: 1

3:03pm Fri 8 Aug 14

tinkerbell-1000 says...

Congratulations to everyone. But special congrats to Simone plant xx
Congratulations to everyone. But special congrats to Simone plant xx tinkerbell-1000
  • Score: 4

10:16pm Fri 8 Aug 14

pedalling paul says...

Yearsley Grove school are my champions........
Yearsley Grove school are my champions........ pedalling paul
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree