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Nottinghamshire County Council - Proud of our past, ambitious for our future

The Pride of Nottinghamshire

27 September 2012

Celebrating local heroes

Councillor Carol Pepper welcomed 69 members of the public to this year's Community Celebration event.

The guests were all nominated by Councillors or Council officers.

Everyone who has been invited make a positive difference in their local community in a variety of ways and includes volunteers, fundraisers and people who support the disabled, older people, children and victims of crime - all in their own time for no reward.

The event took place at County Hall, West Bridgford, Nottingham on Saturday 22 September 2012. The event included a garden party, entertainment and a tour of County Hall.

Councillor Carol Pepper, Chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council said, "Every community in Nottinghamshire has many fantastic people making an outstanding contribution to the life and wellbeing of the places where they live. Drawn from different backgrounds and walks of life, what binds these people together is their willingness to put the needs of others first.

"I am thrilled to be hosting the Community Celebration event which is intended to say a huge 'thank you' to these exemplary people and gives them some of the recognition they deserve for helping to make Nottinghamshire a great place to live."


Brenda Williams

Amongst the guests nominated from Newark and the surrounding area is Brenda Williams of Collingham.

Brenda is the 'driving force' behind the Collingham and District Care Group voluntary car scheme which provides transport for residents to access vital services such as medical appointments, day services and shopping. Many of the residents who benefit from the scheme are elderly, live in rural areas and have little personal contact with other people.

The scheme, which provides nearly 2,500 trips each year for 100 registered users with 18 volunteer drivers would not be able to operate without the unwavering and tireless organisation of Brenda.

Brian Dewing

Former Police Officer, Brian Dewing of Southwell has been nominated for his work as a Literacy Volunteer at Bishop Alexander School in Newark.
Brian helps children who are struggling with reading and communication and has provided support to around 40 children (7-11 year-olds) over the last eight years, including many who did not have English as their first language.

He is also an active fundraiser for national charity, Tools for Self Reliance, which raises money to buy tools for some of the poorest countries in the world, enabling them to become self-sufficient. Brian has organised a wide range of events to raise funds, including fireworks displays, quiz nights, race nights and a forthcoming Swimathon at Southwell Leisure Centre on 13 October 2012.

John Geeson

John Geeson of North Muskham has been nominated for his tireless contribution to village life in his local community.
John organises an annual 5km and 10km fun run, summer fair and other events to raise funds for local facilities and led the committee which got a new Village Hall for North Muskham three years ago.

He is also a volunteer technician for Talking Newspapers, which produces audio news for the blind from its base at the Newark Advertiser.


Jacqueline O'Brien

Jacqueline O'Brien from Ruddington has been nominated by Trading Standards and is being thanked for her work in raising awareness about scams, particularly the miss-selling of mobility aids.

Jacqueline first became aware of the problem in 2010 when her dad was ripped off twice by the same mobility aids company. As well as giving evidence in the case which ultimately resulted in a jail term for the two men behind the company, Jacqueline has continued to regularly support Trading Standards in their efforts to raise awareness about the issue.


Jane Brown

Jane Brown from Jacksdale has become an inspiration to fellow stroke survivors since suffering a stroke herself two years ago, which initially left her with speech difficulties.

However, she has overcome her own problems and now works as a volunteer for the Stroke Association throughout the Ashfield area, organising activities, fundraising and supporting stroke survivors and their families.

In the last few months, Jane has been giving other volunteers and healthcare professionals a unique perspective on techniques and approaches for working with people with communication difficulties. Through this work, Jane is using her own experiences to shape future care and support for other stroke survivors.

Stewart Craven

Stewart Craven of Beeston is passionate about the preservation of the area's canal heritage and is working tirelessly on a project to convert the dilapidated former workers cottagers at Beeston weir into a heritage centre.

Stewart, who has lived in a narrow boat on the canal for the last ten years, leads of team of volunteers and professionals on the scheme which has already attracted County Council funding through the Local Improvement Scheme and stage one Heritage Lottery Funding.

His vision is for the 18th century buildings to be brought back into use as a heritage centre, meeting place, community cafe and cycle hire shop - creating a fantastic community asset and breathing life back into the canal. He is waiting on a decision by the Heritage Lottery Fund for the final piece of funding which would see his dream become reality.

Maria Kirk

Maria Kirk of Eastwood is being thanked for an incredible 40 years raising funds for the Royal British Legion.

Starting in 1972, it is thought that Maria has raised tens of thousands of pounds over the years in support of armed forces veterans. As well as being a regular poppy seller in Eastwood town centre, Maria has also made a special Poppy Necklace which was presented to Royal British Legion Patron, HM The Queen and has made and sold several specially commissioned poppies.

Maria was first inspired to support the Royal British legion by her father, a member of the Polish Free Army who was awarded the Polish Cross of Valour which is equivalent to the Victoria Cross.

Mansfield and Ashfield

Kamala Joashi

Mrs Kamala Joashi from Mansfield has been instrumental in promoting race relations and community cohesion since first moving to Nottinghamshire in the 1950s to pursue a career in nursing. She has been actively involved in a number of organisations including the national Commonwealth Citizens Consultative Committee and the Asian Independent Services Association.

Locally, Mrs Joashi helped to set up the Asian Women's Group, organising numerous activities for more than 40 women, many of whom had been living in isolation.

She also helped to establish a weekly luncheon club at the Quaker Meeting House off Rosemary Street, an opportunity for people of all cultures to come together to enjoy Indian food. She has frequently asked as an interpreter for people from the Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities to support them when accessing local services.

Marlene Hardy

Marlene Hardy of Mansfield has been nominated to attend the event in recognition of more than 20 years devoting her time to provide activities for local children.
Marlene has worked as a helper and a Leader to local Brownies groups at Bellamy Road and St Lawrence's in Mansfield since the late 1980s. In that time she has also helped to organise and run holiday play schemes for hundreds of local children, initially as a volunteer and then as a Resource Worker for the Mansfield Play Forum.

Although she has had to take a back seat role since suffering a serious illness in 2010, Marlene is still involved with brownies and helps out when required. She is also a volunteer at the St Lawrence's Church coffee shop and Safer Neighbourhood Committee.

Les and Julia Sissons

For seven years, Les and Julia Sissons of Worksop have offered up their home and their time to provide respite care for people with learning difficulties, through Nottinghamshire County Council's Shared Lives Scheme.

Scores of families benefitted from a break from looking after a loved one thanks to Les and Julia's generosity. Sometimes this could include them taking emergency placements at a moment's notice. Although they have recently retired from providing care, Les and Julia still remain actively involved in the scheme, editing the newsletter, encouraging and passing on their wealth of knowledge to others and sitting on the panel for approving and reviewing new and existing carers.

Sharron Quinn

Sharron Quinn from Kirkby-in-Ashfield has worked with scores of unemployed people in Ashfield and Mansfield in her role as a volunteer at the Kirkby-in-Ashfield and Mansfield Work Clubs.

Sharron began helping out as a volunteer after originally going to the club more than a year ago after being made redundant. Since then Sharron has fond work but was laid off for a second time in February.

Despite this double personal setback, Sharron has continued to volunteer at the Kirkby-in-Ashfield work club and more recently at the new club in Mansfield. 

Sharron helps work club members compile CVs, carry out job searches and learn interview techniques - sharing her own experience as a job seeker. Many of the people Sharron has supported have gone on into employment.

Pam Terry

Pam Terry of Hucknall helped set up the Special Friends Club for people with learning difficulties ten years ago. Working with young people with a range of disabilities, including autism, ADHD and Aspergers Syndrome, the aim of the club is to give participants valuable social skills which encourage them to live independently, whilst also providing some respite for their parents or carers.

The group currently attracts 14 people from all over the county, providing activities such as trips to the cinema, bowling and seaside. Two members who joined the group as teenagers still attend, even though they are now in their 30s.

Martin Fisher

Martin Fisher from Hucknall is also a volunteer at his local work club. He has been supporting the Hucknall Work Club since its launch in October 2011, helping work club members to compile CVs, carry out job searches and learn interview techniques.

Martin originally joined the club as a volunteer to support a research project he was doing as part of  Degree Course. He has subsequently qualified with a First Class Honours Degree and is now in employment. Despite this, he has stayed on at the work club, using the flexible hours of his job to continue volunteering.

See more photos from this event on Flickr.

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