‘Exceptional champions’ were praised at the Community Champions of Weston Awards on Saturday.
Seven groups and individuals were commended for their hours of dedication to make Weston a better place.
The award, which is the brainchild of The Nightingale Group’s managing director Richard Nightingale, received dozens of nominations.
Richard said: “I have been so pleased to see, in this year’s round of Community Champions, recognition given to a number of new projects and groups, who involve large numbers of community spirited residents, all working tirelessly to help others.
“Only by working together can we address some of the issues which challenge our daily lives and I do hope this will grow in the future.
“Our winners are exceptional champions of the community and besides the groups there are many worthy individuals who deserve recognition.
“I only wish we could give an award to all our nominees, every year it gets more and more difficult to be able to make a choice and I thank the judges for giving up their time to be part of this challenging process.”
The following people were presented with awards for their work in the community:
Simon Angear presenting Debbie Apted with the Cleaner Coastlines’ Community Champions of Weston-super-Mare award. Picture: MARK ATHERTON
In 2017, the Mercury teamed up with North Somerset Council and Debbie Apted from the Chamber of Commerce to launch the Cleaner Coastlines campaign in a bid to secure the town plastic-free status from the Surfers Against Sewage.
After nine months of hard work, multiple beach cleans and several businesses throwing out three forms of single-use plastic, the town earned the status in August 2018.
Simon Angear, from Weston Hospicecare and formally the editor for the Mercury when the campaign was launched, presented a campaign award to Debbie Apted on behalf of the group.
He commended the hard work of everyone involved, including a five-year-old boy who, on the first beach clean of the campaign, stated he simply wanted to ‘save the world’.
Eleanor Young and Richard Nightingale presenting Penny Hynds, Liona Hurst, Barry Edwards and the team from Weston Night Assessment Centre with their Community Champion of Weston-super-Mare award. Picture: MARK ATHERTON
Weston Night Assessment Centre & Penny Hynds, Liona Hurst and Barry Edwards
In January last year, a photo of a homeless man on Weston seafront sparked a storm of calls for a night shelter in the town.
One year on and the Weston Night Assessment Centre was established, under the watchful eye of Somewhere To Go and a steering group, including key players’ Penny Hynds, Liona Hurst and Barry Edwards.
The centre has been full to capacity since its opening and has recently secured full planning permission to make the centre permanent.
Richard Nightingale presenting Maggie Williams with her Community Champion of Weston-super-Mare award. Picture: MARK ATHERTON
Maggie has been the driving force behind keeping Weston’s much-loved Clarence Park clean and tidy after forming the Clarence Park Friends group in 2017.
The local authority’s budget cuts had a detrimental impact on the park so it was down to Maggie to help make a difference.
Some years later and the park is back to its former glory, with regular litter picks.
Fiona Cope presenting Ann Bunn with her Community Champion of Weston-super-Mare award. Picture: MARK ATHERTON
Ann was nominated as a ‘deserving’ of a Community Champions award for her work with the Friends of Grove Park.
She was praised for her work with Heart Of Weston and Incredible Edible as community enhancement projects some two and a half years ago.
Johnny Boxall, who nominated her, said: “She makes for an excellent Community Champion and certainly is deserving of recognition of such.”
John Penrose MP presenting David Kingsbury with his Community Champion of Weston-super-Mare award. Picture: MARK ATHERTON
David has an interesting array of strings to his bow of community and charity work.
As a long-standing member of the Friends Of The Playhouse, a poster distributor for Weston Football Club and a bass singer from Worle Community Choir, he has gone on to raise thousands of pounds for The Playhouse, in High Street, and Weston Hospicecare.
Fiona Cope presenting Sayd Ahmed with his Community Champion of Weston-super-Mare award. Picture: MARK ATHERTON
Sayd has been doing community work since 1999.
He is involve with many charity and voluntary organisation and is chairman of North Somerset Bangladeshi Organisation and North Somerset BME Network.
He is also one of the founder of Feed the Homeless Weston.
In the past 20 years, he has helped many schools, individuals and charitable organisations by providing food, gift vouchers for raffles and cash donations.
He has also provide food for Feed The Homeless, Salvation Army, Somewhere To Go and Victoria’s Kitchen.
Eleanor Young presenting Graham Thomas with his Community Champion of Weston-super-Mare award. Picture: MARK ATHERTON
Graham was described as an ‘incredible man’ by his wife Louisa, who nominated him.
As someone who is a wheelchair-user, due to having spina bifda and a hydro celphus shunt, he doesn’t let anything hold him back.
He volunteers as a volunteer at the local Skate Club which is connected with Locking Castle Church and The Campus and has also volunteered and fundraised for the In2Biking Inclusive Cycling group.
Louisa said: “Graham proves to people that even though he is disabled, anything is truly possible when you try and he helps anyone he can, whether it is lending his time for the community projects or lending his car to help friends move house.
“Graham goes above and beyond to help friends, family and the community projects he is involved in.”