Pride in Peterborough Awards 2021. Young Hero Award winner Poppy Maxwell with sponsor Rachel Nicholls EMN-210712-235137009

Pride in Peterborough: Meet the local heroes you nominated - Part 1

This year’s Pride in Peterborough Awards saw many of the city’s local heroes nominated by Peterborough Telegraph readers recognised for their amazing work.

By Mark Edwards
Thursday, 9th December 2021, 12:35 pm

The ceremony took place at the Holiday Inn on Tuesday night (December 7) with people of all ages recognised for the amazing work they have done.

The annual Pride in Peterborough Awards celebrate the unsung heroes of the community – the people who are remarkable and brave but never expect anything in return. There are some truly amazing stories – all of our shortlisted finalists have achieved astonishing things.

PT Editor Mark Edwards saud: “This was a very special night and we were delighted to give some recognition to so many people who richly deserve it.”

Professor Ross Renton, Principal of ARU Peterborough, the headline sponsor of the awards, said: “It is a great privilege for us to support these awards. As a university, we are dedicated to recognising and inspiring exceptional achievements.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank all those dedicated people who have worked tirelessly during these challenging times and we are pleased to help honour their achievements at the Pride in Peterborough awards.

“We hope that with the launch of ARU Peterborough next year, we can help this community in our own way, by supporting people in the region to achieve a degree education and in turn provide employers with the talented graduates they need to grow their businesses.”

The Young Hero Award 
sponsored by Inspire 
Education Group

- WINNER - POPPY MAXWELL aged six who attends Yaxley Infants and has caught the running bug as she’s set to complete a 42km marathon after hearing about her favourite teacher’s Abbie Richards cancer diagnosis. Her previous past runs were around 100m doing “fun runs”. Only expecting to raise £100, Poppy has been inundated with support from her school and family and friends as her fundraising page has surpassed £1,700 and she still has under half of the distance to go. Proud dad, Gary Maxwell (34), said: “She’s been so positive and did once suggest going out at 2am although she settled for a 6:30am start! The school has been wonderful at supporting her and even bought her a teddy as a mascot, who she’s named Lottie.”

Poppy said: “I am really enjoying doing it and I’m glad I’ve raised so much money but I’d like to raise more.”

Other finalists were:

- ALFIE HARLEY. Alfie who attends Stanground Academy was only six-years-old when his dad, Jason passed away from cancer aged 42. Alfie decided to take on a gruelling challenge to raise money in honour of his Dad and has been doing an impressive 100 sit ups every day for a month. Unable to complete a single sit-up before the ‘sit up for cancer’ he is smashing 100 in one hit and going round businesses in Peterborough doing his sit ups outside them. Alfie hoped he would raise a few hundred pounds but instead raised more than £1,000 in only 11 days. .

- EVIE GRACE SEARLE: Evie is autistic and her condition requires routine repetition reassurance safety and comfort. Evie never lets her condition be an obstacle in her life and even though she has been through so much she gets through every challenge. Her nominator said: “ I am so proud - she is an amazing young lady and a real home hero to me and the family”

- FALAK SHEZADI: Falak, at the age of nine, gave up her entire pocket money collected over the course of the year to feed the homeless people in Peterborough. She gave £200 to feed 100 homeless people and teamed up with a charity to support this cause. Falak’s choice of meal for the homeless was a Sunday roast. Falak’s act of kindness was recognised by Peterborough MP Paul Bristow along with Julie Spence ( HM Lord-Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire).

Best Virtual Class

Sponsored by CityFibre

- WINNERS - DAVID LONG AND RUTH BRINKLER-LONG OF PARKINSONS UK PETERBOROUGH BRANCH. During lockdown David has been organising quiz nights via zoom to keep isolated members in contact with one another, as well as working full time. To date, David has organised 65 quizzes.

His wife Ruth has also been busy organising twice weekly fitness and pilates classes on zoom for their members.

For members unable to join zoom, Ruth produced a magazine to provide them with information. During the quieter time she also arranged for every one of the 200+ members to receive a postcard to let them know that they are valuable. For those able to access the internet, Ruth posted any relevant information on Peterborough Shakers Facebook page almost daily.

Her nominator said: “She is one in a million and also a Parkinson’s sufferer herself.”

Other finalists were:

- ANNABEL MURCOTT SCHOOLS OF TAE KWON DO. Annabel has kept many motivated and positive throughout the lockdown. She has kept herTae Kwon Do Club running despite the adversity of lockdown and has tirelessly delivered zoom classes on almost every day of the week to her 400-plus students as well as keeping the TKD community thriving. Not only has she delivered zoom classes but also delivered 1-1 sessions on driveways in gardens.

l Marshfields School: The school kept its pupils entertained during the lockdown with video lessons - and even a TikTok challenge. A series of educational videos on the school’s YouTube channel was complemented with teachers making Easter bonnets and revealing how lambs were getting on in the spring sunshine.

The full set of efforts has been shared in a video on the school’s YouTube channel.

Care Sector Hero Award


Their nominator said: “The whole care and support team have worked extremely hard throughout the pandemic showing passion and dedication to their work. They have not stopped through the pandemic and have worked under very difficult situations .

They have worked long hours and have worked together to ensure the safety of the individuals they support. As we know care and support staff are not the highest paid professions but that has never stopped them doing their best going above and beyond.”

- WENDY LAWRENCE During Covid Wendy put all her residents at the Cherry Blossom Care home first and made sure they were all in contact with their families.

Her nominator said: “She always made sure no one felt alone.” After putting her heart and soul into caring for others, she later found out she was suffering from stage 3 breast cancer. “Wendy is a fighter and she deserves recognition.”

Inspring Community 
Initiative sponsored by Cross Keys Homes

- WINNERS - Friendship Club Peterborough

Kerry Cooper started up this club on her own initiative. The club helps those who are feeling isolated and lonely in the Peterborough area. In December 2020 the swift action of Kerry prevented a suicide. The club is all inclusive, there are no barriers to age or ability. It also has an online book club which helps people with their mental health and connects communities to reach out to those who require reading material. It is run voluntarily and it’s a lifeline to many people.

Other finalists were:

- Graham Davies/G-Whizz Inclusive Tandem Bike Rides. Graham is described as “an inspirational individual who has managed to turn a period of such sadness into a much valued community initiative, with significant potential to enhance the lives, good health and well-being of so many people.”

G-Whizz Inclusive Tandem Bike Rides was established in memory of Graham’s best friend, Sharyn Rutterford. It offers a unique service - tandem cycling experiences to a range of cyclists who are unable to ride a two-wheeled bike on their own. Sharyn loved cycling but when she discovered a lump at the age of 46, that made sitting on a saddle just too uncomfortable, a diagnosis rapidly followed with the awful news that Sharyn had terminal cancer.

Determined to ride once more, Graham came across a Circe Morpheus tandem, which featured a bench seat, a semi-recumbent sitting position and an independent pedalling system which enabled them to enjoy three final rides. After the passing of Sharyn, Graham put the bike to good future use and the club was born.


Zillur Hussain is a long standing Peterborough entrepreneur, who opened his first restaurant, Royal Spice, 20 years ago. Zillur, 44, is a father of two and now owns Pearl Hotel and Tavan and a number of other businesses in the city.

All of Zillur’s charitable work has been under the banner of the Zi Foundation, the organisation he set up six years ago. As soon as the Covid 19 pandemic hit last year, the family-run charity delivered more than 500 meals and hand sanitizer to some of the most vulnerable people in the city.

Shocked by the amount of people in Peterborough that were in need of food support, he helped to rally many other local businesses to recognise the need and to make sure vulnerable people in the city were looked after.

In less than three months, he delivered 17,000 free meals across Peterborough, also producing other food packages and making sure those people had access to sanitising products. Since then, he has gone on to continue offering free meals to other vulnerable groups such as the homeless and has handed out more than 10,000 free facemasks across Peterborough and Huntingdon.

Last Mother’s Day he gave away 1,000 free meals to deserving mothers, nominated by their children.

Page 1 of 2