Pride in Peterborough Awards Part Two: Acts of bravery and support for community
Inspirational residents young and old were celebrated at the Pride in Peterborough 2019 awards on Monday night (9th December).
CARING NEIGHBOUR AWARD
Winners: Lesley and Michael Wright
Finalists: Peterborough Lithuanian Community
A couple who have lived in the same house for more than 30 years have had quite an impact on their neighbour of the last seven, who nominated the Wrights for this award.
The nominator wrote: “What makes my day and my children’s day is every morning Lesley waves us off. My daughters have certain needs and she is always there for them and also for me to talk to.
“When my daughter hurts herself, she doesn’t cry for me, but for Lesley, which shows the great bond they have.
“Michael is just as wonderful and always goes the extra mile for us. We don’t have to worry about anything, like bins being put out and the like. “We are truly lucky to have such lovely neighbours.
Lesley commented: “We are delighted to receive the award and it’s very nice to know that we have been appreciated.”
The role of the Peterborough Lithuanian Community group is to keep their culture alive, celebrate their independence and national days and integrate into the community...and it certainly does all of them!
For instance, last year, along with the Lithuanian Church, they organised a big litter pick in the side streets of the Millfield area of the city collecting 25 full bags along their route.
VOLUNTEER/VOLUNTEER GROUP OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by CityFibre, presented by Rebecca Stephens
Joint winners: Peterborough Lithuanian Community and Peterborough STEM Festival
Finalists: Mandy Thompson and Peterborough Gang Show
It was the second appearance of a representative of the Peterborough Lithuanian Community on the stage, this time as joint winner with the Peterborough STEM Festival.
The Lithuanian litter pick (see Caring Neighbour Award) is just one of the ways the Lithuanian community bonds their traditions with life in Peterborough.
In Lithuania, litter-picking is a regualr task taught in schools to encourage children to appreicate the environment around them.
The spokesman said: “We want to take the best of our country and its traditions and bring them to Peterborough. We think children are less likely to litter if they have picked up other people’s.
“We are involved in too many things to mention here. We want to give something back to the city in which we live and love.”
Volunteers run the Peterborough STEM Festival, which highlights careers and opportunities in science, technology, engineering and maths.
From attracting 350 visitors in its first year, the day-long STEM event recently witnessed more than 4,000 people going through the doors.
This year, the event was made more inclusive and accessible with the addition of a quiet room and opening early for an autism hour.
On top of the event, the festival and its volunteers raise sponsorship for things like bringing virtual reality workshops into schools and a host of fringe events such as a schools challenge day and a LEGO League expo.
A nominator said: “I have been to the festival two years running with my children aged five and three and we will return every year. It’s incredible.”
Another nomninator said: “The team work hard in making this an event suitable for all Peterborough families. We love living in the city and want to see today’s young people inspired and encouraged to be tomorrow’s talent. That’s what the festival does.”
A festival spokesman said: “We all have experience in these fields and want to show children all the wonderful possibilities there are when they leave school.”
FAMILY OF THE YEAR
Winners: Debbie and Helen Clarke
Finalists: Amber and Marco Izzo
A formidable mother and daughter charity fundraising team, Debbie (57) and pregnant Helen (29) from Dogsthorpe have raised more than £21,000 for the East Anglian Air Ambulance.
The committed couple organise charity stalls at various events. They go to car boot sales and set up online sales of unwanted items donated by family and friends. They have completed various charity fun runs and organised a music-led picnic in the park and darts nights at their local pub and show no signs of slowing down.
Debbie said: “We had no idea we had raised so much money over the years, we just enjoy supporting the charity, meeting new people and knowing the money is going to a worthy cause; helping to save lives.”
Newly-weds Amber and Marco Izzo have faced their IVF journey with incredible bravery, vocalising and publicising – through the PT – their plight and giving a voice to the wider issues of the current situation in Greater Peterborough. The pair not only supported each other, but many other couples across the city who have heard about their journey.As the couple approached the stage to collect their certificate, there was a spontaneous outbreak of applause and cheering.
Sponsored by: Cross Keys Homes, presented by Lynda Murawaski
Winner: Mel Robinson
Finalists: Ruth Brinkler Long, Richard Ferris and Rukhsana Kauser
Winner Mel Robinson has turned the cafe at Paston Farm Community Foundation form an empty space into a bustling, vibrant community hub.
After receiving the award, she said: “This is not down to me, it’s down to everyone who is involved.
“The staff and volunteers make sure that everyone is welcome. We feel like a big happy family and we want to welcome everyone into it.”
After the initial focus on social isolation and food education, the cafe is now a place when the community comes together, from mums after picking up children from school to events like baby showers, christening celebrations, children’s birthday parties and weddings.
A nominator said: “People in the community bring their problems here, always safe in the knowledge they will have a warm welcome, a sympathetic ear and people who will try to work with them.”
Another commented: “Mel makes the best cakes, but is sweeter in nature than anything she bakes. People go in to eat and grab a cuppa and come out feeling they’ve had a visit to their favourite relative.”
Despite being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and having to retire early on medical grounds, Ruth Brinkler Long has worked tirelessly and selflessly as the chair person of the Parkinson’s UK Peterborough branch.
She writes and edits the newsletter, called Peterborough Shakers, organises sponsored walks, coffee mornings and other events to raise funds and regularly visits others living with Parkinson’s who need support.
Richard Ferris was for four years an energetic and influential councillor for Park Ward and has made a considerable contribution to the environment of the area.
Last year, he was appointed manager of the Allama Iqbal Centre in Cromwell Road and has made a significant impact on the running of the community centre, increasing participation by the community in the activites and events held there.
A committed environmentalist, he is also secretary of the Green Backyard venture.
The other finalist was Rukhsana Kauser, who has founded an online support group for Peterborough women, which aims to build confidence, sisterhood, empowerment and wellbeing.
The forum is also used as a platform for women to discuss isses, such as domestic violence and safety and it also endorses and promotes the influence of women, particularly in business.
OUTSTANDING ACT OF BRAVERY
Sponsored by Integral in partnership with Queensgate Shopping Centre, presented by Mark Broadhead
Winner: Martin Brunning
Finalists: Lee Rayment, PCs Harry Howe and Lewis Busby, Police Sgts Darren Gore and Carl Harris
Presented by Mark Broadhead
Inspirational Martin Brunning was unable to make the event, but still managed to strike a chord with everyone in the room.
The Whittlesey man has a blog about his terminal cancer, naming his tumour Cyril The A-hole, keeping followers across the world in fits of laughter and tears by sharing the events and emotions of his journey.
The 51-year-old was diagnosed with having the tumour – a type only five in 100,000 people have – earlier this year and decided to tell his story on Facebook.
He said: “I do it 50 per cent to help me cope with it and 50 per cent to help other people. I just want to help people in whatever way I can.”
He is now planning to turn the blog into a book and has signed up to take part in a new medical research project looking into his condition.
Finalist Lee Rayment has demonstrated outstanding courage on two occasions.
The first was when he performed life-saving CPR on a man having a cardiac arrest during a Posh match while everyone else was frozen with shock.
The second was when a Lithuanian man was hit by a car while crossing the road, resulting in the windscreen being impaled around his body.
Lee stopped his car and was the only person to attend the incident and keep the man alive before the emergency services arrived. Lee also demonstrates another type of courage through his work to promote the UK’s charity sector through the website Charity Today and establishing a small team from various ethnic backgrounds to found the national charity campaign, UK Charity Week.
Four police officers were also finalists.
Constables Harry Howe and Lewis Busby were nominated for going above and beyond their duty by saving a man’s life by holding onto his arms from the top of a multi-storey car par in Peterborough on New Year’s Eve, 2018.
Sergeants Darren Gore and Carl Harri showed the same heroic attitude and action by saving a woman who was threatening to drown herself in a lake in Peterborough.
SENIOR CITIZEN OF THE YEAR
Winner: Tommy Robson
Finalist: Mick Russell
Posh legend Tommy Robson was the popular winner of the award and was probably the most-photographer person at the event! This year the 75-year-old, whose 559 appearances for the club is a record, was diagnosed with Motor Neuromne Disease, but is determined to make the most of his remaining years.
The genial Geordie said: “There is no cure and there isn’t really any treatment apart from the tablets, so I am waiting to hear how long I have left.
“I still go to Posh games home and away – I sometime wish I didn’t! – and greet people in the hospitality area at home games. We want to make the hospitality second to none.
“Whatever they say, I will be down at the football club for as long as possible. It’s a special club and this is a special city.
“In a way, it is harder for the families of sufferers than the sufferer themselves, so I’m hoping to raise many to make things easier for (wife) Helen in particular.”
Finalist Mick Russell (84)is planning on completing two marathons and walking from Land’s End to John O’Groats via Britain’s tallest mountain, Ben Nevis, in the space of a year...before he gets too old!
Mick also helps keep the Ortons, where he lives, clear of litter and graffiti.