Ashfield’s brighest, best and most committed have been honoured for their efforts with a special awards ceremony.
The Ashfield Community Awards, celebrated those volunteers, sportspeople, organisations and people who make the district shine.
The awards, hosted by paralympic hero Ollie Hynd at the Ashfield School, were sponsored by Ashfield District Council and your Chad and showcased categories such as the sportsperson of the year, ‘Change 4 Life’, volunteer of the year and disability champion.
With more than a dozen awards on offer, the ceremony celebrated the best the district has to offer and recognised people for their efforts in promoting the district as a shining example to the rest of the country.
The ceremony also saw a shining performance from the Ashfield School’s performing arts group, which showcased songs from The Greatest Showman and wowed those in attendance.
Junior Sportsperson of the Year - Joshua Walker.
Joshua is a 2nd degree black belt with a record of outstanding achievement at national and international level.
Now aged 17, Joshua has competed in competitions in Poland and Holland, winning 10 gold, five silver and 15 bronze medals along with his EU Title in the last year.
He said: “It means a lot to win the award, I’ve been working and training really hard for it every day.
“To get the award shows that it pays off working hard.
“I think I won this award last year and every time I win something like this it means the absolute world to me.”
Junior Disabled Sportsperson - Meg McFarlane.
Aged just 15, Meg was born with Downs Syndrome and, after multiple operations under the age of two, health professionals were doubtful about Meg’s chances. However Meg had other ideas.
Taking up ice skating when she was six, Meg has gone on to be an Olympian, becoming the youngest member of Team GB’s team at the Special Winter Olympics in Australia when she was 13 years old.
In April 2018 Meg won Silver at the British National Championships and has competed at a special event in Lammas Leisure Centre, Sutton, finishing first and second in two competitions.
She was unable to collect her award but was described as “truly dedicated”, training four mornings a week before school and one evening with her skating club.
Rebecca Philips, from Everyone Active, accepted the award on her behalf.
Primary School Change 4 Life - Croft Primary School.
The school’s main aim is to create a lasting sporting legacy for their pupils, and 2018 was another remarkably successful year for them.
Topping the Ashfield Participation table for the second consecutive year, the school also secured the School Games Gold Mark Award in 2018 for the third consecutive year.
Twenty children from vulnerable families also took part in a twelve week Change 4 Life programme, giving both the children and parents information on maintaining a healthy lifestyle through food and exercise.
Thomas Moore, a pupil at the school, said: “This is a celebration because we have been trying to integrate participation in school for the last few years.
“It’s coming through a lot now with the years five and sixes.”
Change 4 Life - Carol Bostock.
Carol started to feel depressed after two bereavements in 2017, however she decided to turn her life around.
To try and feel better, she decided to start going to the gym, where she tracked her progress by seeing how many flights of stairs she could do.
This motivated her because she saw improvements straight away, and is now having personal training and has lost a massive five stone - taking part in badminton classes four times a week.
She said: “It’s quite a surprise and I’m really elated actually.
“When I got the invitation to come I was on cloud nine and I certainly am now.
“I’ve just booked another ten hours of personal training, I’m playing badminton at a greater level and I’ve gained confidence as well as fitness.”
Workplace Health - Ashfield District Council.
Ashfield District Council has made workplace health a priority, working to reduce workplace sickness, put on exercise classes for employees, promoting health screenings and introducing the Camaraderie Cup - a lighthearted way for employees to compete against each other.
It has also made it easier for employees to get holistic support and reduce workplace stress.
Diane Holmes, health and wellbeing officer at the council, said: “It’s really nice to be recognised for the work we have done as a council.
“My work is coordinating the programme and spreading it out district-wide.
“It’s good to promote the work we’ve done with businesses locally to show what they can do as well.”
Disability Champion - Pete Edwards.
Pete has ensured disabled people have the opportunities to take part in sport and physical activity.
He is influential in the Mansfield Maulers wheelchair basketball club, who train at Lammas Leisure Centre, and has supported the Midland Games at Ashfield School for people with learning disabilities.
He said: “I’m gobsmacked, it’s a privilege to be recognised as you do stuff just because that’s what your passion is about.
“I’m not giving up yet, I just keep going and going.”
Health Champion - Keith Wallace.
Keith has set up a ‘walking for health’ initiative, which has about 200 members.
He is passionate about walking and spends many hours planning and delivering many walks.
The groups have helped people become more confident and independent while reducing social isolation.
He said: “It’s quite humbling because, having heard what the other candidates had achieved, I assumed I would be getting the certificate.
“It means quite a lot, it’s nice to get a thank you for the work that you do - an award says I am on the right track and doing something useful.”
Performing Arts - Zara Best.
Zara has been performing since she was four, and having originally trained in Ashfield is now represented by Mondi Associates in London.
She has had a lead roll in short film God Bless, Goodbye, and will be appearing as a ‘Kreepa’ in upcoming TV series ‘The Case Files’.
She is also a model student at school and in her kickboxing classes.
She said: “It means a lot to say I’ve tried my hardest since I was four, being in shows and going to kickboxing, drama and clubs every day.
“To say I was just on stage doing it for enjoyment, to be going into films is mad.”
Community Volunteer (Individual) - Roy Harrison.
Roy, aged 76, is a proud member of the Royal Green Jackets and has been influential in organising Sutton’s remembrance parade for many years.
Last year was significant for Roy, with the centenary commemoration marking a big step for the parade.
Despite ill health, Roy threw himself into the parade, arranging activities in schools, museum trips and helped to organise getting the town decorated with poppies.
He has stepped down from the parade and has made sure it is in great hands.
He said: “I’ve enjoyed every minute of it, and this award means a lot because we’ve saved a parade which was falling through.
“We’ve built it up to 3,000 people, got everyone involved and have that many people that we don’t have the time to see everyone.
“It’s important to bring the children up to carry this on because they’re our future.”
Community Volunteer (Group) - All Saints Church in Annesley.
Volunteers formed the group to work hard for the community, running events for all ages and genders.
They run trips and a party during the summer with entertainers and fun, which also ran at Christmas, and they interact with schools to get them involved with the church.
It is a non-profit group, with all work done voluntarily.
They also raise money for charities and supported the centenary commemorations for 2018.
Rosemary Shatliff, church volunteer, said: “Winning the award is marvellous, I sat there thinking ‘it won’t be us’.
“It means loads because we do such a lot, not just for what they’ve said today but we do a lot of fundraising for charities.
“This is for everybody.”
Ashfield Citizen of the Year - Liz Barrett.
Liz worked in education for 16 years, transforming lives for people with learning difficulties and disabilities.
She is also committed to voluntary work right across Ashfield, including with the Huthwaite Involving Patients Group, Nottinghamshire Homeless Eyecare, ‘Lets All Eat in Sutton’, Sutton Youth Radio, and her local rotary club.
She is the chair of governors at Sutton Community Academy and is a qualified foster carer for traumatised and special needs children.
She said: “I feel quite shaky inside because there’s so many wonderful people up for this award.
“Four rewards would have been a good way forward!
“It’s really special because it’s a community I love and to be recognised for my work with them means a lot.”
Lifetime Achievement - Enid Bakewell.
Enid, 78, was an impressive cricketer and went on to play for England in 12 tests between 1968 and 1979, as well as 23 one-day internationals, and played in the first televised women’s match against Australia in 1976.
She won the inaugral Women’s World Cup in 1973, and even played for the East Midlands when she was 50.
She was selected as one of the five greatest female players of all time and has been inducted into the Cricket Hall of Fame.
She is also an MBE, and is a supporter of the This Girl Can campaign - fighting to get a picture of a woman at Trent Bridge Cricket Ground.
She currently trains youngsters at Kirkby Portland Cricket Club.
She said: “It’s amazing because I didn’t expect it for one minute.
“The arm is getting lower and lower but I’m determined to play until I’m 80 - if I can do it until then I’ll be proud.”
Farr Besquet Fund
There was also a special award given out, the Harold Farr Besquet Fund, which provides financial assistance to people under the age of 25, residing in Ashfield, to aid them in sporting or cultural activities.
The finalists, who were awarded a £500 cheque, were:
Felicia Miloro - (represented by her mum Tracey Miloro)