The heroes of our community have been honoured at our inspirational community awards.
Charities, fundraisers and community stalwarts were among those who were celebrated at our awards evening tonight (Tuesday, November 7) at The Capitol Theatre, Horsham, where the winners were chosen by our readers.
Inspirational tales were shared with the audience, with all of the nominees more than worthy of their place on the shortlist.
Sue Evans was chosen as the best volunteer for her work as a volunteer counsellor with St Catherine’s Hospice Patient and Family support team while Arundawn Dog Rescue won the care for animals award for its work providing rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming dogs.
Weald School teacher Paul Sweeney won the school star award for working tirelessly to ensure the wellbeing of all students and parents, and teenage table tennis player George Hazell won the good sport award after he represented England Schools in Malta and won bronze.
Other winners included Jonathan and Caroline Lucas who won the special recognition award for their fundraising efforts and support for St Catherine’s Hospice, and the hospice itself was crowned charity of the year for its work supporting those affected by terminal illness.
Auntie Val’s Kitchen, which works with disabled people to help them into employment, won the award for the best community organisation, while therapy technician Teresa Collins won the health hero award.
The best fundraiser award was presented to Lorna Cobbett who has tirelessly worked to raise money for Chestnut Tree House while also caring for her life-limited daughter Essie who sadly passed away in August.
Val and Andy Challis, who are the backbone of Auntie Val’s Kitchen, were given the local hero award while the friend to the environment award went to Carrie and her son Adam Cort who are passionate environmentalists with Carrie running Sussex Green Living and Adam inspiring other children with his greener living knowledge.
The public service award which celebrates the unsung heroes of our public services was won by curator at Horsham Museum Jeremy Knight whose commitment to the heritage and history of the town and district is clear.
The final award of the evening was the County Times award for special achievement whose winner is chosen by the team at the West Sussex County Times.
The winner was Sandy Duck, described as a force to be reckoned with, who is secretary for the Billingshurst Chamber of Commerce, runs and organised Billifest, played a huge role in organising the very successful BilliBiz Business Show and is a very proactive member of the Rotary Club.
She also organises the Youth Speaks and Youth Writes Competitions, helps organise the speakers for Rotary, is also a proactive member of the Billingshurst Church committee, treasurer for the local scouts and is also included in other community organisations in the area.