High Sheriff of West Sussex reveals winners of his Special Recognition Award

The High Sheriff of West Sussex, Dr Tim Fooks, launched his unique Special Recognition Award in the summer, in partnership with Sussex Newspapers, to recognise individual volunteers who have given exceptional service for others during the Covid-19 crisis and beyond.

Monday, 26th October 2020, 4:30 pm

It is with great pleasure that he is today able to announce the 110 winners of the High Sheriff of West Sussex Special Recognition Award, which was established to acknowledge and thank individual volunteers who have worked so hard to meet the needs of those around them.

Dr Fooks said: “The award winners have been nominated from across the whole of West Sussex and from a wonderfully diverse range of our communities. However, each of them is united by the amazing service they have given to those who have been affected by the challenges of Covid.

“Although time has prevented me from meeting every recipient, with the help of their nominators, I have been delighted to present, in person, an award certificate to 21 of the winners in the past week.

Graham Rapley, Paula Cooper and Vicky Allen helped the community in Rudgwick
Graham Rapley, Paula Cooper and Vicky Allen helped the community in Rudgwick

“To do this, I have travelled to every corner of our beautiful county, from Bosham to East Grinstead and from Rudgwick to Shoreham.

“Some have been greatly surprised to find a High Sheriff in full court dress coming to pay his respects, acknowledge their achievement and thank them all that they have done, but they have been very happy, albeit humbling, occasions.

“Although all the recipients I have met have told me they did not deserve an award, they have invariably gone on to speak with great passion and commitment about the task they have felt called to do. As champions of those they support, their personal inconvenience is rarely a concern and they have all wanted to praise their fellow volunteers, their families and their friends, for making it possible for their work to be done.

“This award has therefore demonstrated afresh the outstanding contribution volunteers make throughout our county. They are literally a powerful and priceless force for good in our midst.

Caitlin Baker, helpline support worker at My Sister’s House in Bognor Regis

“And their altruism brings great benefit, not just to those who receive their care and support but to all those who work with them as well. Volunteering is good for the volunteer too.

“I am delighted, therefore, to be able to use this award to thank wholeheartedly, and in public, each of these very special people for all that they have done during this particularly difficult year, and I am deeply grateful to all those who have brought them to my attention through their nomination.

“In addition, I would like to also acknowledge all those who have been volunteering their time and skills to serve others but have been missed by this particular award process. In my capacity as High Sheriff, may I use this opportunity to thank you also. We are all equally indebted to you too.

“We still have some way to go with Covid but, despite all the trouble and challenge the pandemic continues to cause, it has been greatly encouraging and heart-warming to celebrate in West Sussex so many people who have chosen to care for others. They have proved themselves to be inspirational leaders of compassion and kindness who we would all do well to follow.”

Therese Brook from Middleton-on-Sea has been an inspirational leader in her work with the Rotary club

Vicky Allen from Rudgwick was nominated by her church and parish council because of her selfless work in helping others.

Dr Fooks told her: “Your work in organising the foodbank during the lockdown period and delivering face masks to vulnerable people was greatly appreciated.”

Caitlin Baker from Bognor Regis is a helpline support worker at My Sister’s House and her efforts have been greatly appreciated.

Dr Fooks said: “In particular, your work with the foodbank and as an LGBT+ ambassador have made a great difference to many people. You are truly one in a million.”

Jessica Brown-Fuller and Katy Tytler set up Midhurst Angels

Therese Brook from Middleton-on-Sea is well known through her work with the Rotary Club as an inspirational leader in voluntary work, particularly at Christmas time. During the pandemic, she has become busier than ever, ensuring the vulnerable received food parcels and those in financial need could be given practical support.

Dr Fooks said: “Your problem-solving skills are outstanding, as is your energy, enthusiam and desire to help others and make a difference.”

Jessica Brown-Fuller and Katy Tytler established the Midhurst Angels, a team of 200 volunteers who delivered shopping and prescriptions to the vulnerable and socially isolated and befriended them. In four months, the Angels dealt with more than 1,000 calls.

Dr Fooks told them: “Although you were supported by a great team, your organisation, leadership and selfless dedication to the needs of others has been inspirational.”

Redwan Chowdhury ran the Covid-19 Mutual Aid group for Haywards Heath, Lindfield and Cuckfield during lockdown, and introduced his local mosque to the voluntary action group to help fundraise for those facing great difficulty.

Dr Fooks said: “Your leadership during these difficult times has been inspirational and greatly appreciated.”

Redwan Chowdhury ran the Covid-19 Mutual Aid group for Haywards Heath, Lindfield and Cuckfield during lockdown

Paula Cooper from Billingshurst and Ariane Knight from Rudgwick selflessly worked to help others over the past six months, during the pandemic. In particular, the Rudgwick Covid-19 Community Group, which they helped establish and co-ordinate, provided shopping, delivered medicines and kept in touch with people to prevent loneliness.

Dr Fooks told them both: “Many vulnerable people have been helped through your initiatives and dedication to the care of others.”

Throughout lockdown, Joe Dines ensured Giving Back Crawley continued to provide meals to rough sleepers and the hidden homeless in halls in Ifield and Broadfield. More than 36,000 meals were served to more than 80 guests a night.

Dr Fooks said: “Even now, despite your own busy family commitments, you are working with the council to support these vulnerable people.”

Fynn Dodd from Southwater, youth president of Allsorts Youth Project, has been exceptional in their support for colleagues during lockdown.

Dr Fooks said: “You have co-facilitated training for parents and professionals on issues to do with autism spectrum disorder and LGBT+ identities and have used your skills as an artist to raise money for Allsorts. Your dedication continues to be an inspiration.”

The beautiful village of Bosham became a meeting place for many young people in the fine weather during lockdown. The detritus from their gatherings needed to be collected daily to keep the village safe for residents. Jonathan Fulford’s selfless actions to clear up this rubbish at 4am every day was a ‘remarkable act of altruism for which many in the community remain deeply appreciative and grateful’.

During the lockdown period, Frank Gray from Shoreham immediately recognised the additional needs of the vulnerable people known to Victim Support West Sussex and phoned all his service users weekly to reassure them and offer practical support. He also gave similar help to some of the clients of Time to Talk Befriending.

Dr Fooks said: “They have all been deeply appreciative and grateful for your compassion and care.”

Gemma Hawkins from Bognor Regis worked tirelessly to deliver fresh food to the vulnerable and isolated, clothing to families, and supported local craft groups.

Dr Fooks said: “Your concern for the environment is inspiring, as is your dedication to the welfare of others. As an outstanding member of your community, you are viewed as a beacon of hope and they are very grateful for all you have done and continue to do.”

Sharon Hewitt from Crawley turned her great craft-making skills to producing more than 500 masks and 2,000 ear-savers, which she donated to vulnerable members of the public, care homes, a local Covid testing centre, paramedics, Great Ormond Street Hospital and others.

Dr Fooks said: “Your selfless act of kindness has been inspirational and deeply appreciated by many people.”

Sarah Howland from East Grinstead unstintingly reached out to care for others during the lockdown and beyond. She set up a community fridge, produce stall and foodbank.

Dr Fooks said: “You have cooked, and often delivered, many meals for the most vulnerable and isolated and your kindess and selfless dedication to the needs of others has been greatly appreciated.”

Sue Kowszun established the West Chiltington and Nutbourne Action Group, which attracted more than 100 volunteers and helped 130 vulnerable and self-isolating people during lockdown. She also gave personal support and care to a couple ‘in a way that met their specific needs and made a tremendous difference to them’.

Dr Fooks said: “Your compassion, leadership and organisational skills have been greatly appreciated and admired and the village community is very grateful.”

Jo Clark from West Chiltington was also central to the establishment of the West Chiltington and Nutbourne Action Group, helping to deliver food and medicines, and even Easter cards, to all those who were shielding.

Dr Fooks said: “Your energy, enthusiasm, compassion and empathy for those in need has been inspirational and much appreciated by all.”

Khristina McCormack ensured Worthing Soup Kitchen, which she started in 2012, was able to provide a meal every day to 80 homeless people through lockdown while they were being accommodated in a Worthing hotel. She provided clothing and essentials to vulnerable families around the area.

Dr Fooks said: “Your selfless dedication to meeting the needs of those who are vulnerable in our society has inspired, and has been greatly appreciated by, the whole community.”

Graham Rapley was the driving force behind setting up and running Rudgwick Foodbank. He connected businesses with his local church and parish council to ensure food was made available consistently and reliably to individuals and families who were vulnerable, socially isolated or financially compromised.

Dr Fooks said: “Your selfless work to help others and serve your village has been greatly appreciated by your community.”

Harsha Sudra from Crawley was described as a ‘treasure’ for her kindness, care and commitment to the clients of Sussex Oakleaf who found the Covid-19 lockdown very challenging. Her work to stay in contact with them was greatly appreciated.

Through the work of Crafty Fingers, she created colourful face masks which would not alarm the elderly residents of a local nursing home and achieved all this despite Covid causing some of her own family to be unwell.

Patricia Wright from West Chiltington has been a volunteer at the Aldingbourne Trust for several years and her beautiful hand-painted cards have been sold to bring a great deal of benefit to the important work the charity does. During lockdown, she created a fundraising site to help the charity even more and this initiative raised £600.

Dr Fooks said: “Your kindness, care and commitment to the people that the charity supports is greatly appreciated by all at the Aldingbourne family.”

Full list of winners

Vicky Allen from Rudgwick, Dan Armstrong from Crawley, David Arseneault from Worthing, Lucy Ashton from Worthing, Caitlin Baker from Bognor Regis, Shilo Beare from Broadbridge Heath, Helen Bishop from Bognor Regis, Colette Blackburn from Shipley, Keith Blackman from Billingshurst, Helen Bradshaw from Littlehampton, Therese Brook from Middleton-on-Sea, Jessica Brown-Fuller from Midhurst, Jean Burden from Chichester, Imogen Burgess from Arundel, Lorna Byles from West Sussex, Jacqui Cavalier from Bognor Regis, Judie Chambers from Worthing, Redwan Chowdhury from Haywards Heath, Fiona Christer from Itchingfield, Dennis Church from East Preston, Jo Clark from West Chiltington, Jean Collyer from Chichester, Caroline Coomber from Haywards Heath, Hazel Cooper from Littlehampton, Paula Cooper from Billingshurst, Ella Cowgill from Worthing, Katherine Cripps from Worthing, Jackie Croswell from West Chiltington, David Croxon from West Chiltington, Danny Dawes from Bognor Regis, Rosie Denham from Lancing, Natalie Denning from Henfield, Jo Dickinson from Bognor Regis, Joe Dines from Crawley, Fynn Dodd from Southwater, Nick Draper from Chichester, Elayne Dunn from Itchingfield, Ann Edwards from Goring, Benjamin Fearnside from Lancing, Fergie Fergusson from Petworth, Samantha Ford from East Grinstead, Jonathan Fulford from Bosham, Peter Galloway from East Preston, David Gander from East Preston, Cllr Patricia Gander from East Preston, Frank Gray from Shoreham, Jane Green from Copthorne, Philippa Greenan from Arundel, Gemma Hawkins from Bognor Regis, Prue Heron from Hurstpierpoint, Sharon Hewitt from Crawley, Richard Hitchcock from Storrington, Jill Hitchcock from Storrington, Guy Hodder from Bognor Regis, Wendy Hodder from Bognor Regis, Dr Andrew Hopkirk from Midhurst, Angela Horn from Bognor Regis, Sarah Howland from East Grinstead, Hugh Hubbard from Pulborough, Gary James from Bognor Regis, Kieran James from Burgess Hill, Veronica James from Bognor Regis, Kerry Joyce from Worthing, Ariane Knight from Rudgwick, Sue Kowszun from West Chiltington, Alison Leitch from Hassocks, Oliver Lewis from Bognor Regis, Christine Lindsay from Pulborough, Khristina McCormack from Worthing, Lucinda Meagher from Cuckfield, Brian Moffat from East Preston, Liz Moffat from East Preston, Joy Munro from East Grinstead, Pia Offord from Worthing, Shaun Oliver from Lancing, Karen Ott from Itchingfield, Melody Pryce from Worthing, Graham Rapley from Rudgwick, Dr Sarah Renfrey from Rustington, Mandy Riley from Bognor Regis, Katy Robinson from Worthing, Francesca Sacco-Jimpson from Worthing, Robert Savage from Storrington, Clare Seaby from Arundel, Colin Searle from Arundel, Gloria Shingler from Chichester, Roslyn Sims from Chichester, Zoie Slayford, Elizabeth Smillie from Lodsworth, Karen Smith from Thakeham, Steve Smith from Shoreham, Digby Stephenson from Henfield, Barbara Stubbings from Burgess Hill, Harsha Sudra from Crawley, Emma Taylor from Worthing, Iain Tindall from Southwick, Katie Tytler from Midhurst, Joanna Tuck from Worthing, Mark Upton from Pulborough, Keith Vickers from Shoreham, Alison Walden from Chichester, Claire Walters from Westergate, Jennifer Watson from Emsworth, Annie Webb from Worthing, Hedda Wells from Barnham, Tracey Williams from Crawley, Sarah Wood from Bognor Regis, Patricia Wright from West Chiltington, Jolene Yule from Littlehampton.

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Joe Dines ensured Giving Back Crawley continued to provide meals to rough sleepers and the hidden homeless halls in Ifield and Broadfield
Fynn Dodd from Southwater, youth president of Allsorts Youth Project
Jonathan Fulford set out at 4am every day to clear up rubbish left at Bosham Quay
Frank Gray from Victim Support West Sussex
Gemma Hawkins from Bognor Regis
Sharon Hewitt from Crawley turned her great craft-making skills to producing masks and ear-savers
The High Sheriff of West Sussex presents his award to Sarah Howland, watched by East Grinstead mayor John Dabell
Sue Kowszun and Jo Clark from the West Chiltington and Nutbourne Action Group
Khristina McCormack, who founded Worthing Soup Kitchen, with friend Heather
Harsha Sudra from Crawley was described as a ‘treasure’ for her kindness, care and commitment to the clients of Sussex Oakleaf
Patricia Wright from West Chiltington has been a volunteer at the Aldingbourne Trust for several years and raised money for the charity during lockdown