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28 Oct 2020
To celebrate our 40th Anniversary, we asked you to nominate your Community Heroes, to allow us to reward them for their selfless work in the community. We got hundreds of nominations and, from a shortlist, the people below were voted your local Community Heroes. Each winner will get a £75 Love2Shop voucher and now we want you to vote for who you think deserves to be named Stagecoach National Community Hero.
You can vote for them using the form at the bottom of the page and here's a little bit about each of them so you can make sure you know who you're voting for.
Michael Sutton is a red rose lad being born, raised, and currently living in Lancashire. A retired IT and biology teacher, he keeps himself active by involving himself in many worthwhile community projects. Michael serves on the Board of Directors of the East Lancashire Social Inclusion Club (ELSI) where those with mental and/or physical disabilities can meet up in a safe environment to truly enjoy themselves. He also volunteers as a weekly art teacher, participates in frequent community clean up schemes, as well as marshalling local and county bike races.
Furthermore, Michael is an animal advocate fostering and caring for the forgotten, injured, and unwanted animals in his area before finding them "furever" homes. But foremost, Michael is a devoted son and brother who also sees to the welfare of his elderly mother and autistic brother on a daily basis.
Erica Parkinson is 7 years old and loves unicorns, taking part in natural beauty pageants, anything pink and sparkly as well as playing rugby league. However, Erica’s favourite thing to do is raise money for charity and help the community. Erica lives in Wigan and helps the community by doing litter picks and cleaning up local beauty spots, organising fun runs to raise money for local charities and doing little things such as giving out sweets to local children during lockdown and donating food items to local food banks/NHS Staff.
Michelle Stammers, known to most as Shelly, has created an amazing community exercise movement called "Tri-Hards". What started as a way to encourage women to exercise and create friendships, the Tri-Hards now welcome everyone who wants to take part. They're a close-knit community in Exmouth and her movement is noticeably having an impact. They're visible throughout the town in their brightly coloured training tops, all shapes and sizes, young and old and totally non judgemental. Shelly's message is always the same, "I'm on a mission to get as many people as possible building friendships through outdoor exercise!"
Hayley Downs, Clare Lawrence and Barbara Ackley have expected to raise around £100 from selling their handmade face masks but since they started, they've sold over 2,000 masks, raising over £5,000 for NHS Donations. The Old Glossop crafters Hayley and Clare cut the material into shapes and Barbara sews them into face masks. Operating under their slogan ‘Teamwork is Dreamwork,’ they set up a stall outside the Lodge in Bute Street, close to where they all live and have been there every day selling the cloth masks.
Priscila Currie is a Fast Response Paramedic with the London Ambulance Service. During the pandemic's worst times, she was on the front line and doing her best to save lives. She helped her elderly neighbours by doing their shopping and keeping them safe. Priscila also teaches First Aid through her company “Yay First Aid” where she not only teaches amazing life saving techniques to members of the public but also helps charities. She is not only an NHS hero but she is a kind and generous person who is always available to help and educate others on health tips.
Rose Duncan came out of retirement in March 2019 and is employed as the Centre Manager of the Collydean Community Centre. Since taking over Rose greatly increased the capacity of the Centre and developed many new activities. With the onset of the Coronavirus Pandemic, Rose and her Staff were one of the first organisations to adapt and continue with operations to keep providing much needed services to the people of Collydean and North Glenrothes. These services included Emergency Food Provision, Community Larder provision, Befriending Services, Digital Connectivity, Andy's Man Club, Outdoor Activities such as Bike Hire, Gardening and Keep Fit Activities.
Liz Leaman has used her time since being furloughed to help key workers in her community. Along with other women of her parish, she has made face masks, headbands and washbags to help protect key workers. She has also sold face masks to raise money for The Foodbank Weston Favell and the Royal British Legion, the latter will use the donation to buy equipment for wounded service personnel for their rehabilitation. There have been coffee mornings (socially distanced), sales and more face masks created for Remembrance. Liz will be going back to work in November but her community is thankful for everything she's done.
Bob Norbury is the choir master of the Spotty Dog choir and has been the driving force behind the choir, raising a great deal of funds for Help for Heroes and the British Legion Poppy Appeal. That doesn’t begin to tell even part of his story. Over the years he has raised more than £93,000 by various means .. to say nothing of the great many acts of kindness and generosity by the way he lives his life .Tragically, approximately two years ago an accident led him to lose his leg and suffer appalling injuries to his other leg . Most people would have caved in with the intense pain, stress and shock. Not Bob, he’s back again trying to raise money for the Wiltshire Air Ambulance, instrumental in saving his life.
Trevor May helps to run the Aston project, organised by the local police, helping local children in the community. The children work towards a reward system - the more things they do for the local community, the more points they get. Everyone knows points mean prizes and the children can save their points to get a day out. It's about giving local children something positive and Trevor is a vital part of the project.
In Martin MacDougall's own words " I really enjoyed making the children of Inverness & surrounding areas happy by gifting them with books & crafts at a time that the world was hard for not only us grown ups but the children. I work hard daily to keep our town of Inverness clean for the locals & tourists & it was with my holiday funds i was able to gift so many children. I love to see children happy with a big smile so doing this made sense to me .I want to thank each & everyone who voted for me it truly has made me so happy and emotional right now."
In Elizabeth McDonald's own words "I'm 33 years old and a mum of 2 beautiful girls. I am very passionate about my community and the people from the Burnhill are the most amazing people. My dad was a youth worker when I was younger and was a great inspiration to me, as I saw the amazing work he did and the difference he made. He inspired me to give my time to help others. I teach my kids about being kind and tell them all small acts of kindness leads to big changes. I love doing community work and would never be possible without the amazing local people. Thank you again I am blown away with this lovely nomination and for the people who voted for me."
Amy McEwan has volunteered with a local charity called Create A Smile Scotland, all through lockdown. Amy has dedicated so much time to delivering emergency food hampers all over East Ayrshire, she also helped to deliver lunches to the elderly five days a week for the last 28 weeks. She delivers home baking to the older people in her local communities every Friday and she calls to check in on the most vulnerable older people in the area. Not only has Amy given so much time to the charity but she has also been doing her PhD alongside all of this. She never complains she just gets on with things and she is very much loved by the older people she’s met during lockdown. She has given each of them her number so that if they need shopping or prescriptions etc they know they can call Amy for help and they also know that if they just want a wee blether then they can always call Amy.
Lynn Hunter is a volunteer for the Witney Land Army delivering & doing shopping for residents. She also delivers to the resident's door and has a chat, which is worth more to many than the deliveries. The WLA may now have ceased but Lynn has continued on to make sure that everyone is looked after throughout this pandemic.
Fergus Mackenzie (5) and Ruaridh Gregory (3) were nominated by their great-aunt.
The boys went around their elderly neighbours houses and left them jigsaws on their doorsteps so they had something to keep them occupied and so they knew they were not alone in this pandemic. They wanted to cheer their elderly neighbour's up and lift their spirits in an uncertain time.
Joe Skomorowskyj was nominated by many people at Stagecoach East Midlands. Joe has assisted them to help customers in Lincoln Bus station for many years now. He does this of his own accord to help out the bus users of Lincoln. He is always there to help out where he can and is one of the nicest people you could meet. He goes above and beyond his own duties as a council employee to help and assist passengers and staff.
Amanda Foster was nominated because despite having 4 children,running a small hold, having four dogs, a cat, six quails, numerous rabbits and guinea pigs, two ferrets and a part time job, Amanda still some how finds time for others in the village. She's arranged many activities and groups from a village local share and swap group for surplus fruit and veg for the village , a local pebble art group for the primary school children (and adults!) , and more recently has set up a COVID-19 safe Christmas stall holder fete for the whole village which means all the small businesses, traders, craft makers and any one else will hold a stall on their driveway in December with music and lights. Amanda is producing a village map of all the stalls for the villagers to follow and visit each stall. She has even got the local primary school and church involved!. She really does deserve some credit for all her hard work!
Jayne Sargeant was nominated because of everything she has done for the little village she lives in - putting on and organizing events and helping the community with care package for the vulnerable and elderly - and for being an all round lovely person.
Richard Smart has lived in the village of Thruxton, Hampshire for 20 years and has raised thousands for various charities throughout that time. He stepped up when the pandemic started and created the Thruxton Virus Volunteers Group to help the most vulnerable in his community. Along with his fellow volunteers, Richard helped over 50 local residents by arranging food and prescription deliveries, and transport to medical appointments. He hosted morale boosting fun events, fundraisers for local charities and even helped raise funds for local families who had been the victims of theft and a house fire. Over £12,000 has been raised in the past seven months and Richard has been at the heart of it which is why he was put forward to be named Stagecoach Community Hero.
In Danielle Aicardi's own words "I set up Northville Community Group 6 years ago with the aim of creating a safer, cleaner and more cohesive place to live. We do this by running projects to bring the community together in learning, celebration and unfortunately sometimes hardship. Our community has been hit hard by the UC roll out and the current crisis with many people losing their jobs and struggling to feed their families. We run a food bank and are currently planning for Xmas to ensure no child goes hungry in our community. We're a diverse community that are there to support each other through bad times and good and I'm very proud of the community we live in and the volunteers that make this happen."
Voting is now closed.