Honours for our community heroes

Derbyshire County Council hosted its annual Excellence in the Community Awards at the Devonshire Dome, Buxton last night (17 October) to honour individuals, groups, businesses, voluntary groups and charities which are making a difference to the lives of others.
Derbyshire County Council hosted its annual Excellence in the Community Awards at the Devonshire Dome, Buxton last night (17 October) to honour individuals, groups, businesses, voluntary groups and charities which are making a difference to the lives of others.
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Hundreds of people and groups were nominated for the awards and 80 winners were chosen to receive certificates and glass trophies.

Categories included fundraising for good causes, voluntary work, projects that protect Derbyshire, improve life there and make it a safer place to live, as well as musical, sporting or artistic achievements.

Derbyshire County Council hosted its annual Excellence in the Community Awards at the Devonshire Dome, Buxton last night (17 October) to honour individuals, groups, businesses, voluntary groups and charities which are making a difference to the lives of others.

Derbyshire County Council hosted its annual Excellence in the Community Awards at the Devonshire Dome, Buxton last night (17 October) to honour individuals, groups, businesses, voluntary groups and charities which are making a difference to the lives of others.

Valerie Smith, of Heanor, runs a junior drama group in Marlpool where children aged four to ten are encouraged to act, sing, dance and express themselves. She also runs a mother and toddler group for more than 20 mums and holds assemblies at various schools. Val was nominated by Alison Bailey.

The Heanor Festival Trust is a small group of volunteers who give many hours of their time to fundraise throughout the year to pay for the event, as well as running a wide range of events and activities throughout the week-long celebration, including exhibitions, competitions and entertainment.

Derbyshire Voice is a Ripley-based organisation that supports those who experience mental health services and has a network of over 350 members who are all actively involved in around 50 projects and meetings. Members also provide training to other organisations in mental health awareness.

Bill Hutchinson, of Ripley, has spent over 20 years volunteering for Derby Mountain Rescue, and over 30 years working as a volunteer porter at Derby Royal Hospital on Saturday evenings and on New Year’s Eve.

Derbyshire County Council hosted its annual Excellence in the Community Awards at the Devonshire Dome, Buxton last night (17 October) to honour individuals, groups, businesses, voluntary groups and charities which are making a difference to the lives of others.

Derbyshire County Council hosted its annual Excellence in the Community Awards at the Devonshire Dome, Buxton last night (17 October) to honour individuals, groups, businesses, voluntary groups and charities which are making a difference to the lives of others.

He’s also been a prolific poppy seller for the Royal British Legion and collected all the names of service men and women from Ripley killed in conflicts since the Second World War to feature on the town’s memorial. Bill has dedicated 60 years to the Scouting movement and still finds time to serve as president at his local Spiritualist church. Bill has been nominated by Colin Newton.

Helen Marriott, of Pinxton, has helped at local Scout and Brownie groups as well as being a volunteer leader with a branch of St John’s and a fundraiser for groups around Pinxton for more than 30 years. She has been nominated by Susan Barrett who says Helen is a very hard working person, always willing to help anyone.

Eileen Cheeseman, of Heanor, is the manager of the Stepping Stones Day Centre and has been nominated by David Cox for the dedication, support and friendship she gives to people attending the centre, many of whom have disabilities. She ensures people at the centre get good quality care while they are there as well as feeling valued and supported.

Jane Ward, of Riddings, was a real driving force when Riddings Community Centre was built in the 1980s – helping form a committee to raise funds through a lottery. Jane has helped in all sorts of ways including serving behind the bar, taking bookings for the centre and still volunteering as secretary. Councillor Jack Brown nominated Jane, saying she deserves the award for all her hard work down the years.

Shopkeepers Kirpal, or ‘Paul’ and wife Raj Sohal moved to Crich in 2002 and took over the local shop.

Nominator Keith Emery says that other businesses have started to thrive as a result of trade which the Sohal’s grocery shop has brought to the village and the Sohals are keen to give something back to the community with charity work.

Retired teacher Michael Ennis, of Ironville runs an after school club at Codnor Park and Ironville Primary School where his wife, Jean, is headmistress. Mick and Jean take members of the group on trips to further education with places visited including Devon, Holland, Germany and Spain. Mick was nominated for the award by Councillor Jack Watson Brown who says Codnor Park and Ironville School has benefited greatly from his work.