Celebrating some of Norwich's true community heroes from 2016
PUBLISHED: 12:07 27 December 2016 | UPDATED: 16:40 27 December 2016
They are at the heart and soul of our communities - those people who go the extra mile to raise money for good causes or to help improve the lives of other people in and around Norwich.
We’re proud to have featured them in pages of the Norwich Evening News over the past 12 months and today, Local Life revisits some of their life-affirming stories to salute our community heroes of 2016.
• In October we reported how 23-year-old Samantha Kerr had been shortlisted for the Prince’s Trust Young Achiever Award at The Daily Mirror’s Pride of Britain Awards.
It was recognition for a young woman who had overcome crushing bereavements and severe depression.
She had no job or confidence and was suffering with anxiety and depression which was exacerbated by the loss of several people close to her, including her boyfriend who died in a motorcycle crash.
But she was thrown a lifeline when she was approached in Norwich by a Prince’s Trust representative, who explained what support from the youth charity could help her achieve.
She enrolled on a 12-week personal development course, which gives unemployed young people the skills and confidence to find work, and found her life was changed forever after becoming a volunteer assistant on the programme.
She said: “I owe my life to the Prince’s Trust. They gave me back my confidence and independence and they’ve made me who I am today – the real Sam.
“I have done so much that I can be proud of – it has changed my life so much and I want other people to know that it can do the same for them too.”
• When the brother-in-law of Brad Fisher was diagnosed with Leukaemia he was determined to do what he could to help – by vowing to help raise more than £20,000.
Mr Fisher, a head coach at Norwich Fitness Club, was set to undertake the notorious Rat Race challenge, when he learned of the devastating diagnosis to his brother-in-law Jon.
Having previously completed the 20-mile Rat Race at Burghley Park, in Stamford, Mr Fisher decided that he would attempt the feat again, this time raising money for blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan.
More than 20 other people wanted to help Mr Fisher, and have signed up to do the race with him in May 2017.
Mr Fisher said: “There are now 22 of us that have said we’re doing it for next year, so I thought I’d ask everyone to raise £1,000 each, which means we’re aiming for £22,000 overall.
“I did the Rat Race last year, it’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. The Rat Race is the biggest obstacle course in the world, it’s a fantastic experience.
“The day before the race I found out my brother-in-law had leukaemia.
“It hit me hard because it’s the first time someone in my family had been diagnosed with cancer, and blood cancer is a really severe form.”
• Carly Moss has now raised more than £4,300 for a breast cancer charity, following the diagnosis of her mother Carolyn.
Following a previous skydive and head shave, Carly organised a ‘Wear it Pink’ day at her employers at Bradley Hatch Jewellers in Wroxham.
“I started fundraising at the beginning of September when Mum was diagnosed,” the 24-year-old said.
“My target then was to raise £1,000 for charity, and I did that in six days.
“I don’t want to give myself another target in case I don’t reach it, but I’m going to keep fundraising for as long as I can.”
• A former patient of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) raised more than £6,000 for the hospital charity, after receiving treatment for prostate cancer.
Andrew McCullough, 76, received treatment for the disease earlier this year, and was so grateful for the quality of care he received wanted to give something back to the hospital.
Mr McCullough, from South Walsham, said: “If you visit the Colney Unit in the N&N Hospital you will see the huge numbers of patients being treated by the calm, highly professional doctors, radiologists and nurses.”
Mr McCullough, a professional clarinetist raised the £6,310 by holding an evening of music at Somerleyton Hall in September. He was joined on the evening by fellow musicians; soprano Angela Brun and Will Fergusson on piano.
The evening was attended by staff from the Oncology department; Dr Tom Roques, oncology consultant said: “The support we receive from patients through the hospital charity means we can enhance the world class treatments offered at NNUH”
• He might just be 11 but Charlie Hastings had some big ideas when it came to trying to raise money for charity.
The youngster was hoping to raise £250 as part of his Scouts fundraising badge, to be awarded to him by the Spixworth Scout Group.
But Charlie smashed his original target and ended up raising a massive £420 for charity after the industrious Old Catton youngster organised a raffle, auction, and disco at Spixworth Social Club.
He said: “There was one hamper for children with lots of toys in, different ones for boys and girls. Then there was one for ladies with lots of pampering stuff in.
“There was also a Christmas hamper full of presents, a chocolate hamper and an alcohol hamper.”
Charlie had also been in contact with local Norwich businesses, in order to get some prizes for the auction.
“I had a letter from Dunston Hall with vouchers for their swimming pool and sauna and things, which was a prize in the auction,” he added.
• Do you have a story for Local Life in 2017? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com