Stars of Norfolk and Waveney Awards 2021 finalists revealed in full

The EDP Stars of Norfolk and Waveney Awards presentation was held on Friday. Photo: Simon Finlay Pho

This year's finalists have been announced! - Credit: Simon Finlay Photography

It has been weeks in the making but the finalists of this year’s Stars of Norfolk and Waveney Awards can finally be revealed.

Organised in-house by the Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News for the second year running, the awards honour those from Norfolk and Waveney who go the extra mile and deserve recognition. The ceremony, sponsored by Hopkins Homes, will be held at Norwich Cathedral on Friday, December 3.

An introduction from Eastern Daily Press editor, David Powles:

Eastern Daily Press editor David Powles speaks at the Stars of Norfolk and Waveney Awards in 2019.

Eastern Daily Press editor David Powles speaks at the Stars of Norfolk and Waveney Awards in 2019. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Welcome to this year's guide to the finalists in our annual Stars of Norfolk and Waveney Awards.

'Stars', as we lovingly know it, is one of my highlights of the year and I'm so glad that we are still able to celebrate the achievements of the people of this region despite the pandemic.

We are blessed with so many dedicated and devoted people in this neck of the woods, all of whom go above and beyond for others without expecting reward or recognition.

Despite that, it's so important that we do recognise and celebrate the achievements of these people and these awards are the perfect way to do that.

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For the past decade, Stars has been an annual evening celebration, with several hundred people gathered to enjoy a meal, the odd drink or two and the ceremony itself.

The pandemic forced us into a rethink in 2020 and last year's celebration was a much tamer affair - held outdoors, in the Norwich Cathedral cloisters and entirely socially distant. However, those of us who were present that cold December morning, will know that it remained very special, especially given all of the heartache of the year before.

This year we decided to continue with the celebrations at the cathedral, but are able to move the event itself indoors. We are very grateful to the cathedral, our event sponsor Hopkins Homes and Norwich Theatre Royal, who will donate panto tickets for the winners, for all of their support.

I hope you enjoy reading about the achievements within this fantastic part of the world.

A message from the awards sponsor, Hopkins Homes:

Hopkins Homes is the headline sponsor of the Stars of Norfolk and Waveney 2021

Hopkins Homes is the headline sponsor of the Stars of Norfolk and Waveney 2021 - Credit: ARCHANT

Lee Barnard, group managing director at Hopkins Homes, said: “We are extremely proud to sponsor these awards and celebrate public-spirited achievement from the best and brightest across Norfolk and Waveney. 

“After a challenging 12 months adapting to and building back from Covid-19, recognising the incredible achievements of heroes within our communities feels particularly important. These local people went above and beyond, time and time again, to ensure community spirit not just lived on, but flourished in our region. 

“Choosing just one winner in the Overall Star category this year is an extremely difficult task, as the calibre of the many inspiring submissions to consider is very high. Each and every individual who was nominated deserves acknowledgement, appreciation, and recognition. 

“We are very much looking forward to honouring their efforts and accomplishments and celebrating the finalists and winners on the day.” 

Hopkins Homes is the headline sponsor of the Stars of Norfolk and Waveney 2021

Hopkins Homes is the headline sponsor of the Stars of Norfolk and Waveney 2021. - Credit: Hopkins Homes

THE FINALISTS

Carer of the Year 

Alison Church

Alison Church - Credit: SUPPLIED

Alison Church with her children

Alison Church with her children - Credit: SUPPLIED

Alison Church, of Southtown, Great Yarmouth, has six children and is a carer to four who have disabilities. Every day is a challenge due the children’s needs but Ms Church always puts them first to make sure they are happy and have the best life possible. 

She said: “Alongside my partner Vince, we live from day to day trying to put as much in to making memories and having family fun days in between the many appointments and them being poorly. 

“It truly is amazing to have been nominated. I just see myself as a mum, doing what all other mums do.” 

Lauren Tubby

Lauren Tubby - Credit: SUPPLIED

Lauren Tubby, of the Diss area, is the manager of De Lucy House care home in Diss. During the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, she left her family home in order to move in with the residents to make sure they were all cared for. She put her work before her young family. 

She said: “I feel honoured and privileged to have been selected as a finalist. I strive to work to above expectations to ensure the residents and staff team have only the best environment to work and live in. I feel completely overwhelmed to have been nominated for this exceptional award.” 

Sarah Johnson

Sarah Johnson - Credit: BLUEBIRD CARE

Sarah Johnson, of Norwich, has worked as a carer for Bluebird Care Norwich and North Norfolk for more than 11 years. She goes above and beyond to ensure her clients receive the care they need in their own homes. She has been described as being a beacon of light who goes the extra mile. 

She said: “I’m incredibly overwhelmed to be a finalist and blown away by the support and recognition from my peers. I feel privileged to represent Bluebird Care and our amazing care team, who work incredibly hard. Domiciliary care is often overlooked, so to be able to represent the sector is incredibly humbling.” 

Charity Hero of the Year 

Vickie Cunnane

Vickie Cunnane - Credit: SUPPLIED

Vickie Cunnane, of Chedgrave, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s 10 years ago while working as a head teacher at Corton. Determined to fight back, she encouraged 10 staff and their families to join in with a parachute jump that raised £5,000. She has also hosted garden parties, run farmers’ market stalls, and opened a charity shop all to raise funds for charity Parkinson’s UK. To date she has raised £100,000. 

She said: “I am thrilled and excited to be nominated. I have not been able to do as much as I would like as my disability has worsened. The shop succeeds thanks to a team effort and the support of customers. I want to do more as it keeps me going.” 

Carly Gorton

Carly Gorton - Credit: ANNA MUDEKA

Carly Gorton, 11, of Southburgh, near Hingham, has achieved something phenomenal. Last year, while the world was in a huge turmoil, she shaved her head to donate her afro hair to be made into a wig for black and mixed-race children who have lost their own hair. She showed resilience, strength and courage to make her dream a reality and has made history by becoming the very first person to succeed in having her afro hair made into a wig. 

Her mother, Anna Mudeka, said: “I’m very proud and feel honoured that she has been selected as a charity hero. She deserves it.” 

Tim Owen with his daughter

Tim Owen with his daughter - Credit: SUPPLIED

Tim Owen, of Shouldham, West Norfolk, is one of three suicide bereaved dads who walked 300 miles from Cumbria to Manchester to Norfolk over 15 days in October to raise awareness of PAPYRUS, the suicide prevention charity for young people under 35. In memory of their daughters, they aimed to raise awareness to prevent other families from going through what they had all gone through. They also raised £825,000 for PAPYRUS. 

He said: “The three of us never expected to have attracted this much attention and in doing so raise the profile of this life saving charity. To be selected as a finalist for the is humbling and I am sure our daughters, Beth, Sophie and Emily, would be proud.” 

Simon Prince

Simon Prince - Credit: SUPPLIED

Simon Prince, of the Wells Community Hospital Trust, joined the charity in 2020. Since then, he has worked tirelessly raising money and organising events to make the Trust’s community happier and healthier. He also helps to run the Community Hub and foodbank, which has assisted with 595 requests for help, and in June 2021, he opened the Hive Café at the hospital. 

He said: “I am honoured to be considered for this category. It’s exciting and humbling in equal measure. Working in fantastic surroundings and being able to bring smiles to others doesn’t feel like work! I am also grateful to our team, volunteers, trustees, funders and community partners.” 

Community Hero of the Year 

Fiona Bass

Fiona Bass - Credit: SUPPLIED

Fiona Bass, of Thorpe St Andrew, Norwich, is passionate about supporting families with dementia after her own experiences looking after loved ones with the condition. She launched the Thorpe St Andrew Dementia Support Group four years ago. Although the support group is part of her job, for her it is about creating bonds and forming friendships. 

She said: “I am truly overwhelmed with the lovely comments from my clients from the Dementia Support Group, and I am thrilled to have been selected as a finalist for this award. I could not do this on my own, so I would share this with my lovely volunteers.” 

Jonathon Childs (picture) has been nominated with his wife, Tanya

Jonathon Childs (pictured) has been nominated with his wife, Tanya - Credit: SUPPLIED

Jonathon and Tanya Childs, of The Garden House Pub, Norwich, may have been forced to close doors during lockdown but, as its operators, continued to support their community. They launched a food bank scheme, water refill stations for the homeless, ran soup kitchens, and supplied emergency food parcels. Working with Thomas Frank's, they delivered over 18,000 frozen ready meals, and with Only a Pavement Away handed out over 14,000 meal pouches. They are now working with OAPA on its Winter Warmth campaign. And these efforts are just the tip of the iceberg. 

Mr Childs said: “For us, it is not just about donating food and helping those in need, it is bringing our community together and supporting each other."   

Lily Lancaster

Lily Lancaster - Credit: SUPPLIED

Lily Lancaster, of Attleborough, is a teenager who does random acts of kindness throughout the year by giving gifts to the community. At Christmas, she left gifts on doorsteps by using her own pocket money. At Easter, she distributed 300 chocolate eggs to children and donated more. In December, she arranged for Santa to come to Queen’s Square where she handed out 450 selection boxes to children. She has also donated many more to other worthy causes and handed out tote bags with goodies to raise awareness of mental health issues. She has also raised £356 for Norwich Homeless. 

She said: “I am thrilled to be selected as a finalist and delighted to be recognised. I love making people smile by gifting them. A few kind words can make someone’s day.” 

Education Hero of the Year 

Catherine (Cat) Elsom

Catherine (Cat) Elsom - Credit: SUPPLIED

Catherine Elsom, of the Fred Nicholson School, Dereham, works within Orchard, a specialist autism provision situated within the school. This year, she supported a young person on the autism spectrum in achieving his science GCSEs, reaching his full potential with the grades he received.  

She said: “I cannot take full credit for this, as without the hard work and dedication from the young person and the ongoing support from their family, this would not have been achievable. He stepped up to the challenge when faced with home learning, and a highlight for me was him completing a heart dissection on the kitchen table. 

“I am touched to have received this nomination.” 

Lee Summers

Lee Summers - Credit: MISS L. DAVIS/WYMONDHAM COLLEGE

Lee Summers, of Wymondham College, is a head of house and teacher at the boarding school. He is passionate about making the environment a home-from-home, making students feel safe and supported. For the boarding staff, the working day does not finish at 3.45pm and they can often be found playing table tennis, watching a film, or playing computer games with the students. Mr Summers endeavoured to support the students through lockdowns, home learning, and exam uncertainty. 

He said: “To be nominated is amazing. The pandemic has been challenging for so many people and there are many education professionals who have worked tirelessly to continue providing an education for their students – to be recognised for that, I am truly humbled and honoured.” 

NHS Person of the Year 

Richelle Bale

Richelle Bale - Credit: SUPPLIED

Richelle Bale, of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital neurosciences ward, is a nursing assistant on the ward. Her role includes lots of personal care, observations regularly, and ensuring the patients are made to feel at ease during their stay. She suffers with rheumatoid which means she is in pain daily, but she still continues working in this role in order to put a smile on the patients’ faces. 

She said: “I truly feel for these people whose lives are changed in an instant. Being short staffed means you are working very hard but if you manage to make a patient smile and laugh then all is good.” 

Benjamin Fox

Benjamin Fox - Credit: SUPPLIED

Benjamin Fox works at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn, and earlier this year he launched a “NoHawk” campaign following the death of one of his friends and work colleagues – a gifted NHS doctor who died by suicide. During February, he changed all of his social media profile pictures of him sporting a NoHawk. He raised over £2,000 for the charity Shout 85258, while encouraging open and frank discussion about suicide.  

Dr Fox said he was “over the moon” to have been nominated. He added: “This nomination in itself furthers the aim of breaking the taboo of talking about suicide. This will help both those suffering from suicidal ideation and also the survivors of suicide loss who are left behind.” 

Ailsa Sheldon

Ailsa Sheldon - Credit: SUPPLIED

Ailsa Sheldon works at East Norfolk Medical Practice (ENMP) in Great Yarmouth, has had a challenging couple of years getting through the Covid pandemic. She faced many difficulties from PPE sourcing and adjusting to wearing masks, to working briefly from home during the first Lockdown with three home schooling teens. See praised her “incredible team” and thanked the public for being kind to all staff working in health and social care.  

Dr Sheldon said: “We have never worked such long hours and caring for our patients has never been as hard as it is now. 

"I feel very honoured to have been nominated with my team at ENMP, and to be selected as a finalist for this award.” 

Lorraine Snailum

Lorraine Snailum - Credit: SUPPLIED

Lorraine Snailum works on the cardiac ward at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, and has worked in cardiology for 12 years. Although she has been nominated, she said she was “so proud” of the whole department.  

She added: “It still amazes me to this day when patients are brought in by air ambulance and are well enough days later to return to their loved ones. It would not be possible without the whole team. I work with some amazing people.  

“I love my job despite all the challenges of the past two years, everyone pulled together as a team from consultants to domestics. Every single member of the NHS deserves huge recognition.” 

Outstanding Bravery Act of the Year 

Tony Evans

Tony Evans - Credit: SUPPLIED

Tony Evans, of Eaton, works at Asda on Hall Road, in Norwich, was nominated after helping a poorly customer while working as a customer delivery driver. 

He said: “I'd rung my customer's doorbell, when I heard her calling out for help. After eventually being able to get in the property, it turns out the lady had taken a fall. She had been on the floor some time, and was unable to get herself back up. So I helped her up, made her a cup of tea, and stayed with her until her carers arrived.  

“I just did what anyone else would have done if they were in the same situation. 

“It feels unreal, but amazing to be nominated for this award. It really is a great honour.” 

JAMES HEALES 

James Heales, of Thunder Lane, Norwich, rescued mother Whitney McKernan-Sullivan with her two children Zakary and Caleb  from a car inundated with water on Green Lane in December last year. Described by his nominee as "a very quiet, unassuming man", driving home that evening, he saw the almost flooded car and drove around to approach it from the other side of the flood.

Whitney McKernan-Sullivan with her two children Zakary and Caleb

Whitney McKernan-Sullivan with her two children Zakary and Caleb - Credit: Whitney McKernan-Sullivan

He was able to get all three occupants to safety. To do so calmly, in what could have been a life and death situation, is a testament to his bravery. Mr Heales said: "I just did what anyone else would do."

Matt Head and Jon Emby (pictured) came to the rescue of an elderly customer by calling 999

Matt Head and Jon Emby came to the rescue of an elderly customer by calling 999 - Credit: TESCO

Matt Head (pictured) and Jon Emby came to the rescue of an elderly customer by calling 999

Matt Head (pictured) and Jon Emby came to the rescue of an elderly customer by calling 999 - Credit: TESCO

A pair of delivery drivers have been praised for going “above and beyond” after coming to the rescue of a customer in cardiac arrest. A new employee of Tesco home delivery, Jon Emby was working alongside 'buddy' Matt Head, who was busy showing him the ropes. But while the pair were carrying out a routine home delivery in the Mousehold area of Norwich, Mr Emby noticed that something was not quite right with their customer. 

After offering to take the shopping inside, Mr Emby realised they were obviously very ill, at which point they called 999 for an ambulance. A critical care team from the air ambulance was dispatched, as the patient went into cardiac arrest. They were given a full assessment, enhanced care at the scene including using a defibrillator and were eventually sedated before being taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital for a life-saving operation. 

Police/Fire Person of the Year 

Ash Cawston

Ash Cawston - Credit: SUPPLIED

Ashley Cawston, of Aylsham Fire Station, and part of the Mortality Pathway Project team, helped to maintain patient flow from the hospitals through to the mortuary and funeral directors. From the transport to the logging of the deceased at the temporary facility, he ensured dignity and respect to all patients at all times.  

He said: “I feel my experience as a firefighter allowed me to show compassion and professionalism during this role. I feel very privileged and honoured to be selected as a finalist. Our team worked relentlessly during the pandemic to ensure we kept the mortuary pathway open, providing the utmost care and dignity to the deceased.”  

John Linden

John Linden - Credit: SUPPLIED

John Linden, is the station manager at King’s Lynn for Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS), and part of the Mortality Pathway Project team. Due to his previous qualifications and experience in the field, he offered to assist in the setting up and management of NFRS involvement. In the following 12 months, he ensured safe systems of work were in place and selected and worked with a small team. 

He said: “I feel very honoured to be nominated for this award as part of a team who were able to assist the communities of Norfolk and work to such a high standard with dignity and respect throughout some of the most challenging times we have ever faced.” 

Natalie Rushton

Natalie Rushton - Credit: NFRS

Natalie Rushton, of Sandringham Fire Station, is part of the Mortality Pathway Project team. She worked to provide support to hospitals and funeral directors who were overwhelmed with the increase in numbers of the deceased in Norfolk.  

She said: “As firefighters, it is our duty to look after our community. This time, that duty stretched to taking care of those that had passed away. 

“I am honoured to be selected as a finalist. The task presented was one that I didn’t anticipate when I joined the service, being part of a team however, was. When some days were harder than others, we knew there would be someone there to help us through.” 

Clive Wells

Clive Wells - Credit: SUPPLIED

Clive Wells, of Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service’s eastern district, set up a team for the Mortality Pathway Project, which included himself, to assist with the moving of bodies to the temporary mortuary facility at Scottow. The work was started during the first wave of the pandemic. Last December, the team were given short notice to stand up and alleviate the pressure for the mortuaries at the local hospitals. The work continued well into 2021. 

He said: “I feel very honoured to have been nominated as part of the temporary mortuary team. We ensured that people were treated with dignity and respect at all times.” 

CM Spencer Whalley

CM Spencer Whalley - Credit: SUPPLIED

Spencer Whalley, of Mundesley Fire Station, is part of the Mortality Pathway Project team. His role was to meet the funeral directors as they arrived and book in the people making sure that details were correct and that all valuables associated were present. He would then assign the person their allocated resting place in the mortuary. 

He said: “I feel honoured to be part of the team. We all worked very hard and in a sensitive situation. The work we did was very humbling, but very rewarding. I feel very positive about the nomination and just to be recognised is good enough for me.” 

Team/Community Group of the Year 

Supported Accomodation Team - Jodi, Lisa, Alison, Michelle, and Jacob

Supported Accomodation Team - Jodi, Lisa, Alison, Michelle, and Jacob - Credit: SUPPLIED

Access Community Trust operates 10 supported accommodation projects across Norfolk and Waveney with total capacity of over 170 bed spaces. From inception of the pandemic, the team has gone above and beyond ensuring Covid-19 had minimal impact on its existing client base, whilst delivering innovative support to house all rough sleepers and the most vulnerable at pace following the government’s "Everyone In" policy.  

The team said: “We are extremely honoured to have been selected as a finalist. Recognition at this level underlines the vital role our housing team provides 24/7, 365 days a year. Their innovative approaches ensure essential support to the most vulnerable in our communities remain priority in the unchartered waters of the pandemic.” 

Merchant's Place Team - Jacqui Barker, Rachel Sidell, and Hannah Rolp

Merchant's Place Team - Jacqui Barker, Rachel Sidell, and Hannah Rolp - Credit: SUPPLIED

Merchants’ Place Community is a non-profit organisation based in Cromer, offering a range of support groups, advice, room hire and more. Recently, the team has launched and continued a range of groups and services that benefit local individuals, including a community fridge and larder. The services aim to reduce loneliness and isolation within the community, as well as provide emergency food support and professional advice and guidance. Over 200 individuals and families are supported every week with a range of subjects.  

The team said: “We feel thrilled to be nominated for this award. It is humbling to know that the hard work by our staff and volunteers is recognised and valued within our community. We love supporting local people and aim to do so for many years.” 

Park Radio

Park Radio - Credit: DISS PHOTOGRAPHY CLUB

Park Radio is a local radio station for Diss, Harleston, Eye, and all the surrounding area across the Waveney Valley. During Covid-19, more people turned to local radio for both information and entertainment. Park Radio was a lifeline for many and a trusted source of local news. Despite the pandemic, and to ensure Park Radio could maintain the service, it supplied broadcasting kit to many of its on-air team so they could present programmes live from home. 

The team said: “The whole team at Park Radio – which comprises of 50 volunteers - are over the moon with being nominated for such a prestigious award and if successful we would accept it on behalf of all our supporters and of course listeners who tune in every day.” 

Town or Village of the Year 

Kelly de Ville Shaw, creator of over 1,000 free activity packs handed out to local children and families to enjoy

Kelly de Ville Shaw, creator of over 1,000 free activity packs handed out to local children and families to enjoy - Credit: AYLSHAM PARISH CHURCH

Aylsham Town Council has been active in coping with the demands of both Covid and the pressures that have come from the growth in its population and the prospect of further growth. Aylsham is a town with a real community feel and is continually looking to enhance the quality of people’s lives who live or visit the town.. 

Trevor Bennett, chairman of Aylsham Town Council, said he was “proud to represent a town that is considered to be one of the best places to live in the county”.  

Toby de Ville Shaw, churchwarden of Aylsham’s parish church, added: “All recognition goes to the many community groups and individuals in Aylsham who work tirelessly to make a difference and to support those in need. It is a privilege to be part of such a special community.” 

Swanton Abbott

Swanton Abbott - Credit: Claire Elaine Hodgkins

The village of Swanton Abbot has been described as “a great community to live in”. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the villagers have become friends and neighbours instead of a face passing by. From coffee on the corner at the Chapel (free refreshments and cakes open to all to enjoy), to the Revels and beating the bounds (entertainment and games), outdoor theatre and Jack Valentine heart bombing the village, everyone has been brought together to help each other and support one another. 

Resident Claire Elaine Hodgkins, said: “Being selected as a finalist is amazing. I know the villagers will be delighted to hear the news. We are very proud of where we live and to be considered a finalist will certainly be special to us.”  

Unsung Hero/Heroine of the Year 

Chris Mollett

Chris Mollett - Credit: SUPPLIED

Chris Mollett, of Beccles, has been looking out for his elderly neighbours since before Covid. During the pandemic, he shopped not only for his own 81-year-old mother but also two of his neighbours, one of which is going through treatment for cancer. He has also cleared paths when its snowed and checked up on his neighbours to make sure they were okay. The owner of a landscape company, he works long hours but always finds time to help his neighbours. 

He said: “I don’t think I have done anything outstanding, but I am overwhelmed at being selected for an award. My neighbour is great fun and we have lots of laughs.” 

Ben Poole

Ben Poole - Credit: SUPPLIED

Ben Poole, of Lowestoft, is a volunteer amateur and professional boxing coach. He dedicates lots of hours by being a mentor to young people and adults who are experiencing different problems, and is very diverse, treating everyone the same – in particular young adults with autism and additional needs.  

He said: “I will always be there to listen to the ones who are struggling. Be it addiction or something else, there's more to coaching than just fitness. You have to listen and be there for your members. 

“To be nominated is a huge honour. I do what I do out of the love for the sport. I have never looked for recognition but to receive it has made me feel appreciated.”  

Emma Sturman

Emma Sturman - Credit: SUPPLIED

In January 2021, Emma Sturman, of Caister-on-Sea, created a group called Norfolk Beach Cleans on Facebook in order to share her beach cleaning adventures with whoever was interested. When Covid restrictions eased, she started inviting the public along to beach clean events, providing equipment for everyone. So far, she has hosted 21 clean-up events and removed a total of 560kg of litter from the environment. 

She said: “My main reason behind beach cleaning is to protect what I love, which is the ocean, environment and the wildlife. 

“It’s great to be recognised and know that others recognise the effort I put into what I do. I’m able to share my mission with a wider audience and spread the awareness of the importance beach cleaning and litter picking.” 

Young Person of the Year 

Patterson Barr, pictured with his sister

Patterson Barr, pictured with his sister - Credit: SUPPLIED

Patterson Barr, 12, of Tunstall, near Halvergate, ran at least 5km every day with his sister during the second lockdown, even in snow drifts, for charity Break. In total, over 61 days, they ran over 320km. During the summer holidays, they cycled at least 10km every day. In 55 days, they cycled more than 650 km. They have raised over £1,300 for Break. During the same time, they sewed and crocheted hearts, leaving them anonymously for people in their community, with a note to cheer them up.   

He said: “I feel embarrassed and very grateful to have been nominated because I didn’t do it for any acknowledgement. I did it to make a difference to the lives of children less fortunate than myself and we did the heart thing to try and make local people smile.” 

Owen Colbourne, pictured with his brother

Owen Colbourne, pictured with his brother - Credit: SUPPLIED

Owen Colbourne, of Dereham, was helping his brother in the bath when he began having a seizure. His quickly got him out and asked his mum to call 999, before taking over the call. 

He said: “I didn't realise how much I had helped until my mum, the paramedics, and the epilepsy nurse told me what a good job I had done. I just done at the time anything I could think of to help because I wanted my brother to be okay and have his favourite things with him when he woke up. I made sure he had his juice cup because he only drinks out of that, some juice, and his bunny and clothes. 

“It is nice to be appreciated for how I helped my brother. I never knew that I could do something as big as this. I feel really overwhelmed and happy to be selected to be a finalist and I am very grateful.”   

Carly Gorton

Carly Gorton - Credit: Mark Gorton

Carly Gorton, 11, of Southburgh near Hingham, was inspired by a friend who lost her hair due to cancer. She wanted to shave her afro hair and have it made into a wig. After contacting the Little Princess Trust, who specialise in children’s wigs, they said they would not take my afro hair as they said it was impossible to make a wig using it. This made her determined to find someone who could use her hair for a wig. Eventually she found someone in America. 

She said: “With the help of the media and my school we spoke to wig maker after wig maker and finally we found a lady named Cynthia Stroud who agreed to do trials using my hair. On December 17, my mother shaved my hair off in front of the school assembly. It took until February for Cynthia and her team to successfully make the first Afro wig in British history. In March, the wig went to a child with cancer. 

“I am happy to have made a difference as well as raising awareness and encouraging others to do the same no matter the limits." 

Many thanks to all of our nominees for 2021:

Susan Bensley / Wendy Roberts / Sarah Johnson / Alison Church / Kelly Hewitt / Lauren Tubby / Lorraine Curston / Tim Owen / Carly Gorton / Simon Prince / Jayne Biggs / Steve Terzza / Vickie Cunnane / Phoenix, the horse / Sandra Jones / Leila Bye / Kelly Cartwright / Wayne Catchpole / Pat Seaman / Lily Lancaster / Judy Cloke / Anna Perkins / Dennis and Pam Tallon / Ricci-Jon Reade / John Brown / Mollie White / Eleanor Bray / Richard Weldon / Sharon Blundell / Isabel Carter / Lee Summers / Catherine Elsom / Michelle Taylor / Mundesley Infant and Junior School / Maryann Watkins / Craig Brown / James Melton / NARS First Responders / Triple Threat Stage School / Rachel Sidell / Pastoral team at Aylsham High School / David Trollope / Geldeston Locks / Access Community Trust Supported Housing Team / Admin team at Spring Gymnastics / Norwich Guide Dog Volunteers / Wells Community Hospital Trust / Peter Houlden / Park Radio / Aylsham / Swanton Abbot / Wymondham / Rachel Woods / Dawn Collins / Michael Knight / Benjamin Fox / Lorraine Snailum / Ailsa Sheldon / Richelle Bale / Clive Wells / Emma Sturman / Lindsay Carruthers / Ben Poole / Chris Mollett / Pheobe Dorrington / Nade Ward / Patterson Barr / Freya Prigmore / Owen Colbourne / Sophie Baker / Anthony Elgar 

  • A special event for all of our finalists will take place on December 3 at Norwich Cathedral. The judges' special award and the overall winner will also be announced then. A winners supplement will be in the paper on December 6.

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