North Kesteven’s most community-spirited individuals, businesses and groups have been honoured in a special awards ceremony after being nominated by local residents.
More than 150 people attended the ceremony, which took place at The Venue in Navenby, in association with The Lincolnite, Lincs FM and Sleaford Target.
The finalists for the fourth annual North Kesteven Community Champion Awards were announced in August, after almost 100 hard-working people and groups were nominated.
Guests were also treated to a live musical performances and chosen charity, the Lincolnshire & Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance Service, received hundreds of pounds from ticket sales and a raffle.
Leader of NKDC, Councillor Marion Brighton, said: “So many people in North Kesteven are working quietly, tirelessly, selflessly and voluntarily to improve the lives of others.
“Judging them was an enormously difficult task. Everyone who was nominated for an award is a winner in their own right – and this event was our way of saying ‘thank you’ to everyone.
“North Kesteven is a district of 100 flourishing communities – and it’s testimony to the efforts of all those present tonight for helping keep it that way.”
Awards host John Marshall of Lincs FM said: “Tonight’s event has been a huge success and a great night out for all our champions. I’m glad I wasn’t on the judging panel though, because everyone is a winner in my eyes!”
The winners were:
The Young Achiever Award – Sponsored by Pygott & Crone
Winner: Matthew Livingstone – North Hykeham
Matthew was born with a hole in his heart, but after undergoing open-heart surgery a week before his first birthday, he went on to enjoy happy, successful early years with a flair for drama.
At senior school he encountered significant bullying, but he has always had the moral courage to stand up to the bullies. To this end, he became a mentor at North Hykeham Youth Centre to share his experiences, help others and put something positive back into the community.
Now studying a youth work course, Matthew’s confidence has begun to shine and he remains focused as a role model for others.
Lewis Blake, Heckington
Joel James, Sleaford
Community Business of the Year – Sponsored by Duncan & Toplis
Winner: New Life Conference Centre – Sleaford
As a venue offering excellent, affordable, friendly facilities to business, corporate and social clients, New Life’s mission is to generate money in support of ventures that help those in need.
All profits are specifically targeted at enhancing the lives, health and wellbeing of the young, old, hungry, homeless, lonely and vulnerable. This is done through the community larder food bank, provision of hot meals in holiday time to those who get free meals at school, weekly dining and recreation, weekly activities and basic budgeting to help with money management.
Among New Life’s 19 separate nominations one questioned “what other conference centre gives so much to so many community projects and looks after you so well?”
Beyond this, Rod Munro’s good common sense and eagerness to make a difference make him a shinning example of community care in action.
Elite Fish & Chips, Sleaford & Ruskington
Hodgson Elkington, North Hykeham
Contribution to a Better Environment – Sponsored by Ringrose Law
Winner: Sleaford River Clean Up Team
Andrew Greenwood was highlighted in five separate nominations as the person who ‘galvanises the townsfolk of Sleaford to help keep the Slea clean and tidy.’ He organises the monthly Sleaford River Clean Up working parties and is credited with making a ‘huge difference to the river’.
Volunteers free the river of rubbish, making it a safer and more attractive place for local people, visitors and wildlife to enjoy and improving its flow.
The initiative is very much community based, set up by Andrew via social media in June 2013 as a form of direct action rather than bemoaning others and now with around 150 members operating eight times a year it is part of the Keep Britain Tidy project River Care.
Henk Buijs, Swaton
Richard Dimbleby, Bracebridge Heath
Contribution to Arts & Culture – Sponsored by DPS Sleaford
Winner: Heckington Windmill Trust
Formed 23 years ago as a friends group, the newly re-named Heckington Windmill Trust is pioneering a ￡1m-plus restoration project to transform the iconic and internationally-unique eight-sailed mill into a major tourist attraction.
In the last year they have made bids and secured the funding, negotiated land ownership, managed the re-fitting of new sails, and pushed forward with plans to root the mill even more firmly in the local community.
Chairman Charles Pinchbeck is singled out for his vision, tenacity and zeal in maintaining the project’s momentum and focus for securing a vibrant future for the mill and broadening its community appeal with open days, milling demonstrations, festivals, events and increased participation by the trust’s 200 members.
Alison Duncombe, North Hykeham
James McQuade, Sleaford
Contribution to Sport – Sponsored by Running Imp
Winner: Nikki Fletcher – Sleaford Triathlon Club
Friendly, enthusiastic, motivating, patient and inspirational: those are words used by participants in Nikki’s new Tri3 triathlon club.
Seeing the opportunity presented by the improved Sleaford Leisure Centre to introduce a new sport to the District, Nikki pioneered the popular club on the wave of its Olympic 2012 popularity.
There are now 40 members attending regularly, building in skill, speed and self-confidence through Nikki’s coaching and demand for further sessions.
An outstanding athlete herself, the Team GB competitor is passionate about using her experience to guide adults and juniors to be the best they can in all three disciplines and also tireless in raising awareness and funds for the Women’s Aid domestic violence charity.
Julie Leighton, Sleaford Tennis Club
Patsy Shields, Sleaford Elite Gymnastics Club
Contribution to Health and Wellbeing – Sponsored by 1Life
Winner: I.D.E.A.S – Dunston
The Improving Dunston’s Empty Area Spaces (IDEAS) project is delivering a legacy for Dunston which, by enhancing sporting activities and the local environment, will improve the health and wellbeing of the village at large. Chaired by Jane Lamyman, IDEAS has proved to be such a good idea that the village is overwhelmingly in support.
When the IDEAS team canvassed every home to find out what they wanted on the playing field, 99% of respondents wanted healthy activities for the children which is now being delivered.
Play equipment is being installed after 18 months of active fundraising, a wildlife sensory space and pathway to be fully accessible and funding raising is stepping up four games courts, goal, clubhouse and changing facilities.
Betty Ashton, Washingborough
Nick Grimshaw, North Hykeham
Ian Kendrick, Waddington
Contribution to Sustainable Transport – Sponsored by Toyota Lincoln
Winner: Paul Jowett – Leasingham
Fanatical about ensuring people can easily access train and buses as reliable alternatives to the private car, Paul’s contributions towards sustainable transport are invaluable.
As a rail campaign group’s representative on District transport forums, he is tireless in his efforts to keep the rail network high on public agendas.
On the ground he is especially diligent in ensuring both bus and train timetables are topped-up and visible at all local railway stations and relentless in his cause to ensure rail routes are adequately and accurately promoted.
Nicholsons Chartered Accountants
Community Spirit Award – Sponsored by Lindum Group
Winner: Andy Dunlop – Swaton
Andy is described as a one-man Citizen’s Advice Bureau, who is a good all-rounder and does an extraordinary amount for Swaton. As Vice Chairman of the parish council, he works tirelessly behind the scenes in all manner of ways for the benefit of villagers.
Andy is a former fireman. In times of flooding, he’s out there with sandbags, cones, signs and bacon butties, bringing together many agencies for flooding action. He has championed the case of residents facing eviction and helped re-house and re-work the financial affairs of a woman with learning difficulties.
Andy revitalised Swaton Vintage Day to raise significant sums for charity, invented the sport of egg throwing, chairs Sleaford Rotary Club’s community committee, helps with Sailability in North Hykeham and set up Swaton’s LIVES group with which he is a responder.
Betty Ashton, Washingborough
Wendy & Richard Dann, Ruskington
Nigel Reid, North Hykeham