The High Sheriff was honoured to present the Hodge Hill Unsung Heroes 2015 awards at the Castle Bromwich Hall Hotel, in ‘The Malt House’ suite. In a very warm, positive spirit and community athmosphere the awards celebrate ‘Ordinary people who make a difference. The awardees were far from ordinary and are certainly making a difference to their community on a day to day basis. The high sherif gave a short introduction to the evening including a brief overview of the role of the High Sheriff of the West Midlands, before presenting the awards and certificates.
New Pictures from the night by Dan Sandford-Smith
High Sheriff’s speech.
Great to see such a big turnout of people to celebrate the unsung heroes of the community and those who maintain our faith in human nature – there are some great accolades coming up that include “Total Legends” and the “Queen Mum of Bromford”!
This year there were 150 nominatons and from the ‘Class of 2012 award winners’ there have been projects that have grown and grown including the Bromford Theatre Group ; Firs & Bromford Interfaith Women’s Group and the Hodge Hill Nigerian Community Association.
So its going very well and tonight we are going hear much more.
I’ve been asked to say a few words about the high sheriff of the west Midlands. Well the High Sheriff is the queen’s representative for the Judiciary. I answer to the Lord Lieutenant who looks after all matters royal in the county, from Wolverhampton to Coventry and all the fine places between. So when members of the Royal Family visit to perform openings and presentations of the queen’s awards I am in attendance with the lord lieutenant. It is an independent non political appointment and dates back to Saxon times, when the ‘Shire Reeve’ was responsible to the king for the maintenance of law and order within or county, and for the collection and return of taxes due to the Crown!
Today High Sheriffs actively support and encourage crime prevention agencies, the emergency services and to the voluntary sector and have been active in encouraging crime reduction initiatives, especially amongst young people. Many High Sheriffs also assist Community Foundations and local charities working with vulnerable and other people both in endorsing and helping to raise the profile of their valuable work.
On a regular basis I support the Judges who visit the county and sit in the crown courts. There are also District Judges and the Magistrates who all administer justice across our towns and cities. I go out of my way to show the Judges positive examples of the county and its people, as they tend to see a very dark side of our communities in their day jobs. So strong and active communities like Hodge Hill are important to tell the judges about.
High Sheriff’s have a theme for their year and mine is to support the arts, creative industries and young people. This is an unusual theme for a High Sheriff, but one that is proving very rewarding. Only a couple of nights ago I was at the Black Country Talent Awards and opened the Wolverhampton Society of Artists exhibition in the local art gallery where the wealth of local talent and the value young people get through engaging in the arts was clear for all to see.
Arts and culture are core to society and provide opportunities to bind people together in celebration and enjoyment of our communities and histories. They also provide a chance to reflect on our lives and from time to time question where we are. One of my chosen charities is the Koestler trust – who offer opportunities for prisoners in all sorts of penal institutions to ‘do art’ and in turn be part of an annual national exhibition, and indeed sell their work to benefit not just them, but their families and institutions. I am very proud to help the trust and those they help.
Throughout my life I’ve been helped and inspired by many people from teachers from primary and secondary school to lecturers in art school. I’ve also done lots of work in the media with communities across the UK and I’ve been constantly inspired by many of the people I’ve met whether in the health, social and education services and local or global industries that put people first. I’ve just had an invitation to the Birmingham Museum and Art Galleries 130th anniversary in a coupe of weeks. I’ve accepted and look forward to being inspired by the artists and craftspeople of the midlands that the gallery showcases. These sort of civic institutions are important to keep alive for the benefit of all our futures.
Finally As the west midlands is such a large county the high sheriff very busy! We have just had the annual justice services in Coventry and Birmingham where the Church and the Judiciary come together to begin their year and this week is remembrance week when many civic events are to be held by the mayors across the region, …… but it all begins tonight here in Hodge Hill.
The awardees and their citations are below.
(Drews Lane Post Office)
Alan will go ‘the extra mile’ for everyone: he cheers the sick, helps both young and old, and always gives quiet, professional advice. He is so caring, understanding, and a friend to many. A great guy!
|Hansa Modhwadia (OneStop and Home & Garden, Maryland Ave)||she is such a lovely lady – she is always very kind, loving and giving, she never has a day off, working 2 jobs 12+ hours a day, and helps people in the area daily|
|Komal (Kay), Rohan (Rowley) & Ben
(Nisa, Bromford Drive)
|polite and kind with everyone; people you can talk to, and who give helpful advice; willing to go the extra mile; outstanding role models for others|
|Rani & Jazz
|For generously supporting community groups with hampers and donations|
(The Raven Pub)
|Vivien holds pensioner tea parties every month at the Raven, particularly for older people who are on their own; this is over and above her paid work at the pub, and includes lots of fundraising too… a very lovely lady|
(Gear-up Bike Shop)
|Has worked so hard and been so committed to the Gear-Up Bike Shop and Social Enterprise, working many hours beyond what he’s paid for, to make sure Gear-Up continues to develop. He is always fixing bikes for local people and has been a real inspiration for a number of young people. He is so good with young people, patient, caring and supportive.|
Reece Kerr (Gear-up)
|Reece was beginning to get into some trouble locally, and missing school, when he started volunteering at Gear-Up. Since then, he’s thrown himself into developing his mechanic skills, fundraising with a 150mile bike ride, and has recommitted himself to school, becoming a peer-coach for other young people. He’s always volunteering and helping people out, he’s determined and never gives up, and has become an inspiration to many.|
Mel Tomlinson (Hunters Moon Pub)
|Mel is always happy, smiley and funny, and hard working too. She is a caring, listening ear for many, helping to pick people back up when they’re feeling down. She’s a ray of sunshine, and a wonderful role model.|
|has worked with Boys Brigade for 39 years in total, 20 years at 52nd in Hodge Hill – loyalty to BB is 2nd to none, commitment and passion for enabling every boy and girl to learn, grow and flourish|
|Rachel Scully, Lorraine Painter, Tracy Blackwell (Boys Brigade)||volunteering at BB on a Wednesday and BB camps and providing transport for competitions and events
(St John’s Ambulance)
|For his commitment to St. John’s Ambulance in Hodge Hill volunteering weekends to staff events and activities. He is a real role model to young people. He is committed to everything he sets his mind to.|
|Diane Candelent (Guides)||for giving many years of service to Brownies and Rainbows at Birmingham City Mission (Bucklands End Lane Church) she dedicates a huge amount of time and energy to the girls and leaders in Hodge Hill|
|She has been leading Girl Guides in Hodge Hill for 27 years, and has also been District Commissioner, join Division Commissioner, and is now also a mentor for new Guide Leaders|
|Tame Valley Academy|
|Marie Turbill-Collinge||driving changes at Tame Valley to make us a ‘greener’ environmental school; all the hard work she has put into community links with Forest School & leading our sustainable schools programme|
|Sharon Densley||commitment to Tame Valley, passion for Forest School and outdoor learning, passion for our wider neighbourhood|
|Helen Hawkeswood & Kerry Williams||they both help at the school every week and with all the fairs and the community events; their outstanding and dedicated effort to help raise money for TVA, tireless in their efforts and put in 150% every time, “I’m so glad to have them by my side”|
|Firs Primary School|
|(young person) calm, tidy, funny, pleasant, kind, helpful, caring|
|Debbie Donaghey, Lisa Moon,
|total commitment to children and families at Firs. The Glue that has held the school together through tough times.|
|In a short amount of time they have transformed Firs. They are committed and believe in the children and the community
(young person) They have made our school a better place to work in.
|Pam Garrington||As chair of governors at Firs Primary School she has worked tirelessly to support the school through quite a tough period. She has remained committed and passionate to children in our community and committed to making sure children get the best experience of education possible.|
|Emelda Allen & Patricia Dublin||following retirement (long-standing lunchtime supervisors), returned to Firs as volunteers, maintaining the school gardens and veg boxes for last 5 years (Emelda also coaches Firs netball team) – “a wonderfully caring nature and community spirit, inspiring for everyone at Firs – we all owe them a big thank you for their hard work and kindness”|
|Olivia Jicmon||Olivia has been a great support in school and the community by translating for us with new parents to school and the country; she is a support for all newly arrived Eastern European families and has helped lots of parents/staff with her translation skills|
|Colebourne Primary School|
|Stuart Guest||Stuart has worked tirelessly over the last 2 years to overturn a disappointing Ofsted Inspection outcome in June 2013. Since then, Stuart has shown great leadership, discernment, drive and expertise in steering the school on a journey of rapid improvement. Colebourne primary was inspected again in May 2015 and was awarded an overall grade of GOOD with elements of OUTSTANDING for leadership & management and pupil behaviour, safety & safeguarding. Stuart’s passion to see children at Colebourne thrive and is always looking at ways to ensure the school engages with the wider community of Hodge Hill, Stuart has shown great skill in leading the school to a place of safety and high quality by building on and not compromising the ethos of inclusiveness, fun, happy environment for children of Hodge Hill to thrive.|
Justine Brennan (Colebourne Primary School)
|Justine has been a volunteer at Colebourne for many years. She has worked very closely with staff, particularly in Early Years, to provide vital support in the classroom. She is a superstar and has devoted a huge amount of time each week, month and year to the children and staff at Colebourne, and has supported countless trips and events. She is always jolly and willing to go that extra mile. She has made a fantastic contribution in supporting the learning of the children.
Someone who restores our faith in human nature – inspiring people across differences of age, ethnic background or faith tradition, and loved by children and parents alike.
(Firs Primary School)
|Dedication to Firs Primary School for over 20 years, giving her all to thousands of children going through the school in that time. Beyond her paid role as a TA, where she’s been a great support to teachers across the school, she has put huge amounts of voluntary time into running before- and after-school clubs, organising and supporting football and netball teams, sports days, fun days and parties. She can always be relied on to get a job done. Despite battles with illness, she is always cheerful and funny, always putting everyone else before herself, and children at the heart of everything. She is popular with children, colleagues and parents alike, and is a shining inspiration to everyone. One fantastic human being!|
SUPPORTING PEOPLE / GOOD NEIGHBOURS
|Oyinkansola Adebayo||For work with young people, and for helping and supporting survivors domestic abuse|
|Clare Maclean||For volunteering with children and young people, supporting the kids club at the Hub, and a whole number community activities and projects|
|Donna Evans||She has been so committed and positive about helping with Firs & Bromford Neighbours Together. She always supports events, hands out the newsletters, helps out with the coach trips, and whilst looking 2 children she finds the time to get involved.|
|George Benton||always helping people, old or young – helping neighbours with grass cutting and tidying up|
|Hodge Hill Church & Open Door|
|Olive Hirons||by keeping going and sharing her lovely personality with everyone she meets|
|Allannah Brennan||a committed member of Hodge Hill Church who has served the church and wider community in many ways over many years|
|Ria Evans||foster carer working hard with the many children who’ve lived with her over some years, and for her passion and commitment to children’s groups at church and in the wider community|
|Penny Hall||She is so committed to so many activities linked to Hodge Hill church and also Open Door. She has volunteered for Open Door on Saturdays and has helped a number of people, and now volunteers every Tuesday too. She is also a board member for Open Door and is so passionate about helping her community.|
|Claire Waller||She has joined our community and has got involved in so many activities particularly supporting open door on Tuesdays, Women’s Group, Cooking group and Community Lunch.|
Elaine Tarpey & Mary Rooney
Firs & Bromford Neighbours Together)
|For their work at Ambridge House, organizing regular entertainment and bingo, day trips out, and buffets for special occasions. For masterminding the transformation of the grounds around Ambridge into a beautiful garden area. For their warm welcome and ongoing support for all the residents in the housing scheme: making new tenants feel welcome straight away, always willing to help and support, visiting, listening, checking people’s medication and helping them attend appointments. Lovely, friendly, reliable ‘angels’, who so many people are grateful to call friends.|
BRINGING NEIGHBOURS TOGETHER
|Juliannah Fadairo||(same reasons for both)
For taking pride in their community, and always inviting people to community activities, and persuading them to stay and get involved
|Jenny Lloyd||for all her hard work in the community, at the Hub and Ambridge and in the wider community; despite battles with her health – giving all her spare energy to help other people|
|Rosemary Richards||A committed member of our community, always friendly and helpful, getting stuck in to Neighbours Together, Community Lunch or Theatre Group, always offering to get involved, and often turning up with some delicious home-baking to brighten up our day!|
|Tim Evans||Alongside juggling demanding jobs, Tim is a committed member of the FBNT partnership, chair of governors at Tame Valley Academy, Chair of the Open Door board and a member of the theatre group. He is so passionate about our community, gives so many hours to making our community a better place, provides so much enthusiasm and vision to initiatives, and if he can he will support whatever is happening.|
(Worth Unlimited @ The Hub, FBNT)
|Paul has lived and worked on the Firs & Bromford estate for about 8 years now, and it’s down to his vision, passion and commitment that The Hub has been transformed from a dodgy cafe into the beating heart of the community. As a youth worker he’s fantastic with local children and young people, but commits himself to so much more in the neighbourhood, always ready to help others.|
|Total Legend!!! She gives so much to her neighbours, her friends and her community. Whether it’s washing the tea towels at the hub, dropping in tea bags and biscuits to add to the pot, doing shopping for her neighbours, organising the food for a church event, collecting prescriptions, going round to visit friends, being there to help friends in need even when she is not feeling well herself, always asking how things are, always wanting to know if you are ok, always offering that word of encouragement and support, always looking on the bright side and trying to see the positive in everything and everybody, praying for people and situations, and just being that faithful wonderful soul that for me is the truest definition of an unsung hero.|
(Firs & Bromford Neighbours Together, Bromford Theatre Group)
|(Flo & Phil are almost inseparable – but we’re going to separate them tonight. Phil, your moment comes a bit later!)
The ‘Queen Mum’ of the Bromford estate, and Chair of Firs & Bromford Neighbours Together. If she says ‘jump’, you’d be wise to ask ‘how high?’. She puts every ounce of her energy, even when her health has its ups and downs, into organising things to make a difference on the Bromford. Her passion is seemingly endless, she seems to never miss a meeting, and she will never take ‘No’ for an answer. People have seen real changes on the estate, for old and young alike, and most of it, in one way or another, goes back to Flo. She is a great person, endlessly giving of her time and of herself.
FUNDRAISING & CAMPAIGNING
|Mary Caddick||Mary gives much of her time and energy to raise money for the donkey sanctuary in Sutton Park. This not only gives a good life to donkeys but gives wonderful opportunities to 200 disabled children each week – learning to ride, growing confidence, developing mobility skills.|
|Stephen McLaren||As well as DJing for local parties and growing lots of vegetables, as part of the FitzRoy community on Coleshill Road, Stephen has been part of the FitzRoy forum since it began, claiming a voice for people with disabilities both within FitzRoy and wider society, fighting for the rights of people with disabilities through participating in demonstrations and campaigns.|
|Outside Matt’s paid work as Director of Crisis Skylight in the West Midlands, supporting homeless people across the region to develop and flourish, Matt has, more locally, been a committed Chair of Governors at Colebourne Primary School, and Chair of the local management group for Worth Unlimited. Over the past year, in memory of his dad, Matt has raised over £10,000 for the British Lung Foundation, running marathons and iron man challenges; running, swimming and cycling his way through triathalons; and cycling the length of the country from Lands End to John O’Groats.|
ARTS & SPORT
|RISE Community Sports|
|Ahsan Ahmed & Kyle Webley||(Ahsan & Kyle) For their contribution to developing sports in our community by volunteering with Rise Community Sports. They are role models to other young people.
(Wesley) One of the lead coaches for Rise Community Sports. He has led the sports project and is always encouraging and supporting young people.
|Bromford Theatre Group|
|Committed and enthusiastic members of Bromford Theatre Group, through all its many performances each year – but also giving their time to support other local community activities, from supporting Open Door Saturday drop-ins (Bob), to looking after children at the Hub (Sophie), to leading donkeys and looking fabulous (Lisa and Rupert).|
(Firs & Bromford Neighbours Together, Bromford Theatre Group)
|“When I think of the Bromford estate, I think of Phil.” He puts his heart and soul into helping the community. He is always there, willing to organise or give a helping hand to whatever is happening. His vision of a Bromford Theatre Group, he’s turned into a reality with boundless energy and creativity. His powers of persuasion to get people involved, his inclusivity, and his ability to inspire people with confidence to have a go, is amazing. The Theatre Group, through pantos and passion plays, ghost walks and Street Nativity Plays, murder mystery nights and much more, has brought people together, generated a steady torrent of fun and laughter, and inspired many both locally and much, much wider. He is a total legend, and one of a kind.|