What a night! Emotional night as our community heroes receive awards

HEROES who work tirelessly to for their communities right across the borough have received recognition awards from the Mayor in a special ceremony.

A total of 19 individuals and groups received recognition at the annual Mayor’s Community Achievement Awards held at the Civic Centre in Redcar at a packed event last night, Wednesday 27 March.

Winners included an 82-year-old woman who volunteers to look after elderly people after years of fostering babies, a couple who set up a ‘Good Life’ to take people who allotments to enjoy the outdoor life and the person behind Seaside Sid, the famous Marske mascot who brings cheer to people and recognition to the community.

Speaking at the ceremony, Mayor of Redcar and Cleveland Cllr Malcolm Head said: “These awards recognise the hard work and dedication of voluntary groups or individuals, working in the community of Redcar and Cleveland, whose efforts go largely unnoticed and unsung. It is a great pleasure and honour to give these much deserved awards and there are no losers tonight – everyone here will receive an award. The biggest winners, of course, are the residents of Redcar and Cleveland, they are the ones who benefit from what you all put back into your local area, so thank you.”

The winners, all nominated by councillors, were:

1.Saltburn Valley Garden Volunteers

The volunteers, currently numbering 12 in total, come together every week to support the reclamation of the unmaintained Saltburn Valley Gardens, on behalf of the Saltburn community and to aid the Council in returning Saltburn Valley to a well loved and cared for community area, reflecting its history and providing access to the local environment for residents and visitors.

2. Coastwatch Redcar

Coastwatch is a team of voluntary watch keepers and trustees dedicated to saving lives by supporting the Coastguard. It is part of the Sea Safety Group, which has stations along the East Coast and is operational 7 days per week, 365 days a year. Their dedication to this vital role in safeguarding our beautiful coastline cannot be overstated. These selfless individuals not only offer immediate assistance to those in distress, but also play a crucial role in monitoring shipping vessels, reporting environmental concerns, and alerting the authorities to suspicious activities. They also recently received the Kings Award for Voluntary Service.

3. Hilary Greenwell and Becky Peirse-Pallister

Hilary and Becky are both Ladies of Steel Volunteers. Among the many things they do for their local community is the Youth Club, which is vitally important. Hilary has volunteered at the Youth Club for 17 years and Becky 10 years.  Between them they have given almost 3,000 hours to the children of Dormanstown. They play games, do arts and crafts, and talk to the children with kindness and compassion, a shoulder to cry on if needed. They teach boundaries and social skills and have earned the respect of the children and parents alike. Dormanstown is a better place because of these two ladies.

4. Paul and Shirley Profit

Paul and Shirley had an idea to create a community garden and allotment for the elderly residents. The idea was to help those who are not normally able to engage or go outdoors. After many bumps and barriers, the “Good Life Community Project” was born with two allotment sites at Warrenby. They offer a safe space and free workshops to Dormanstown residents, using their own vehicle to pick up and drop off residents who can’t make it on their own. They have sourced funding to expand further, with a classroom hut being built by local residents.  They full deserve recognition for all their hard work.

5. Richie Kerr-Morgan

Richie helps to run the new Eston Market as a volunteer, organising and doing the admin and helps run charity events. He has also set up a wellbeing afternoon in a local café to support mental health.

6. Eston Remembrance Committee

The committee was established in 2018 and consists of veterans and members of the local community. They work with the military, emergency services, cadets, youth groups and local schools etc to put on an annual remembrance parade, which is streamed live on social media, reaching around the world. Two murals have also been produced with ideas from the local community, designed and delivered by local artist Phil Meadows, funded by local businesses. The committee has also taken ownership of a piece of land in Eston square creating a memorial garden for use by the community. They also worked in partnership with Falck to have a defibrillator fitted in Eston Square.  

7. Whale Hill Community Centre Volunteers

The volunteers have been serving the local community for the past 40 years.  Covid made a massive difference to how the centre operated, but the volunteers have managed to open 365 days a year to feed people from their daily food deliveries and the food bank. The Centre has a ‘Warm Space Session’ and a ‘Remember When Session’ which brings in a lot of vulnerable and elderly people, there’s a mental health group for young people, as well as bingo and a community choir, which is performing tonight at the Awards.  

8. Joe Parker and Justin Holt from Grangetown, 

The Grangetown United Community Hub provides thousands of children, young people and adults, the opportunity to enjoy a wide range of activities, to celebrate family and community events and receive much needed support.  Without volunteers like Joe and Justin a lot of this work would not be possible. They help carry out maintenance jobs such as mending and painting fences and keeping the outside area clean.They also recycle old furniture, which would have ended in landfill, repairing and updating it, selling affordable furniture to the community. The money is then reinvested back into the project.

9. Abi Hedges of Blank Canvas

Blank Canvas is a Christian organisation based in St Hilda’s Church.  They work mostly with 11 to 16-year-olds within the Kirkleatham area, offering a space to do their homework after school, with warm food.  They also run a youth club, where the young people can play and be themselves. They seek to identify the barriers that young people are facing locally every day and hopefully equip and support them to overcome them. Abi and her team are doing so much to give young people a better chance and a different outlook to what they can achieve in these difficult early steps of adulthood.

10. Lynne and Stephen Nicholls

They say all good things must come to an end and, sadly, this is the case with Coastal View & Moor News, our truly local paper.  For almost 14 years, the East Cleveland area has had the bonus of this copious publication, full of local news and information, delivered free of charge to the door.  For a two-person team to keep this publication going, month after month, has been a truly Herculean task. No one can deserve their retirement more than Lynne and Stephen. They are two local heroes who have kept East Cleveland on the map.

11. Elizabeth (or Libby) McDonald

Libby is an outstanding member of the community. For years, she’s been absolutely committed to keeping Eston, Normanby, and the Eston Hills clean. She goes out most days on her own, with a bag and grabber in hand and walks around the area, picking up rubbish from here there and everywhere. She’s also very involved in the community in Normanby, particularly with the Neighbourhood Action Partnership meetings. She’s very supportive and genuinely gives her all for the betterment of the community.Libby is fully deserving of an award.  

12. Saltburn Athletic (Junior) Football Club

Established in 1998 the club was founded by four local Police officers, three of whom are still with the club, Chairman Dave Sadler, Secretary Andy Croll and Under 13 coach Tim Raynes. The primary aim of the project was to offer youngsters a healthy and safe local pursuit, to develop themselves as individuals in a safe, pressure-free environment. To give children of all abilities the opportunity to participate in and enjoy football and make new friends.  All who are associated with the club are volunteers. Over the years, numbers multiplied, and the football club now has teams, aged from under 7 to under 14, as well as a pre league starter group called “little kickers”. The club also has its own ground and clubhouse at Hob Hill and is self-funding.  The volunteer coaches, encourage the development of teamwork and discipline with the youngsters.

13. Sharon Newsome 

Since moving to the area Sharon has been heavily involved in many community projects and groups. She has held the position of committee secretary for the Friends of Skelton Wildlife Pond, dedicating huge amounts of time and energy volunteering to help regenerate the wildlife pond and surrounding area. She is also a volunteer for 1st Skelton Scouts and a volunteer director of Redcar Junior Parkrun. Lastly Sharon is also a volunteer for the local litter pickers.  In general, Sharon and her family really are an absolute credit to our community.

14.  Skelton Villages Civic Pride 

The group have a weekly coffee morning in Skelton Civic Centre with delicious cakes and savouries made by volunteers.  The weekly coffee morning is well attended, particularly by older residents and helps combat social isolation.  Funds raised by the coffee morning are used to purchase spring bulbs and summer flowers in the tubs around the Skelton villages.  Volunteers from the group plant up the tubs and weed them & generally care for them. The flowers really brighten up the villages and help encourage a sense of pride in the community.  

15. South Bank Events Group - are all volunteers who put on affordable events for the community of South Bank.  Easter Parties and Games, Best of British afternoon tea, Summer Carnival Rides, Halloween and Christmas events. All organised by a small, dedicated team focused on giving the best value for the residents of South Bank and the TS6 area as a whole.

16. Tees Valley Women’s Centre

The centre is a pioneering grass roots project a one stop-shop for women in a safe non-judgmental environment helping support the wellbeing of women, improve their quality of life by supplying one to one support, advice & guidance, training, and education along with employment opportunities, helping tackle social exclusion. 

17. Glynis Rodgerson - started volunteering in 2009 after working as a carer in Marske Hall for years. Glynis supports the residents to access the community, enjoy activities within the home and is a founder member of the homes fundraising committee, assisting in raising thousands of pounds over the years. What makes this 82-year-old even more remarkable is that not only has she dedicated her life to caring for the residents at the home, but throughout her life has shown care and compassion in numerous other ways. As a young mother, she opened her home and heart to foster 62 newborn babies who needed looking after, before they were adopted, many of these she has kept in touch with over the years. She is a real inspiration and an amazing support to our community.

18. Ged Burns - This year Ged will be celebrating 10 years of Volunteering at Marske Hall. He is one of the most active, reliable, and well-loved volunteers at the home. He turns his hand to everything from driving residents on holiday, to appointments and events; supporting them to participate in activities; befriending residents for one-to-one support (including supporting a resident to attend Boro games despite being a Man United supporter!); assisting with the gardens as well as being a key member of the fundraising committee, raising thousands of pounds to support residents’ activities and enhance their quality of life.

19. Seaside Sid

Seaside Side is  the brainchild of Debi Large from Marske. He brings a smile to everyone’s faces, be it as a mascot at the football matches, walking in the Christmas parade, fundraising for the club and even gaining Marske by The Sea national media attention when he trained for and ran in the Mascot Gold Cup at Wetherby racecourse.  He even has his own stickers and various merchandise, a Facebook page and his videos are great to watch. This all brings much needed funds to Marske United, which many of you will be aware, have had a difficult season due to the cost of upgrading their home ground their success brought about as they rose through the leagues, and greater demands were put on them to comply with league standards.

Music was provided by Eston choir The Local Vocals.