The annual Pride of Andover Awards is set for its 10th anniversary event next week, hosted by Dame Esther Rantzen.
Below you can read about the fourteen amazing nominees that have been supported by their community to become finalists at the event.
Andover First Responders
The Community First Responders are made up of four volunteers providing vital support to the ambulance service. They attend 999 calls, administer medical care, and often, life saving treatment. They run their own scheme, raise money for their equipment and organise cover to ease the pressure on our local ambulance service. These dedicated members are a pillar to our community and very few know who they are.
Darren has used his free time to start a martial arts group for adults and children with learning difficulties. He runs monthly groups as well as 121 sessions at his home. He helps build confidence, in a safe, fun, atmosphere for an often overlooked section of the community all for free. Darren is making a lot of his students’ dreams come true.
A year six teacher at St Johns Baptist School, Anna motivates, inspires and supports all of her pupils to achieve their very best. Her passion is evident throughout the school encouraging students in the choir, plays, trips and their school work. Pupils believe they can achieve anything because Anna believes in them – is is magical to see.
Sarah has volunteered in a 121 role to support a student through his NVQ. Her ability to explain things, show patience and cover a broad range of subjects is invaluable. Sarah helps him to overcome barriers and believe in himself, she doesn’t realise how much of an impact she has had.
Callum’s hard work and commitment to the youth council is astounding. Having embraced and overcome his reservations for public speaking, Callum has addressed large crowds at A-Fest. He is active in all projects and attends and contributes to all meetings. His enthusiasm shines through when speaking to young people letting them know they have a voice. He is a pleasure to work with and is a true ambassador for the council.
After her son was born with Down Syndrome many years ago, Elizabeth was inspired to set up a support group for people with disabilities and their families. This group went on to become Andover and District Mencap which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2014. Her vast experience and knowledge has helped many families improve their lives. Without the drive and determination Elizabeth has selflessly given Andover would not have the wonderful services today.
Janet is an amazing and caring person, volunteering at many events at Knights Enham Church, two children’s groups and has served for 48 years at St Johns Ambulance. Outside of her volunteer duties, Janet also visits people in hospital, makes regular visits to a care home to keep residents company and even supports people recently discharged from hospital, cooking, cleaning and taking care of their home. Janet is a wonderful, caring person with time for everyone.
For over four years the Four Toons have been entertaining people at care homes, retirement homes and senior clubs and in the street all to raise money for charity. Through interaction and music the Four Toons’ light hearted songs and cheerful banter are welcomed everywhere they go.
Nik has volunteered at Andover Young Carers since June 2012. He runs a drop in club at Winton School as well as after school clubs for young people giving them a chance to step away from their responsibilities, even just for a short time. His natural and easy manner make him a dependable and reliable member of the team.
To all her colleagues Donna is Andover Hospital. She wants the best for the people of Andover, making sure their hospital is part of the community. Donna wears many hats, or should that be uniforms, whatever needs doing , Donna will do it. The responsibilities she willingly accepts and the ownership she takes for the hospital is a credit to her. Donna is a very special member of the team and a true linchpin of the hospital community.
Since retirement, Alan has been a volunteer in the audiology clinic at Andover Hospital for ten years. He also goes to nursing and residential homes, checking, servicing, and cleaning residents’ hearing aids. Willow Court Nursing Home also benefit from Alan’s volunteering by organising events and functions. Everyone looks forward to Alan’s visits, especially when he brings in donuts on a Friday.
An ex headteacher, Sheila now uses her free help pupils at Balksbury Junior School. Reading and grammar lessons to year six students are carefully planned and executed to ensure maximum comprehension and she provides all her own resources. During her retirement she also volunteers as a warden at her local church helping the wider community. Her dedication is commendable.
Graeme gives his free time doing volunteer conservation work for Andover at the Anton River Conservation Association, something he has done for 23 years. You will frequently see him taking groups on walks, giving tours around the lakes and rivers on various species of wildlife and their habitats. He also gets involved in litter picks and river cleans and has helped set up a butterfly park which helps with research and development.
Mo has been working in the community for 20 years since his medical discharge from the army. Volunteering for many charities and organisations in Andover, too many to mention here, he has also founded youth projects including Fusion and Rewired. His work has also led to the co founding of Veterans in Action of which he is a welfare officer. Andover radio is another project coming back to the town thanks to Mo. A skydiving business he set up in 2007 aims to raise money for charity and groups. A Veteran in Action, a PTSD survivor, a champion of local causes and an extremely caring man, Mo really is one in a million.