VIDEO: Plenty to be proud of at the Pride in Dacorum Awards 2014
The borough’s best, brightest and bravest all gathered under one roof on Friday for the third annual Pride in Dacorum Awards.
The bash at Tring’s luxury Pendley Manor Hotel welcomed tens of people who had been nominated by our readers for an array of titles including Young Achiever and Fundraiser of the Year.
The event included a three-course dinner and was sponsored by Dacorum-based businesses including KK Law, Discount Tyres, Asda Hemel Hempstead, the Pauline Quirke Academy, West Herts College, Positive Steps Day Nursery, the Hemel Hempstead Trophy Shop and the Dacorum Community Safety Partnership.
Presented by the Gazette and its sister newspapers’ group editor David Summers, the ceremony celebrated the people which make Dacorum such a great place to live.
Following a stellar musical performance by youngsters from the Hemel Hempstead Pauline Quirke Academy, all manner of community stalwarts were welcomed on stage to collect their awards.
The winner of the Care in the Community award was retired headteacher Denise Chennells, who goes out of her way to run a breakfast club for the elderly, raise funds for Guide Dogs UK and is also an active supporter of the Cats Protection League, the St John Ambulance and the Red Cross.
The multi agency-led ThinkSafe Project won the Service with a Smile award for its courses helping adults with learning difficulties in the community.
Young carer Grace Huxtable, aged just 17, has been caring for her mum and brother for more than half her life and chairs the Young Carers Council. She was chosen as the recipient of the Young Achiever Award.
Following on from Grace’s award was another young person who won the award for Inspiring a Generation.
Mia Ward, who has been profoundly deaf since birth, has delivered training about deaf awareness to multiple organisations. Earlier this year Mia secured £1,700 of funding from Starbucks Community Fund to continue to change people’s perception about deafness.
She said: “I’m still in shock, I’m so happy I won the award. It’s not just my award, it’s everyone’s award. I didn’t really expect it.”
The night’s performers the Pauline Quirke Academy were awarded the Excellence in Education award for their hands-on approach to teaching the performing arts to children in the borough.
The founder of Hemel Hempstead-based international aid charity Hope for Children was chosen as the winner of the award for Raising the Profile of the Town.
Dr Robert Parsons MBE and OBE was not present on the night to collect the award, but his work to help families torn apart by civil and natural disasters in continents across the globe, as well as in the local area, was recognised for putting his hometown on the map.
A touching moment in the evening was when the Outstanding Example of Bravery winner Vince Herrera-Leon welcomed Peter Roberts – whose life he saved when he had collapsed after a cardiac arrest on Vince’s doorstep – to the stage to help him accept the award.
First aid-trained Vince, who acted in just a three-minute window to save Peter, said: “This is a great achievement and I’m really thankful for the nomination. It wouldn’t have been possible without Peter here.”
The Hemel Hempstead Lions Club, which runs a bookshop in the Marlowes Shopping Centre to raise funds for a variety of good causes, won the Fundraiser of the Year.
Finally, Margaret Sharp who has supported carers in the community since her own husband suffered a stroke, was named the borough’s Unsung Heroine.
The Gazette would like to say a huge thank you to all who nominated, the sponsors, finalists and winners in this year’s Pride in Dacorum Awards.