Published: 23:00, 29 March 2014
A couple who lost their son and have campaigned and fundraised tirelessly to help prevent other youngsters suffering the same fate have won the 2014 Pride in Medway award.
The awards were held this evening (Saturday) in the Pilkington Building at the Universities at Medway campus in Chatham.
Roger and Janet Maddams, who five years ago lost their son Jack just days before his 18th birthday, picked up the accolade.
The talented youngster, who had played for Gillingham FC’s youth team, died in his sleep and it was later discovered he had a heart defect.
Since then his parents, from Wigmore, have raised thousands of pounds for Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) to pay for heart screenings to prevent other families suffering similar anguish.
That includes almost £62,000 raised just from a Tour de Kent charity bike ride last year.
Poignantly it was former Gillingham manager and director of football Andy Hessenthaler who presented the couple with their award.
His son Jake had a scare two years ago when, thanks to Roger and Janet’s campaigning, a CRY screening revealed a heart condition.
He was sent for further tests before being given the all-clear and it was Mr Hessenthaler who nominated the Maddams’ for the award.
The timing of tonight’s ceremony is especially apt for the parents as their other son Rob, and his fiancé Anna, have joined them from Nottingham. Tomorrow being not only the sixth anniversary of Jacks untimely death, but also Mothers Day.
Five other inspirational people and groups also received awards on the night, from the event sponsors Medway Council, mhs homes, E.ON, Southern Water, the University of Kent and the Medway Messenger.
They were Major Maurice Bernard, for the Messenger, who has campaigned for a dementia ward at Medway Maritime Hospital since his late wife Dora became ill.
In February he opened the ward, which ensures patients receive tailor-made care, and was nominated for the pride award by Chatham MP Tracey Crouch.
The mhs winner was Caring Hands in the Community, a charity set up by Matthew Guest to help people living on the streets.
Since its humble beginnings, when Mr Guest gave a homeless man a cheese sandwich after he was asked for help, the charity has gone on to support 2,500 homeless people.
It provides 1,500 hot meals and snacks to the homeless each week, as well as showers, laundry services and clothes to 90 visitors each day, six days a week.
Glenda Pay was Medway Council’s winner. The 67-year-old super-mum of Margate Close, Gillingham, has fostered more than 100 children over the last 47 years and adopted four of them, including two girls with Down’s syndrome.
The winner for The University of Kent was Toks Adefuye, a dedicated football coach who spends his time keeping young people out of trouble.
He was put forward for his work over the past year with Health Action Charity Organisation (HACO), which supports young African adults by giving them the chance to play football and keep them off the streets.
Southern Water’s winners are The Friends of Wisdom Hospice, the charity team behind fundraising for the hospice in Rochester, which provides end-of-life care to hundreds of patients each year.
The Friends must raise more than £2,000 every day to continue the level of care provided, and also fund things such as the hairdressing service, which gives patients a much-needed confidence boost, and some equipment and facilities which do not fall within the NHS budget.
A team of life-saving volunteers picked up the last sponsor award.
E.ON chose The Hoo Responders Team, which is made up of 10 people who provide medical aid to those living on the peninsula, while waiting for an ambulance.
Often they are the first on the scene and attend life-threatening incidents like strokes and heart attacks, all in their spare time.
For a full run down of the evening and pictures from the night see Monday's Medway Messenger.
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