Published: 10:05, 16 September 2019
| Updated: 14:22, 16 September 2019
Pride in Medway nominations for the 2020 awards are coming in thick and fast.
Already a total of 40 community heroes, charitable organisations and unsung heroes have been put up for the annual awards. Here are the first 12 nominees.
Penny Dyballwas nominated for volunteer of the year.
Over the past 10 months, as part of her work with East Kent Unit for Breast Screening, she has raised £5,000 for the Medway Breast Screening Unit at Medway Maritime Hospital.
Penny said: “When I saw the room the doctors give the diagnoses in, it was just awful.
“So after begging and scrimping I managed to raise enough funds to makeover the room.”
The 68-year-old, from High Halstow, also runs quizzes, singing and arts and crafts for the elderly at Sovereign Court, Orchid Close, Rochester, every Monday.
Fresh from coming second in the UK Signing Choir Competition in Dundee, the choir masters of the Vision Signing Choir have been nominated by eight different people for a Pride in Medway Award.
Karen Clifford, Tom Randall and Penelope Jaques jointly organise the group and teach the sign language.
Karen said: “It just shows what an amazingly great group we have. We’re really close knit and we call each other our signing family.
“I am so grateful we’ve been nominated and we all work really hard so it does mean a lot.”
Mother Sara Hitchen nominated kick-boxing and boxing gym owner Colin Payne.
Thanks to him, many people have overcome mental health issues through training at TKO Gym in Second Avenue, Chatham.
Mr Payne said: “It’s really, really great to be nominated, I didn’t expect it at all.
“We’ve been quite successful at competitions but it’s not about that, we want people to reach their full potential.
“The son of the lady who nominated me has done really well and come on leaps and bounds.”
At just 15 years old, tomboy Molly Wilkin, of Walderslade Woods, has proved the importance of friendship.
She helped her best friend Grace Bassom overcome anxiety and struggles with health disorders, despite suffering from similar disorders herself.
Molly’s mother Julie Wilkins said: “Molly has her own problems but puts them to one side because she feels she has to be strong for Grace.
“They’ve got a really, strong bond - they are closer than sisters. The pair are inseparable.”
From raising awareness about foetal alcohol syndrome to delivering life-saving supplies to flood victims in Yorkshire, Clare Bird has done it all, despite suffering from fibromyalgia.
She said: “I don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t help.
“If something happened to me, all my friends and family would rally round as I have done for others.
“I’m really chuffed. I don’t do this for recognition so it is a bit of a surprise.”
Medway Council Stray Dog Service has been nominated for its work rescuing lost dogs around the Towns.
As well as finding strays and re-uniting them with concerned owners the team runs dog care workshops and initiatives to keep dog poo off the streets.
Jennie Fretwell, who helps run Club Ausome, a group which helps those with autism and learning difficulties, has been nominated for the group’s great care. Since making it to the Pride in Medway finals last year, Club Ausome has been expanding and improving its facilities and services.
She said: “I’m surprised I’ve been nominated. It has been a really tough year for me as my partner was diagnosed with cancer.
“This is so lovely, it has made my day.”
Brian and Mary Sivyer nominated Dr Ashraf Syed from Medway Maritime Hospital after he treated Mr Sivyer earlier this year.
Mrs Sivyer, of Rainham, said: “We could not fault the treatment he gave.
“He came in, saw to my husband, and within a week he was well.
“My husband said ‘that is a proper gentleman’. He was just a lovely man.”
The kind roofers from Premier Roofcare have been recognised for going above and beyond their tiling and fixing duties.
As well as fixing Fort Amherst free of charge when it was vandalised, the company sponsors an Arsenal charity football match for mental health charity Mind, under 11 football team Aylesford Royals and gave a pensioner £100 after he was violently robbed.
Do you know an individual or group who have made a difference in Medway?Why not show your appreciation by nominating them for a Pride in Medway award? Click here to submit your nomination.
Pharmacist Ferride Karson is a Pride in Medway veteran and has been nominated every year for his services.
This year 73 people put him up for an award.
He said: “I want to say a big thank you to everyone.
“This just proves I must be doing something good. This has really made my day.”
Promoter Sharon Jackson has been spreading joy across Medway with her comedy nights. This year the Hoo resident has been nominated for her work to combat foetal alcohol syndrome.
Mrs Jackson said: “The group and I are trying to get pregnancy tests in all the Medway pubs to stop drinking during pregnancy.
“I’m welling up, honestly I cannot believe I’ve been nominated again.”
The Medway Street Angels have been nominated for tireless work to combat homelessness across the Towns.
Organiser Amber Gilbert said: “I’m so glad all 27 of us have been nominated this year.
“We’ve been doing outreach in schools and at charities. We’re trying to break stereotypes and get people off the street, not just support their lifestyle.”
Pride In Medway Sponsors
Every year well-known businesses across the Towns do their bit to help the annual awards be as memorable as possible.
Each sponsor has been allocated a category, from that they will choose their winner.
A representative from each company will use their Medway expertise to help pick out an overall winner.
There is one more space left for the Health and Hospital sponsor so if your business wants to highlight the health providers in Medway click here for contact details.
The Sponsors and their categories are:
More by this authorRachel Dixon