THERE were smiles all round as the borough’s unsung heroes were recognised at the annual Solihull Civic Honours awards ceremony.
The event, which is in its eighth year, took place at Solihull council.
The winners were invited to receive their awards from the Mayor of Solihull, councillor Flo Nash, and to meet representatives from local businesses and organisations.
The ceremony also featured a performance by community choir Sing! Bentley Heath.
Silhillians were invited to nominate people who have helped to make the community a better place.
The judging panel of councillors, officers, representation from community groups and the main sponsor were then left with the tough task of reviewing the long list of nominees and selecting this year’s winners.
The Mayor said: “It was a lovely evening and one of the highlights of my mayoral year.
“I was delighted to have been able to meet these marvellous people and to thank them for their dedication, hard work and enthusiasm in helping to make Solihull such a wonderful place to live.
“I am truly honoured to represent Solihull knowing we have so many inspiring citizens who willingly contribute to make this such a strong and caring community.”
The year’s winners are:
The Mayors Award, sponsored by Touchwood: Dr Chithra Ramakrishnan
Dr Chithra Ramakrishnan, founder and artistic director of ShruthiUK.
She has made South Indian classical dance more accessible to those with autism, dementia and alzheimer`s.
Community Involvement Award, sponsored by Birmingham Airport:
Councillor Mohammed Rashid
In the nomination coun Rashid was recognised for going above and beyond what is expected of a parish councillor.
Over the past 17 years spent representing Smiths Wood and Castle Bromwich he has become known for his kindness, support and for tirelessly helping those in need within his local area and in Bangladesh.
Community Involvement Award, sponsored by Xoserve:
Friends of Damson Parks
The group was started because people were tired of the park having no formal pathways.
In April the group completed the public footpath all around the park and have put in flower beds and a sports wall.
Community Involvement Award sponsored by Hogarths Hotel and Restaurant:
Friends of Solihull Station
Over the last two years the group has been working hard to make a huge difference at the station.
Their aims for the future are to provide a sustainable project for the cleared, disused platform.
Creative Arts Award, sponsored by NEC Group:
Stephen and Caroline Bickerton
Stephen took over as chairman of the Peterbrook Players when the company was in difficulty and gave it much-needed attention, passion and love.
This wasn’t a lone operation as he was supported by his wife, Caroline.
After they were nominated for this award, Stephen passed away following a battle with skin cancer.
The award was presented to Caroline, who was accompanied by their four children.
Inspirational Young Person Award, sponsored by Kate and Co:
Mikey has grown up with verbal dyspraxia and he set up Mikey’s Wish when he was 13 to raise awareness of the condition and to raise funds for children with additional needs.
So far he has raised more than £8,000 through non-school uniform days, cake sales, and pub quizzes.
Inspirational Young Person Award, sponsored by Specsavers:
Samuel became a young carer at the age of 10 and helps his family care for his brother, who has ADHD and autism.
Samuel, who has tourette’s, is a peer mentor for Carers Trust Solihull through a Children In Need project.
As well as being involved with a charity supporting families of children with autism he is also a young leader at his scout group and a member of a historical re-enactment group.
Making a Difference for Young People Award, sponsored by Genting Arena:
Lee has bought the community together and was instrumental in the construction of a mock First World War trench on the school site, which thousands of school children have been able to visit.
He also established the school as the first Children’s University learning destination in Solihull which helps young people with extra-curricular learning and helps towards their university application.
Sport Award, sponsored by DM and Co:
Val and Tony Shaw
Val and Tony have dedicated over 42 years to Solihull Swimming Club for the Disabled.
The started off as volunteers and have gone on to be committee members, trustees, and patrons.
They remain active with the weekly sessions by helping out in the pool, acting as stewards, and assisting the lifeguards as well as arranging day trips, holidays and parties for members.
Sport Award, sponsored by Midland Eye:
Paul has been a coach at Solihull Amateur Boxing Club for over 18 years and is a fully qualified as a judge and referee.
Through his outstanding commitment to the coaching of boxing, Paul has instilled the ethics of discipline, respect, and fairness to his charges.