THERE were smiles all round as the borough’s unsung heroes were recognised at the annual Solihull Civic Honours awards ceremony.
The winners were invited to receive their awards from the Mayor of Solihull, Councillor Stuart Davis, and to meet representatives from local businesses and organisations.
The ceremony also featured a performance by community choir Shirley Community Gospel Choir.
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 longlist of nominees and selecting this year’s winners.
The Mayor said: “This event is truly one of the highlights of my mayoral year. I am privileged to represent a borough that contains such marvellous people as those that have won an award tonight.
“I want to thank them for their devotion and enthusiasm that in turn makes Solihull such a wonderful place to live.”
This year’s winners are:
The Mayor’s Award, sponsored by Touchwood: Dr Carol Wood
Dr Wood is has dedicated over 15 years to the Solihull based charity, ReCOM, which delivers IT training to help disadvantaged residents get online and keep in touch with friends and family and increase employment prospects.
As chair of ReCOM she has herself raised much-needed funds for the charity’s work and developing its services to meet the needs of local people.
Individual Community Involvement Award, sponsored by Midland Eye: Derek Churchard
Derek lives in Kingshurst and runs several Facebook pages and groups, including Friends of Babbs Mill.
On top of this, he organises and leads regular clean-up events within his beloved Babbs Mill Local Nature Reserve, with the help of LoveSolihull and other community groups.
Individual Community Involvement Award, sponsored by Kate and Co: Lesley Lamb
Lesley has been a volunteer at Bosworth Community Centre in Chelmsley Wood for over 10 years and gives an enormous amount of her free time to the centre, coming in on Christmas Day to cook a full Christmas dinner those who do not have anywhere else to go.
She heads a lunch club every Thursday and not only prepares but cooks a two-course meal to help combat isolation and loneliness in the area.
Individual Community Involvement Award, sponsored by Resorts World Arena: Paul Raymer
Paul has lived in Marston Green for over 50 years and has been a Lay Preacher at St Leonards for 40 years.
He is also the editor of Talking Times, a monthly Marston Green community news sheet, which gives those who are not online information about local events.
Group Community Involvement Award, sponsored by John Lewis: Solihull Mums and Dads
Annette Hulme, Stacey Lintern and Danielle Collinson began Solihull Mums and Dads as a place to share parenting advice within their friendship groups.
Over time they became aware of how many parents in the local area were struggling without support networks, so they decided to make the Facebook page public so that other parents going could access support and begin to forge friendships like their own.
Group Community Involvement Award, sponsored by Hogarths: Age UK Solihull
This was handed over in honour of all 279 volunteers at Age UK Solihull who have dedicated more than 24,000 hours helping 3,500 residents in the borough in the past year.
Initiatives include Community Advice Hubs at The Core and Chelmsley Wood, directing people to advisers and a befriending service.
Group Community Involvement Award, sponsored by Specsavers: Knowle, Dorridge and Bentley Heath (KDBH) Neighbourhood Forum
The volunteers who formed the group in 2015 set out on the task of creating a Neighbourhood Plan which was approved by the community earlier this year.
The plan sets out as policy those principles for land use, development and infrastructure which the community has prioritised.
Creative Arts Award, sponsored by The NEC Group: Isabel Baumber
Isabel is the administrator for the choirs of St Alphege Church in Solihull and is referred to lovingly as ‘Choir Mum’.
She organises all aspects of choir-life, encourages the children and works behind the scenes to make the choirs a success.
Inspirational Young Person Award, sponsored by Xoserve: Freya Webb
The 17-year-old is a carer for her father who has Arthritis.
She has been his carer since she was six and when she isn’t studying for her A-levelsm she helps her dad when her mum is at work and has a paper round to help support her family financially.
Freya is also a young leader at a care group and has helped other young carers as well as coaching children in long jump at her local athletics club.
Making a Difference for Young People Award, sponsored by Birmingham Airport: Corinne James
Corinne has been a member of the governing body of Marston Green Junior School for over 30 years.
She has seen the school through difficult and challenging period of special measures and has remained a steadfast supporter until the school was awarded Outstanding in 2012.
Sport Award, sponsored by DM and Co: Sarah Adams
For the past six years, Sarah has been the event manager and main organiser of the annual Solihull Marie Curie Cycle rides which have raised huge amount for the Marsh Lane hospice.
She has also personally set up and now runs the women’s cycling group Red Kite Belles which promotes cycling for women by organising two weekly cycle rides for beginners.