Community heroes in Bedfordshire honoured with High Sheriff awards
She rounded off her year in office by honouring people who had gone above and beyond to help others at the ceremony at Millbrook Village Hall on March 19.
Handing out the awards, Lady Clifford said: “What an extraordinarily wonderful county we have, over my year as High Sheriff I have been surprised, impressed, and often moved by the sheer number of volunteers and people who work tirelessly and selflessly for the common good of their community, with little or no remuneration.
"I am also giving out High Sheriff Certificates tonight. These are given out by High Sheriffs in all the Counties of England and Wales and they are awarded in recognition of great and valuable services to the community. In so doing, they even state that they 'recognise the appreciation of the residents and people of the County for activity and contribution in enhancing the life of the community’.
The winners were:
The Young Person Award for North Bedfordshire
Naima Khanom and Emma Chamberlain, both aged 14 and from Wixams and Shortstown, who raised £2000 in 2022 alone to provide disadvantaged women with sanitary products, painkillers, clothes and hot meals and to help purchase school/ educational necessities such as books, stationery and bags for disadvantaged kids.
They volunteer every Sunday morning for Bedford-based charity, Caring for Humanity.
Young Person Award for Central Bedfordshire
Thea Hunt has created and published almost one years’ worth of magazines targeted at young people and written by young people. Her vision was to create a magazine that amplifies the voice of young people, shines a light on the positive work of young people, and informs young people about issues relevant to them.
Runner up was Paige Taylor.
Young Person Award for South Bedfordshire
Nathan Bailey is just 18 yrs old but he has been volunteering for several years. He developed and is delivering, a training programme ‘Looking After Your Mates’ to give young people the tools to identify when their mates are getting into negative and serious behaviour, to challenge them and support them to move away from this. The Home Office has shown an interest in this project.
Adult Award for North Bedfordshire
Lila Begum is a passionate, hardworking, selfless lady and a pillar of the community for the women of Bangladeshi heritage in the county, and others. She is dedicated to equality for all and has supported women from all backgrounds and cultures, who have been in abusive relationships, initially through her work with the Queens Park Community Organisation.
She has been supporting Bedfordshire Police as a volunteer for over 10 years and is now on the Chief Constable’s Advisory Panel.
Runner Up George Fouhey
Adult Award for Central Bedfordshire
Julie Benson has lived in Clophill for about 60 years. She is a trustee of Clophill United Charities and hands out the welfare money at Christmas. If people cannot come to the church to collect it, she willingly delivers it to their homes. She is a founder member of Clophill Community Care, which involves taking a turn to hold a phone and arranging transport for those in need. She regularly takes people to hospital and doctors appointments. She runs an informal luncheon gathering at the Stone Jug pub to support those who live alone.
Runner up Marjorie Horrell.
Adult Award for South Bedfordshire
Hasina Rahman, who seven years ago created a female-only martial arts club in Luton.
She has worked with Luton Council to bring free self-defence classes to Luton and partnered recently with TeamBeds Luton to start a new project called Her Defence, teaching self-defence sessions in local schools.
Runner Up Dave Richardson of NOAH
Group Awards North Bedfordshire
Country Days is an educational charity providing day courses in a beautiful nature reserve for young people aged 7-11 years in Bedfordshire. It is the brainchild of Ann Hadfield MBE who understood the importance of the natural environment in the lives of young people. They provide days out for children who don’t have such ready access to the countryside, with activities such as campfire cooking, making maps, building a base camp, archery, semaphore, pond dipping and raft building.
Group Award for Central Bedfordshire
Dunstable Wombles are an exceptional group of individuals led by Zoe Riley with a passion for helping their community. They started in April 2021 with the aim of creating a cleaner town.
They work in pairs and collect both general waste and recycling. Between them, they have given over 270 hours of volunteering and have collected over 250 bags of litter!
They have held 11 community events at various locations across Dunstable with an average turnout of 15 volunteers. And they work with the local authority and community groups to support town-wide initiatives, such as supporting the ‘In Bloom Campaigns’ in Dunstable in 2022 by ensuring the judges' routes were clear of litter for both judging days
Group Award for South Bedfordshire
Luton Sikh Soup Kitchen (LSSK) has served over 10,000 meals to disadvantaged communities, and those affected by the cost of living crisis – every Sunday outside of Luton Town Hall from 6pm to 7pm, come rain or shine. This humanitarian effort has been made possible due to the fantastic support offered by the business community. Since Sep 2022, Thurlow Nunn, spearheaded by Paul Tavinor, Simon Reeves and Lynda Bird, has kindly donated a van, fully insured and fuelled for use by LSSK every Sunday. The van has been massively helpful in ensuring the successful running of LSSK. Thurlow Nunn has also donated food parcels.
High Sheriff Certificates
High Sheriff certificates go to Pauline Stepney, iLearn Bedford, Aky Hussain and Ladies of the Luton Sikh Soup Kitchen, Lily Chan, Ernie Bounds, Ampthill Festival, Stan Bentley, Thomas Montague - Youth, Jordan Reynolds, Luton Boxing Academy, Ukie Toones, Changing Lives Forever, Sri Guru Ravidass Sangat Luton, Bosom Pals, Stotfold Twirlers
High Sheriff Certificates - Police – Andrea Breitenbach, Mike Rosato, John Murphy, Rob Cross
High Sheriff Certificates - Fire - Watch Commander Rachel Pothecary, FSM Daisy Byron, FSI Andrew Crossley, FSI Robin Doughty
High Sheriff Certificates - EAAA Dr Halden Hutchinson-Bazely, Dr Nicola Ebbs
High Sheriff Certificates - Coroners Office, Sarah Millett, Karen Weir - Liaison & Diversion Service ELFT