The fifteenth Outstanding Achievement Awards were held at the Marriott Leicester where eight finalists, along with their friends and families, saw four winners announced.
They were called on stage by our sponsors and the host for the evening, Maurice Flynn from BBC East Midlands Today.
Category A - Good Friend, Good Neighbour
Winner - Michaela Garfield
A Thorpe Astley veteran, Michaela epitomises the Achievement Awards category title Good Friend/Good Neighbour.
Over the years she has been the backbone of Hilcot Green, the little 11-house cul-de-sac, helping neighbours through illness and loss.
When one neighbour was diagnosed with terminal cancer, Michaela ensured that the neighbour and her partner could get married. Another neighbour battled cancer and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.
Michaela helped to get a stair lift installed, and when her neighbour’s wife had a stroke she did all the errands to make sure both coped with their situation.
She is the pillar of the Hilcot Green and deservedly a finalist in this year’s awards.
Runner-up - Janet Chapman
Janet Chapman of Huncote has been an incredible support for Louise and her son Jake.
She has lent a helping hand since Louise’s diagnosis of epilepsy six months ago, ensuring with Jake doesn’t have to be alone if any potential seizures happen.
She is there, day or night for Louise and Jake, who have called on her a number of times, which has given Jake confidence to enjoy living in his home without too much worry.
Janet’s loving and caring nature has made life better for her neighbours during an upsetting time. Louise says: “Janet is a mum to me and a Gran to my 11 year old son. She makes us feel safer in our home and environment.”
Category B – Volunteer of the Year
Winner - Betty Saunders
Since 1981, Betty Saunders has been the mainstay of the 26th Blaby Scouts Group. As Club Leader, she has been part of the leadership team for well over three decades.
Her start in the scouts began when her eldest son, Paul, started aged eight as a Cub. Before Betty knew it she was in it for life!
Betty has given Cubs to access to many of the typical Scouting activities over the years, from fire lighting, cooking, map reading as well as having lots of fun and taking part in games.
She is a well-respected member of the Scout movement and also the Community, as she continues to provide opportunities for young people as part of Scouting in Blaby.
Runner-up - Josie Sharp
Josie is a prolific meal maker. In fact, she’s made over 23,000 leading the Commbus Lunch Club over the last 20 years.
The exceptional two-course lunch is served to 30 residents every fortnight. As well as ploughing funds back into Commbus, the lunch club is a vital service, preventing isolation and loneliness for some of the most vulnerable members of the community.
Josie always makes sure the meal is hot to ensure it’s good, hearty food to those who make it to the club.
Without her commitment, her effort and the thousands raised from the lunch club over the years, many elderly people would remain isolated in their homes, and the Commbus service might not exist.
Category C – Young Achiever of the Year
Winner - Emma McCarron
The courage, inspiration and fundraising skills of 13-year-old Emma are just some of the reasons she’s here tonight.
Emma’s father Michael is currently battling the cancer for the third time. She began raising money for Hope Against Charity, the charity working at the Leicester Royal Infirmary. Since April she has raised an enormous £5,100 for the charity.
One of the most important things Emma has achieved was talking to her peers at Brockington College, leading an assembly to talk about the work undertaken by Hope Against Cancer, speaking to over 1200 students.
Emma positivity is helping keep her family in their fight with cancer, and she is someone we should all look up to.
Runner-up - Jack Wheeler
Overcoming adversity at any age can be a daunting task, but for Jack in a critical year for his education, it’s been an even tougher ride.
Jack suffers from the sleep disorder Narcolepsy and Cataplexy, which can cause partial or total loss of muscle control.
His condition hasn’t stopped him from an incredible amount of volunteering at his school, getting brilliant GCSE results and living out dream trips, raising over £2500 to fund a trip to India with the World Challenge in July.
His father, Simon, proudly says of him: “Jack is a true inspiration to me as I do not think I would have the can do attitude that he has taken in life.”
Category D – Best Community Group, Community Achievement
Winner - Commbus
For some villages, Commbus is one of the most important support networks needed to ensure elderly and disabled residents manage to get around in the district. All this for a voluntary organisation!
The service has been running for over 26 years with door-to-door transport is provided over three minibuses.
The service helps elderly residents keep their independence. Some describe it as a “lifeline” and a chance to make and maintain friendships. As a voluntary organisation, costs such as maintenance, insurance and fuel and ensure that funding the service is a challenge that the volunteers overcome.
There can be no doubt that few community groups have as big an impact on the older residents in the District of Blaby than Commbus.
Runner-up - Thurlaston Carnival Committee
It’s not often that small villages come together and organise a carnival in 2018. It’s even rarer when the village is less than 1,000 residents. Yet, almost unbelievably, this has been the case in Thurlaston for 47 years!
For nearly half a century, the Thurlaston Carnival Committee has worked tirelessly to organise an event that the village and the district can be proud of. Their efforts have led to raising tens of thousands of pounds for local village groups over five decades.
The carnival creates a feel good atmosphere and buzz in the village and 47 years of organising goes to show its popularity is nowhere near waning yet.