Community hails its unsung heroes

Blackpool mayor Coun Joan Greenhalgh (front) with (from left), Susan McGurty, John Butler (nominee), Julia Seaton (judge), Coun Jim Houldsworth (winner), Gordon Marsden MP, Rev Christopher Wren (judge), Lynda Inglis (nominee), Des Pulford (winner), Kevin Winckley (judge), Laurance Hancock (nominee), Blackpool mayoress Mrs Pat Dimuantes, Carole Thaw (nominee) and Vivienne Critchley (nominee).
Blackpool mayor Coun Joan Greenhalgh (front) with (from left), Susan McGurty, John Butler (nominee), Julia Seaton (judge), Coun Jim Houldsworth (winner), Gordon Marsden MP, Rev Christopher Wren (judge), Lynda Inglis (nominee), Des Pulford (winner), Kevin Winckley (judge), Laurance Hancock (nominee), Blackpool mayoress Mrs Pat Dimuantes, Carole Thaw (nominee) and Vivienne Critchley (nominee).
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Unsung heroes in the community were honoured at a special town hall ceremony.

Residents who selflessly dedicate their lives to helping others were put in the spotlight during Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden’s Local Heroes 2011 awards.

Eleven people – from charity workers to community activists – were nominated for an award and the judges had a tough job picking four prize winners.

Judge and Blackpool FC legend Jimmy Armfield said: “They were all very good nominations. There are a lot of people in Blackpool who do a lot for the community.”

Susan McGurty, who co-founded MOSAC – a charity to support abused women and children, was crowned the overall winner.

Mrs McGurty said: “I was so overwhelmed, I was shocked. It’s a really big honour. I wouldn’t be able to do this without the support of my family.

“It’s wonderful. We are a team, it’s all about team working.”

MOSAC, based on Topping Street, was set up on the Fylde coast around 16 years ago.

Mrs McGurty, who experienced child sexual abuse in her own family, said: “It’s a need, a drive of mine to help people. It’s because I understand how they feel. The survivors have a right to be protected.”

Another deserving winner was Marton councillor Jim Houldsworth for his role as a long-standing Blackpool councillor and veterans campaigner.

Presenting his award, Mr Marsden said: “He is someone who has always worked hard for Blackpool and continues to work despite ill health.”

The team award was presented to Streetlife, which provides shelter and support for young people in the resort.

Community campaigner Des Pulford, from South Shore, was also recognised for “continuously giving up his time and personal expense to help make the lives of the people in his area better”.

Mr Pulford, a neighbourhood watch co-ordinator, was instrumental in introducing the ‘no cold calling’ scheme to cut down on doorstep crime.

He said: “I love my neighbourhood and the people. There are many people who put in so many hours helping the community for free.”

Mr Marsden added: “There are a lot of unsung heroes in the community.”