They are the generally unsung heroes and heroines of the community. But at high noon tomorrow, men and women nominated for Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden’s Local Heroes awards will shine – at a very special thank you ceremony at Blackpool Town Hall.
The overall winners will not be known until the ceremony at the main council chamber tomorrow. But if you would like to play the guessing game read on ... those who have made the nominations prefer to remain anonymous but all have one thing in common: they believe the work of those involved should not go unrecognised in the broader community.
The Local Heroes awards were set up by MP Marsden as the alternative Oscars of community service. “I am delighted with the response each year and can’t praise these men and women enough,” he admits.
“Society would be so much the poorer without them. This is the real big society.”
Sue McGurty: founder of MOSAC, Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde, for abused women and children. Nominators: “Sue has worked hard for MOSAC for more than 16 years, setting up the charity needed so much in Blackpool. She has a lovely caring nature, welcomes everybody, understands and empathises with clients and does not judge in any way. It’s lovely having her around. People feel calm and safe. Sue is our hero.”
Streetlife’s The Base managed by Jane Hugo. Nominator: “This is for a complete group of people. The Base on Buchanan Street provides shelter and support for young people, and none of the staff get a thank you. I think this nomination would make them smile.”
Jim Houldsworth, long-serving local councillor and campaigner for veterans, Blesma and other causes. Nominator: “Jim fights on, despite suffering severe lung disease. He is the first among heroes. He organises Veterans’ Week and has done so for many years. He also does lots of other unrecognised good work for many people in Blackpool. My late husband, who lost both legs after his time on the Burma Railway, knew just how hard Coun Houldsworth worked for veterans and for Blesma. He has also been involved in campaigns to help the children of Chernobyl.”
Desmond Pulford, hard working community campaigner. Nominator: “Des has continuously given up his time and personal expense to help make the lives of the people in his area better. From simple things like a mini lottery to organising social events at the local day centre and leading his local residents association. He has started three separate neighbourhood watch schemes, organises coach trips, has paid for three police bikes, and was instrumental in introducing a No Cold Calling scheme. All this, while not being well himself and caring for his wife.”
Gladys Roystone, caring church volunteer and retired teacher. Nominators: “Some people make the world a better place just by being there. Gladys is one. After a career in teaching, and as a committed Christian, she lives life to the full, even at a fairly advanced age. She deserves to be nominated because of her consistent compassion and care for others.”
Laurance Hancock, inspirational youth leader South Shore. Nominator: “This young man runs the Boathouse Project which helps young people achieve their potential. As a mother, I have seen a massive change through the club and Mr Hancock has given children a new outlook on life.”
Lynda Inglis, organises sports and swimming for the disabled. Nominator: “Lynda is an extremely dedicated lunchtime supervisor at Woodlands School and also runs Blackpool’s Polar Bears swimming club for children and adults with disabilities. She is one in a million!’
Ian Howson, parent, school governor and volunteer. Nominator: “Ian is the adoptive parent of one and foster parent of four. He is actively involved in both Highfurlong and Woodlands Special Schools. He is a governor at both and runs the after-school sports club at Woodlands and a similar Saturday club.”
Vivienne Critchley, Mereside community leader. Nominator: “Viv has just retired as chair of Mereside Tenants & Residents Association. Without her help, many would have been a lot worse off. It’s our loss she has stepped down.”
John Butler, local community leader. Nominators: “A mainstay of the local community for many years. He holds regular meetings and walks around the area almost daily to see what can be done to improve it. He informs the council and ensures that issues are resolved.’
Carole Thaw, community activist. Nominators: “Carole organises the summer programme of Music at the Bandstand in Stanley Park, books bands, gets leaflets printed and makes sure everything goes OK.”
n Local Heroes is sponsored by Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Merlin and Booths.
The presentations will be held at Blackpool Town Hall tomorrow at 11am.