Acts of courage, special achievements and community champions were all celebrated as part of the Local Hero Awards.
A packed auditorium (on Thursday, November 28) learned about some truly selfless acts as part of the awards, hosted by Cheshire radio station Silk 106.9 and supported by Cheshire East Council – one of which was the story of an 11-year-old boy who saved the life of one of his two severely disabled brothers.
The quick-thinking actions of Harry Norton, of Macclesfield, were enough to save six-year-old Caymen when he suffered a fit in the back of the family car as their mother, Angela, was driving.
He calmly gave mouth-to-mouth resusitation to rescue Caymen who, along with older brother Reims, 13, suffers from a rare drug-resistant form of epilepsy, which leaves them with autism and physical and learning disabilities.
Harry, who can administer the oxygen his brothers need to survive fits if Angela is not in the room, knows that at any moment an episode could lead to his brothers’ being rushed to intensive care for several months.
Harry said: “Not every 11-year-old has to look after two brothers that can’t talk or walk, or wakes up to his brothers screaming or having seizures. I worry about them both all of the time.”
Harry’s selflessness and ability to help his family has also allowed him to help raise a staggering £80,000 for a children’s charity and the Seashell Trust thanks to his moving speeches and artistic talent.
He has also managed to achieve top marks in his SAT exams, despite keeping a close eye on his family.
The audience also learned how Kenneth Woolley, of Poynton, has given 40 years of his life to volunteering in his community, including being a Special Constable, a volunteer for St John Ambulance and the British Red Cross and also a first responder for the North West Ambulance Service.
The awards took place at the Tytherington Club and was hosted by Silk’s David ‘Ditchy’ Ditchfield along with special guest, Cheshire East Council Mayor Councillor Dorothy Flude, who was one of the judges.
Councillor Flude said: “This was an incredibly inspirational evening and I am delighted to have been invited to present the Pride of Cheshire Award on behalf of Cheshire East Council.
“Our aim at Cheshire East is to be constantly working together to improve community life, and every single one of our award winners has demonstrated those qualities, enhancing the community and the lives of others not once or twice a year but week in week out for their community and those they care for.
“Every nomination we received has been such as shining example to us all of how truly fantastic the people of Cheshire are and we are constantly reminded of the selfless dedication and hard work put in by literally thousands of people, young and old throughout the area.
“I also want to pay tribute to Silk 106.9 for its outstanding contribution to community life, by not only hosting the Local Hero Awards but also promoting local news, sport, businesses and social events. It does a fantastic job and we are fortunate to have it as one of our local radio stations.”
David Flavell, station manager at Silk 106.9, said: “We are immensely proud to host the Local Heroes awards each year and humbled by the many stories we receive by way of nominations from across East Cheshire.
“As we head towards the Christmas season, it is a timely reminder of all that is good in humanity, acts of selfless generosity abound, immense courage often in the face of unspeakable adversity, ingenuity, creativity – the list goes on.
“I’d like to thank all our sponsors, not least Cheshire East Council, our overall sponsor, for their support, without which this very worthwhile celebration of those who contribute so much to our community couldn't take place.”
There were 12 categories in all:
Act of Courage
Winner: Ruby Marlow – Macclesfield
Eight-year-old Ruby has overcome tragic circumstances to retain a very positive outlook on life. She remained in plaster from six weeks of age until she was four, after being diagnosed with hyper-mobility, which causes pain and discomfort in the joints. This hampered her natural development and meant she could not walk straight for some time. Having not often experienced regular contact with her parents, and suffering the death of her mother earlier this year, Ruby continues to have a ‘twinkle in her eye’. She is an active member of Macclesfield Disability Swimming Club and is the club mascot for Macclesfield Academy Cheerleading Group.
Neighbour of the Year
Winner: Zoie McGrath – Macclesfield
Zoie lives at Upton Priory and is said to have brought her whole community together with the generosity of her spirit. She helps by offering food, a cooker to one person who did not have one and arranged a barbecue for her neighbours. She is described as having a ‘big heart’.
Winner: Harry Norton – Macclesfield
An 11-year-old boy who saved the life of one of his two severely disabled brothers and helped to raise £80,000 for charity.
Volunteer of the Year
Winner: Kenneth Woolley – Poynton
Kenneth has given 40 years to voluntary work in his community, including being a Special Constable, a volunteer for St John Ambulance and the British Red Cross and also a first responder for the North West Ambulance Service. He does emergency life support training and has trained more than 1,500 over 14 years and has installed four defibrillators in his hometown and trained 40 people how to use them.
Parent/Guardian of the Year
Winner: Yvonne Farrington/Ian Tomkinson – Crewe
Yvonne and Ian have been foster carers for 15 years, 13 of those were spent caring for children with disabilities. They are soon to adopt a little girl and are described by their nominator as ‘highly-motivated’ and ‘dedicated’ and an inspiration to other foster carers. They have also successfully moved children on to loving, adoptive homes yet remain in touch with them.
Carer of the Year
Winner: Angela Hodder – Ellesmere Port
Angela cared for her mother, Tess, for seven years despite suffering with rheumatoid arthritis, getting up at 6am every day to feed her and tend to her needs. Tess had survived breast cancer but later had liver and skin cancer and suffered severe dementia – but Angela gave up everything, including her job, to spend every day with her mother, allowing her to retain her dignity when NHS support wasn’t always available.
Best Use of Technology in Business
Winner: Axon IT – Macclesfield
A young, expanding company which has increased its number of staff over last 12 months and achieved Microsoft Gold partner status. It has a hi-tech premises in Macclesfield.
Teacher of the Year
Winner: Lorraine Renfrey/Gaye Holmes – All Hallows Catholic College, Macclesfield
This duo’s nominator describes them as going ‘above and beyond’ what might be expected of a teacher, encouraging one pupil to achieve despite adversity.
Young Achiever of the Year (15-25 years)
Winner: Dane Swindells
Dane organises the annual Loominus Festival in Macclesfield and presents the Music Vibe show on Silk FM – some achievement for a young person.
Social Enterprise of the Year
Winner: Andy Lomas – Congleton
Andy is Dane Housing’s neighbourhood director, whose nominator describes his attitude as ‘first rate’ and actions as ‘way above what might have been expected’ when helping a Dane Plus Housing tenant. He makes life much more tolerable for the majority of tenants.
Sports Person of the Year
Winner: Neil Gunn – Macclesfield
A volunteer who has managed the Macclesfield Run England group for the past three years, encouraging others to start running, some who never thought it possible due to illness. He also organises the Macclesfield half marathon, raising thousands of pounds for East Cheshire Hospice and is part of the Macclesfield Harriers.
Pride of Cheshire Award
Winner: Graham Alcock – Sandbach
Graham organises the Sandbach Christmas lights with a small group of volunteers, is the show director of Sandbach Transport Festival and is the chairman of the talking newspaper for the blind and other disabilities in Sandbach.