The Darley Dale Town Council Community Awards were created to thank local people who give their time to help others and to celebrate those local businesses who go the extra mile for their customers. 2020 was a particularly challenging year and we are pleased to announce the winners, nominated by you, and say a big "thank you!" on behalf of everyone in the local community.
The Community Business winner was the Sticky Fig whose produce and service had been exceptional this year. They reacted very quickly and effectively to lockdown helping and supporting those who were shielding or could not get to the shop. They supplied much needed essentials and the takeaway service was delicious and good value for money. Most of all they always offer service with a smile and noting is too much trouble.
The Community Project of the Year winner was Jigsaw Foodbank and Cllr Long had been incredibly impressed by the people there who had worked incredibly hard this year. The staff there not only gave up their own time to create parcels they made people feel supported while delivering them. "Their service to us is so valuable to those in need". "lovely people"
The Volunteer of the Year was Helen Emerson who had put in so much effort and time to get people exercising during lockdown. She created new and exciting ways to help get young mums with babies and toddlers moving and ensure that they did not feel isolated. She is committed, very knowledgeable and genuinely concerned for her clients – who range from 20 years old to 80 - bringing them together in a way where friendships are formed.
Teacher of the Year was Andrew Marsh who had become Headmaster of Highfields School in 2018 and his enthusiasm had been evident from the start. However, the reason for this nomination is because of the way in which he has lead his teaching and support team during this most trying of times. From day 1 of isolation, he began video assemblies which included important updates, celebrations of achievements (by pupils, staff, and parents) and encouragement to keep going. The staff were beyond committed to ensuring homework was set, marked, and commented on, some of which was done late at night. This has enabled many to feel connected to a massive part of their children's lives at a time access to it stopped. Many people I have spoken to, continue to be in awe of the positive way in which all the staff are responding to these challenging times. We are mindful that although they too, are also experiencing the same, their dedication to encourage learning and growth for the pupils constantly shines through. It would be fitting for this school to get recognition for the support and encouragement it has, and continues, to offer pupils and parents.
Health and Social Care Award winner was Liz Matthews who runs bereavement services through Ashgate Hospice. Liz and her team provided essential bereavement counselling at a time when people were feeling particularly isolated and vulnerable. Many people across Darley Dale owe her much for giving them support when they most needed. Liz continued to provide her services during Lockdown, using the Whitworth Centre as a base.
Young Hero of the Year winner was George Askew. George has Type 1 Diabetes and has to be checked regularly whilst in school. He is always cheerful and polite and manages his condition extremely well. He copes well with all he has to go through and is a good ambassador for the school, even raising money for the diabetes charity as part of our work in school. He will move to Secondary school next year and will be managing his diabetes more independently which he will do with confidence.
Lifetime achievement award winner was Keith Sheldon. Keith has been with the Darley Dale Brass Band for 72 years and has at times helped to keep it running single-handedly. Keith, every Christmas day heads out to raise money for a variety of charities by playing in the neighbourhood.