Last chance to vote for your Skegness Standard Champions

Skegness Standard Community Awards winners at Butlins in 2015. ANL-160621-162445001
Skegness Standard Community Awards winners at Butlins in 2015. ANL-160621-162445001

The last chance the submit postal votes for this year’s Standard Champions is in tomorrow’s Skegness and Spilsby editions.

Sixteen special people or groups have been chosen as finalists and were revealed last week.

Over the past few weeks you have been sending us your nominations - and now we need your votes to decide the winners.

Finalists in the eight categories - Youth Achiever, Salty’s Child Achiever, Senior Achiever, Carer Award, Top Teacher, Community Spirit, Customer Care and Sports Person/ Sporting Achievement - are featured in a four-page special feature.

All you have to do is read their stories and why they have been nominated and vote for who you would like to win by filling in the coupon provided.

The winners and runners-up will all be invited to a prestigious awards ceremony on Thursday, July 7, at Butlin’s resort in Skegness.

Winners will receive a trophy and a bottle of bubbly (or age appropriate drink).

OUR STANDARD CHAMPIONS FINALISTS

YOUTH ACHIEVER

EVIE TOOMBES

Evie Toombes (14) is a beautiful teenager from Skegness who hides her disability through her love of riding and amazing achievements as a para showjumper.

She is currently raising money to build a wet room in her horse box by giving talks on living with lower leg weakness and bladder and bowel issues .

Her nominator was overwhelmed by the way Evie not only deals with her disabilities, but shares her story with others to encourage them to follow 
their dreams.

In an interview with the Skegness Standard, she said: ”It’s about finding that thing you love doing so much you want to find a way whatever you’re dealing with.”

Incredibly last summer Evie won the National Junior para showjumping grade III title, despite complex surgery, and aims to compete in the next Paralympic games.

LEN’NEE SIMPSON.

Len’nee is a big-hearted teenager who raises money for the Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre to make sure other children less fortunate than himself have a wonderful holiday in Skegness.

He raised enough money at a Christmas disco he organised at Skegness Junior Academy to buy five Derby County quilts for a bedroom that was being decorated in time for the first visitors at Easter.

This year the Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre is celebrating its 125th anniversary and Len’nee led the rest of the town in making the children’s time in Skegness as special as possible.

His nominator said: “It’s amazing that he is so young and yet he takes time out of his own childhood to help others.”

SALTY’S CHILD ACHIEVER

RHIANNA HALL

Rhianna Hall set out to make Pudsey Bear proud by completing a two kilometre swim to ‘Be A Hero’ on behalf of the BBC charity appeal.

The swim involved 80 stamina-sapping lengths of the Embassy Swimming Pool.

Rhianna, who is nicknamed Boo, started swimming aged eight, trained hard for several weeks with swimming coach Ashley Broom.

A pupil at Giles Academy in Old Leake, Rhianna has achieved Amateur Swimming Association stages one to seven and has started the Rookie Lifeguard qualification.

In an interview with the Skegness Standard, she said: “I would really like to help children who are less fortunate than myself to have a better life. I am very lucky to have a lovely family and lots of friends and I could not imagine what it would be like to be a child in need.”

Her nominator said: “Rhianna swims like a machine and is so determined when she decides to do something. She has a very bright future.”

SKEGNESS JUNIOR ACADEMY

Skegness Junior Academy collected an incredible 628 teddy bears in the space of a week for children from Syria and Malawi.

Space had to be found in the library for all the cuddly toys which were provided for the 2015 Teddy Trust Appeal.

Some of the pupils also sent heartfelt letters to accompany the teddies on the journey to their new homes.

Mckenzie Mollitt told the Skegness Standard: “I am sending you my teddies to snuggle up to when you are tired and squeeze it if you feel alone and hold it if you are far from home.”

The nominator said: “Children understand how teddies can put a smile on your face when you are feeling sad, scared or alone, which is why so many of the pupils wanted to donate teddies to those less fortunate.”

SENIOR ACHIEVER (sponsored)

APRIL GRUNNILL

Long-standing Skegness Lifeboat volunteer April Grunnill has played a central role in raising the money for a new Shannon Class Lifeboat that will arrive on station in 2016.

For many years the dedicated supporter has been the face of the RNLI in Skegness, not just through her fundraising but by taking care of the crew at the station, engaging with the local community and supporting the work of the organisation.

Her nominator said: “Nothing is too much effort for April and she can often be found in the town talking to shop owners about the RNLI, and emptying the many collection boxes that she has successfully placed in the community.”

She was recently honoured with the British Empire Medal (BEM) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

EILEEN BARK

Eileen retired in January as parish clerk for Firsby Group Parish Council but still remains parish clerk for Thorpe St Peter Parish Council at the age of 82.

Before her retirement she was at the heart of five communities for 42 years and was regarded as the ‘person in the know’ in Bratoft, Firsby, Great Steeping, Irby in the Marsh and Little Steeping ever since the parishes merged in 1973 to form Firsby Group Parish Council. Over the years she has dealt with everything from residents’ concerns about the roads and potholes to planning applications and publishing a newsletter.

Her nominator said: “Eileen has done a brilliant job for her age. If anyone in any of the villages wanted to know something we always knew Eileen would have the answer.”

CARER AWARD

DEE WOOD AND SUE NOBLE (Young at Heart Group)

Christmas came early in Skegness for the town’s senior residents who preferred to have fun rather than face another year with too much time spent alone in their homes when friends Dee Wood and Sue Noble launched the Young at Heart Group.

They put forward a business plan to Waterloo Housing and hoped the venue at the Lancaster Lounge in Barrett Court would become a community hub for people who feel lonely and isolated.

However, in spite of a setback when the restaurant closed shortly after the group started, they relaunched once more in the spring with a huge response.

Their nominator said: “It was a disappointing start for them but they were not to be beaten. They offer something different and don’t have an age limit. A lot of people feel lonely and isolated and the group helps them come together to socialise.”

JULIE ASHTON (Respiratory case manager)

Last August Julie Ashton, a respiratory case manager nurse, was awarded the prestigious title of Queen’s Nurse by community nursing charity The Queen’s Nursing Institute.

The title was not an award for past service, but indicated a commitment to high standards of patient care, leadership and learning.

Ms Ashton, a respiratory case manager based at County Hospital in Louth, is now the 19th Queen’s Nurse at Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust (LCHS).

She has notched up 35 years’ service in the NHS, starting her career at the tender age of 18 when she became a state enrolled nurse. Seven years later she became a registered general nurse.

Her nominator said that for the past 30 years she has been working in the community, supporting patients who are acutely ill or coming out of hospital.

TOP TEACHER

KARL CRAWFORD (lecturer Toynton All Saints Linkage College)

Linkage lecturer Karl Crawford has inspired students with his combination of motorbikes and Functional Skills and has brought more than 12 awards to Linkage College.

His nominator said he brought in the idea at Linkage’s Toynton All Saints campus of encouraging students to build motorbikes, using Maths, English and IT skills and entered the final product in the National Youthbike Competition.

In 2014, it won five trophies but went two better in 2015 with a haul of seven. The project involved students in both Linkage campuses at Grimsby and Toynton.

CAROLINE WELLSTED (headteacher The Richmond School, Skegness)

Headteacher Caroline Wellsted has been taking the stress out of tests for her students at The Richmond School in Skegness.

She took over as headteacher in January after being deputy head at the school for 10 years.

Her nominator said that in spite of the day to day tasks of running the school, she is very hands-on and added: “If there is a shortage of staff you may find her in reception - she gets involved with every aspect of the running of the school.”

Mrs Wellsted believes children have one chance at learning and aims to be more creative with the curriculum, so children are inspired to learn and are not feeling under pressure when taking tests.

As well as making improvements to the learning environment, each day begins with children running and walking a mile before class.

Not surprisingly the school are now county volleyball champions.

COMMUNITY SPIRIT 
(Sponsored)

PAUL MARSHALL (Coastal Access for All)

Paul Marshall leads a band of volunteers in not only keeping the beaches around Skegness free of litter but also campaigns to see a coastal path re-opened and make the coast more accessible to the disabled.

His nominator said he can often be seen leading his group Coastal Access for All in Ingoldmells, Winthorpe and Skegness clearing the beach ready for the arrival of holidaymakers, in spite of being in a mobility scooter and suffering arthritis.

More recently the pensioner has also worked with Gibraltar Point Nature Reserve and Lincolnshire County Council to get a new disabled-friendly kissing gate installed at the reserve’s Beach Car Park.

ST ANDREW’S CHURCH, SAUSTHORPE, VOLUNTEERS

Earlier this year the community in Sausthorpe took the brave step of committing to a 10-year debt of thousands of pounds to secure repairs to a historic landmark enjoyed by hundreds of people passing through the Wolds on their way to the coast.

Repairs to the slate church roof of St Andrew’s Church are expected to cost £115,000 but, with dwindling congregations, the predicted annual income from collections at services was only £600.

The church was able to secure a Government grant of £90,300. However, it needed to commit for 10 years that it can pay building insurance should disaster strike – and the cost of that is estimated to be £3,000 a year.

The nominator said that in spite of this huge risk, the volunteers have agreed to take on the challenge and raise the money needed to save the church for future generations. As a result work on the roof is expected to start soon.

CUSTOMER CARE

JACK CHARLTON

Postman Jack Charlton has been described by his nominator as a ‘delightful young man, always with a smile on his face’.

Jack delivered to the nominator’s 94-year-old father and always popped his head around the door to make sure he was alright.

But, unfortunately, after being admitted to hospital, the elderly man did not return home. “I am sure dad would approve of Jack getting this award, said the nominator.

ALFORD CRAFT MARKET CENTRE

Alford Craft Market has been keeping crafts alive in Lincolnshire for many years. It is a not for profit organisation promoting quality Lincolnshire Crafts run entirely by volunteers.

Volunteers hold events at Easter, Spring Bank and August Bank Holiday weekends, summer Tuesdays and on two Christmas Craft Market weekends.

The Alford Craft Market Centre recently won £46,000 from the Big Lottery Fund to create a pottery and glass workshop.

Their nominator said the centre tries to keep traditional crafts alive and teach younger people how to knit, sew, make rag rugs and keep bees – especially now these are not taught in schools.

SPORTS PERSON/ SPORTING ACHIEVEMENT

PETER HICKMAN

Peter Hickman had a mixed bag of results at this year’s Isle of Man TT festival, but still managed to get the fantastic result of fourth in the Superbike race.

His nominator said that, in spite of setbacks, he posted his fastest-ever lap around the island course, a 132.892mph lap on the final of six laps, an amazing feat in only his third year of racing at the TT.

He was the fastest-ever newcomer in history at the TT 2014 race, riding a Trooper beer-sponsored MV Agusta.

Also this year he registered a second, third and fourth, plus 12th and 15th place finishes, in his five races at the North West 200.

TOM JARVIS

Rising table tennis star Tom Jarvis is preparing for the biggest learning curve of his life at the Rio Olympics this summer.

The 16-year-old Skegness star has been selected as travelling reserve for Team GB.

He will act as back-up to the squad of Liam Pitchford, Paul Drinkhall and Sam Walker in the team event in Brazil.

Although the Skegness Grammar School student does not expect to see any action – he would only become eligible in the event of a serious injury – his achievement in getting his chance to play his part in Team GB’s quest is outstanding.

His nominator said: “Being selected as reserve for Team GB at the Rio Olympics is an amazing achievement. However, the making of a true champion is not only in arriving at the destination but in the journey. If Tom was chosen as Standard Champion it would show him his whole community was behind him.”

HOW TO VOTE

Coupons printed in the paper need to be returned to the Skegness Standard, Standard Champions, 9 Windmill Drive, Burgh le Marsh, PE24 5EJ no later than Friday, July 1.

Alternatively vote online here.