Skegness Standard Champions have been honoured at a special awards ceremony celebrating true community spirit and achievement.
Nominees of eight categories and their families attended a Bollywood-themed dinner and presentation last night at Butlins, along with representatives of headline sponsor Centrica and individual awards sponsors the Embassy Theatre and Hildreds.
Stephen Stray, Group Editor Lincolnshire, said: “Many people say that bad news sells, but after this evening we will be looking forward to writing some very positive headlines.
“We are here to recognise the outstanding contribution you make to our communities.
“You are all helping to make Skegness the great place it is.”
During the evening two special awards were also presented - the Special Recognition Award and the Overall Winner.
An emotional Adam Rushforth received a Posthumous Special Recognition Award for his father, former manager of the Embassy Theatre Steve Rushforth, who died last year.
He spoke of his father’s passion for the theatre and said: “I see lots of people here who I know worked with him. These sort of awards ceremonies - he probably worked hundreds of these in the back office before he became manager. He never got the chance to be on the stage collecting an award. But tonight I’m collecting the award for him. It means a lot.”
RNLI volunteer April Grunnill, who had earlier in the evening received the Senior Achiever award, was the Overall Winner.
The long-standing Skegness Lifeboat volunteer, who also recently received the British Empire Medal (BEM) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, has played a central role in raising the money for a new Shannon Class Lifeboat that will arrive on station later this year. She was nominated for the years she has spent fundraising and taking care of the crew at the station, engaging with the local community and supporting the work of the organisation.
Receive her second award of the night, she said: “It’s wonderful. I’ll have to hide the champagne at the station.”
Other winners of the night were:
YOUTH ACHIEVER - EVIE TOOMBES
Evie (14) is a beautiful teenager from Skegness who hides her disability through her love of riding and amazing achievements as a para showjumper.
RUNNER-UP - LEN’NEE SIMPSON
Len’nee raised enough money at a Christmas disco he organised at Skegness Junior Academy to buy five Derby County quilts for a bedroom at the Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre.
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.
RUNNER-UP - SKEGNESS JUNIOR ACADEMY
Skegness Junior Academy collected an incredible 628 teddy bears in the space of a week for children from Syria and Malawi.
SENIOR ACHIEVER (sponsored) - APRIL GRUNNILL
RUNNER-UP - 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.
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.
RUNNER-UP - 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.
TOP TEACHER - 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. As well as making improvements to the learning environment, each day begins with children running and walking a mile before class.
RUNNER-UP - 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.
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.
RUNNER-UP - 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.
CUSTOMER CARE - JACK CHARLTON
Postman Jack Charlton was 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.
RUNNER-UP - 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.
SPORTS PERSON/ SPORTING ACHIEVEMENT - 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.
RUNNER-UP - 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.
For the full story and more pictures, see Wednesday’s Skegness Standard. Watch out for more highlights from the night coming to the Skegness Standard website.