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High Sheriff of Berkshire nominates her pandemic heroes – but who will win?

High Sheriff Mary Riall
Mary Riall, the High Sheriff of Berkshire, will be presenting the Awards.

MORE THAN 10 individuals and charities from the borough have been nominated for The Berkshire High Sheriff Awards.

With a year dominated by the pandemic, award categories have been broadened to reflect the work of volunteers, charity leaders and organisations supporting people in need.

A spokesperson for the High Sheriff said: “Award winners will include exceptional leaders and groups through to people working quietly and effectively in the background. All will have gone the extra mile.

“The Awards are a way of giving recognition to people whose work might not otherwise have attracted appreciation from the normal sources — they are our unsung heroes.”

Nominations include a host of faces from the borough.

Eric and Linda Bowes, from Hurst Bowling Club were nominated for preserving the historic bowling green throughout the pandemic, and “providing hope for many vulnerable and elderly members of the community”.

Isabel Bowman, of the Arborfield Military Wives Choir was nominated for being the “lynchpin” that held the choir together over the last year, as they “sing, share and support each other”.

The team at Camp Mohawk, based in Wargrave, were nominated for continuing to provide “vital support to many special needs children, families and carers over the year”.

Shinfield resident, Manu Dhaumya, of United Against Bullies, was nominated for “Relentlessly thinking about others and serving people unconditionally” in his work.

Laura and Rod Eades, volunteers at the Earley Help Hub were nominated for the initiative, and helping others to create their own support hub.

First Days Children’s Charity was called an “amazing charity” in its nomination. Over Christmas it delivered more than 1,300 stockings and in January delivered 100 winter coats. The nominator said: “Our families are fortunate to benefit from such commitment”.

Freely Fruity, a Sindlesham-based charity that formed last year, was nominated for its work providing fresh produce to those in need. The nominator said: “Three volunteers have been so selfless in their acts of kindness, donating time and money, in all weathers”.

The Revd Richard Lamey, Rector of St Paul’s, Wokingham was nominated for connecting the community. His nominator said: “He has made a significant difference to the community this year, building and strengthening relationships with the wider Wokingham community and ensuring support was available for those in need”.

Wokingham’s Link Visiting Scheme was nominated for its work supporting elderly residents in the borough. It was described as a “small charity with a big heart” in its nomination.

Woodley-based Me2Club was nominated for providing a “lifeline to families”.

Jake Morrison, chief executive of Citizens Advice Wokingham was nominated for his leadership throughout the pandemic. His nominator said: “Jake exemplifies what a great charity leader should do and has made a tangible difference to Wokingham residents lives.”

Woodley resident Lynne Shipton was nominated for her “tireless” work with up Chemogiftbags, a charity that supports people diagnosed with cancer.

Eight people and groups that operate across the wider Berkshire area, and support residents in the borough were also nominated.

These include Reading-based ABC to Read, for its work to support “struggling readers and their families”.

Nicola Bell, of the Thames Valley Partnership, was nominated for her work “championing vulnerable people” and victims of modern slavery.

Berkshire Vision and Berkshire Youth were two charities nominated for supporting their communities in the pandemic.

Also nominated for awards was Julie Kaesser, of Berkshire Women’s Aid, supporting “isolated women in the community”.

Gerry Duggan of Victims First Emotional Support was nominated for being an “amazing, caring and capable case worker”.

Launchpad Reading was nominated, as well as League of Friends at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, and the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service.

The winners will be chosen by a nominations panel, and announced at 7pm on Thursday, March 18.

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