The highly anticipated, prestigious 2022 Pride of Andover Awards ceremony has taken place, a great evening that brings together local sponsors and more importantly, local people that we now identify as our heroes for their outstanding commitment to the Andover community.
Tuesday 25th October saw this year’s Pride of Andover Awards finalists, some of Andover’s unsung heroes, the people who make such a big difference to so many lives but who are so often ‘just getting on with it’, recognised at the Awards ceremony. Advocated by main sponsors David Mellor Family Jewellers, the event held at The Lights was hosted by Channel Four’s Hunted star, Jordan Wylie, and compared by local personality and previous Pride of Andover Young Person of the Year Award winner from 2013, Luis Wyatt. The Awards celebrated the inspiring and selfless actions of some of the town’s most generous individuals.
They had an incredible number of nominations and more winners than ever, making this years’ event the best yet. And the Winners for each category are…..
Fundraiser Award Sponsored by Carpet Cleaning Lady:
Highly Commended: Karsten & Hayley Kirby – Bulner – Awarded for raising awareness of child autism and raising funds. Karsten & Hayley started a charity to provide assistance dogs to enable support for children to lead a better life. All dogs are trained to each child’s specific needs. This has all been achieved whilst running their own business and raising their own child with additional needs.
Winner: Rob Sutherland – Rob has achieved so much in support of the local community, he has completed a 550 mile, 6-day bike ride from Edinburgh to Andover, the Brighton marathon, 666 Ironman Challenge (6 challenges in 6 days, swimming, riding and running), including the first Abel Foundation Christmas event as well as helping others achieve their fundraising events/goals. He also helps arrange clothing and food, finding funding and sponsors, organising travel and logistics, and most of all, his time.
Rob is just incredible, his endless hours of commitment and time to help others he’s never met have just a small piece of happiness is inspiring.
Inspiring Others Award Sponsored by TLC Counselling Hub and R&B Industrial:
Highly Commended: Cynthia Cannon – Cynthia has helped the Andover& District Sports Association for the Disabled every Saturday for many years, helping disabled people of all ages enjoy the swimming pool in Andover. Cynthia has always volunteered in the community, picking up prescriptions during Covid and being a supervisor at the vaccination clinics. Every Friday lunchtime Cynthia volunteers her time to meet with a local dementia group and helps with activities and conversation.
Winner: Lyn Gresham – Thompson. Lyn and her husband are hosting a multigenerational family from Ukraine. Once realising how difficult it is to integrate into life in England, Lyn set up groups to support hosts and refugees, including meetings, online groups and text chats. Lyn gives her time to scour, find, read, and share various official information from the Home Office, council and other agencies and share it with hosts. Lyn has also negotiated 6 months of free sim cards with Vodafone for the refugees so they could keep in touch with family back in Ukraine. Just a day after meeting guests, she sourced clothes for them as they had very little. She deserves a big thank you for her kind generosity and helping those in need.
Services Award Sponsored by The DeeDee Trust:
Highly Commended: Andover Police Cadets – The Andover Police Cadets are a fantastic group. They work together with their leaders to deliver help at events without question. The group is fully inclusive to all children aged 13 to 17 to fully support everyone and make provisions so everyone can take part. Through lockdown they kept going to support each other as well as the wider community. They support community events and have raised the profile of the group. They have grown rather than lose numbers, when times were tough. They work hard even when they have challenges themselves and are becoming very mature, responsible young people and are a credit to the leaders and their community.
Winner: Andover Vaccination Team – This team has played a large part in the vaccination programme of Andover. Helping run the clinics at the Lights initially, which included car park duty in all weathers and overcoming their own anxiety of mixing with others at a worrying time. They came from all walks of life and ranged in age from 18 to 82. With many centres closing, this centre has continued to serve the people of Andover in the Chantry Centre. They are a large, enthusiastic and committed group of people whom without we wouldn’t have had a vaccination centre. Their generosity and impact on the local community deserves this recognition
Community Champion Award Sponsored by Ocado:
Highly Commended: Joan Walker & Sharon Green – Joan and Sharon have supported a local community club for many years, assisting staff running the club every week to help the community. Over the years they have been involved in raising lots of money for charity, without the club would not be able to exist. Since reopening after Covid, they continue to recommend the club to help as many people as possible. They help members have fun, and keep mentally, socially, and physically active. Their support goes above and beyond what is expected of them. We want to recognise their continued time and effort.
Winner: Claire Hattrick (Clipboard Claire) Claire struggled with her own health during the menopause and wanted to raise awareness and offer help so others wouldn’t suffer like she had. After the creation of her website, BBC South, ITV Meridian and Sky News have all filmed at her home as well as several articles written about it. With signs in surgeries, workplaces, break rooms and offices to try and help businesses access free information to aid employers and employees get the help they need. There’s been sofa sessions, and even a book written and published too, all aimed at helping women. She has campaigned in parliament to put menopause and cheaper HRT on the map. Whether it’s supporting one person in distress on a Saturday night or caring for her 10.5k followers, she is determined to help those not suffer the same way she did.
Arts Award Sponsored by The Rock House:
Highly Commended: Lani Clayton – From a young age, Lani had to overcome special needs to fulfil her dream of becoming a singer and musician. She learnt multiple instruments at a young age and overcame crippling shyness to be able to perform in public. She has raised money for local charities and takes part in local music evenings to help raise money for local causes such as A-FEST, Andover Carnival and Andover Rocks just to name a few. At just 18 Lani deserves this recognition.
Winner: Alicia Barnett – Alicia founded Andover Youth Dance Company to give young people in Andover the opportunity to learn and develop their dance skills. Alicia has tirelessly supported young dancers by taking them to national competitions and opening opportunities they may not have otherwise had. In addition, she started ConFusion dance, which brings young dancers together who want to develop their choreography skills and regularly perform in competition. Alicia has been involved in various events in the town centre and can always be relied upon to provide outstanding students and support any event. Alicia provides all students with the opportunity to progress to see what they can achieve, linking her tireless work with her outside companies with her work as a lecturer at Andover college, also linking up with schools and is an inspiration to all learners.
Mayor of Test Valley Award Sponsored by Bulpitt Print:
Winner: Heather Boyd – Since joining the Andover Athletics Club in the 80’s, Heather has always been an active member, devoting many hours to the club. Initially running the tuck shop on training and competition days, Heather has also raised much needed funds to help support the operation of the club. She then qualified as a coach and established and organised twice weekly training sessions, introducing youngsters to the club. Her many roles at the club include Tuck shop manager, U11’s coach and founder, team manager for track and cross, committee member, catering manager and many more. A highlight this year was seeing a former young athlete compete in Birmingham at the Commonwealth Games. For more than 30 years of continuous and dedicated service, Heather has helped so many young people on their journey through athletics and someone the whole of Andover should be proud of.
The Worshipful Mayor of Test Valley Cllr Alan Bowden shared ‘ The Pride of Andover is an Amazing event. Thank you so very much for this event, so many people helping so many people. I for one have benefitted from volunteers, from youth clubs and football clubs, school teachers and coaches. I too am a volunteer and opened my own youth group in my area 10 years ago now. Some people and the work they do is just amazing, the most important thing about being a volunteer is that you will never be lonely yourself, you will always have friends, and as a volunteer myself I get a great deal of pleasure from being a volunteer, Andover Town has amazed me with what is going on, I am very pleased indeed and as the Mayor of Test Valley I am honoured to be at the event’.
Sports Award Sponsored by PHAT App:
Highly Commended: Willie Plowman – Willie has introduced hundreds of children and adults to BMX racing and is dedicated to helping others grow confidence on a bike. He is Vice Chairman of the BMX club and has helped grow it from a small group to over 240 members to become one of the biggest clubs in the region. He coaches children and those with disabilities in all weathers and has recently coached wounded soldiers. His dedication to the club and care for all involved is second to none.
Winner: Cassius Mitchell Cassius has been practising kickboxing since the age of 4. At 10, he was eligible for international selection and represented GB at his first Junior World Championships where he picked up a silver medal. He went on to become Dutch Open Champion, Bristol Open Champion, Junior Euro Cup Champion and the GB Grand Slam Overall League Champion. He then carried on winning at the Watford Open and then WAKO British Champion in the -28kg younger cadet. Once lockdown hit, he continued training over Zoom with champions from Hungary, USA and UK. After Covid, he continued his successas he was cemented as number 1 ranked fighter in the older -32kg weight class. He took gold and 2 silver medals at Turkish World Cup. He also won all 3 of his Grand Slam league competitions. Finally, in February this year, he won yet another British Championship title –his 4thin 3 years. Quiet and unassuming, he doesn’t think he is anything special.
Sue Sheppard Award Sponsored by The Commercial Centre
Winner: Victoria Cheshire – Since the age of around 18, Victoria has dedicated many hours to voluntary work in Andover. She has volunteered regularly with an Andover Brownie Pack as a Young Leader and as an adult helper with the Special Educational Needs Duke of Edinburgh Award Group. She has also regularly volunteered her help at Purple Oak Support, formally Andover and District Mencap. Her years with the SEN DofE Award Group, she not only assisted with the training of those participating in the group, supporting them and helping with their expedition trips, she was also a role model as she was an award achiever. Victoria is very dedicated to this charity as her time helps support the staff, freeing them up to spend more time supporting their clients.
She is now an ambassador for the charity, hoping to raise the profile of their work through fundraising and meeting groups in the local area. She has also spoken to students at Winchester University and held Purple Day Epilepsy Action events to help raise the profile of those with epilepsy and their families within the area.
Young Person of the Year Award Sponsored by Postal Coded:
Winners: Freya Hart-Lauren Farrelly – This fantastic duo have raised money for the Andover Food Bank by completing a sponsored walk. Other activities include volunteering at Andover Brownies, encouraging the members and helping the members with activities. Training to become a uniformed adult and gain a Girlguiding commonwealth badge.
As well as raising the profile of Andover Rangers via fundraising and publicity, and have also been accepted to travel with Girlguiding overseas. Freya and Lauren have recently qualified to be peer educator’s and helping at Guides once a week. Both are always willing to lend a hand, positive, supportive,encouraging, cheerful and helpful which are just some of the words used to describe these wonderful young people.
Heart of Gold Award sponsored by New Street Dental Care:
Winner: Ronnie Hoo – Ronnie supports and helps English, Chinese, Thai, Japanese, and especially vunerable people with poor English skills or without computer skills to cope with modern Britain. He helps desperate people apply for Indefinite leave to remain in the UK, or apply for British citizenship, and apply for extension of student visas.
He helped those who were at threat from being sent back to Singapore or Malaysia due to their poor English skills. He also helps those apply for benefit grants, child support, social housing for homeless as well as furnishing their homes. He helps non-English speaking parents to deal with their child’s school. Collecting, delivering and donating food to Andover Food Bank for families in need. All this is just a drop in the ocean as to what he has achieved and those who he has helped. He deserves so much recognition for the support he has given to so many people over the years.
Spirit of Andover Award Sponsored by Main Sponsors David Mellor Family Jewellers:
Overall winner – Ronnie Hoo The Spirit of Andover Award is sponsored by David, Christine and Family from David Mellor Family Jewellers, the Winner of Winners is selected by the main event sponsors. This award is to recognise an individual whose, in the opinion of the main event sponsor, work in the community and whose achievements have been far-reaching. When asked what is next for Ronnie, by host Jordan Wylie, Ronnie was lost for words, he shared’ I do what I do because I care about people and want to help them, when I help them it helps me and I am always learning from them, also I like to win, I have won against courts, councils and governments for other people and I will keep doing so, I am lost for words I dont know what to say except thank you so very much’
The Pride of Andover Chairman Karen Hamilton shared ‘I would like to express my thanks to the committee, the business sponsors, volunteers, our host Jordan Wylie, and our compere Luis Wyatt, as well as all the winners of Pride of Andover 2022, the evening was another roaring success, celebrating some of the best Andover has to offer, that selflessly support their communities and town’