Sleaford proudly honoured its heroes, achievers and talented individuals at the annual Town Awards last night (Thursday) .
Staged at the Town Hall, the awards ceremony was run jointly by Sleaford Town Council and the Sleaford Standard, with the help of other event sponsors.
There were highs and lows as we heard uplifting stories of achievement and emotions as we heard of personal struggles and self sacrifice.
In her opening address, Mayor of Sleaford, Coun Jan Mathieson said: “It has been heartwarming to read the many nominations for all the awards.
“Everyone who has been nominated must be very proud. It is so easy to talk the talk and say what should be done, implying it is the job of others to actually do it. All the nominees for the Sleaford Town Awards have proved themselves to be ‘do-ers’. They have seen what needed doing and cared enough to act, to put themselves out, to inspire colleagues and enough to make the others in Sleaford and surroundings safer, happoer, fuller.”
The Standard’s News Editor, Andy Hubbert added: “This is one of our highlights of the year. We get to reward the people of the town who have been working hard, often without any thanks, hiding their light under a bushell.
“We come across you, week in, week out, in writing stories, raising awareness of your achievements as we are a newspaper embedded in the community and serving the population through the good times and bad. That is what it is all about - to make a difference, but it is always good to make it official and let the whole town know what good work you are doing for others.
“We are really proud to bring this work into the spotlight and let everyone know how great you all really are with a public, ‘well done’.”
The Sleafordian of the Year award went to Nadim Aziz, former Indian restaurateur and now self employed taxi business boss for his years of charitable work and efforts through the Sleaford Muslim Community Association to widen the community’s awareness of ethnic diversity, breeding harmony and understanding between faiths and cultures.
Mr Aziz said: “I would like to thank all the people of Sleaford, the Mayor of Sleaford and the Sleaford Standard as we have worked together over the years and hope to continue in the future. this is not just for me, it is for the whole of Sleaford.”
Mr Aziz said he has been in the town for 30 years since moving from Milton Keynes. He said his new taxi venture has been easier with less long hours.
Young Sleafordian of the Year went to sisters Eliza and Ruby Hughes, aged six and seven, who have taken up litter picking in their street and with the William Alvey School’s litter patrol, showing the environment-minded spirit of young people today.
The smiling pair said they enjoy keeping their street tidy and encouraging others to do the same.
In an emotional moment, winner of the Overcoming Adversity award, Katie Wilson, 18, was moved to tears, having overcome ongoing health issues and disabilities and bullying to go on to attend university with the intention to become a primary school teacher.
Her mum said: “She is at Lincoln University and having passed her driving test takes herself off there and absolutely loves it. She is hoping to work at Rauceby School. They have been really supportive of her, doing work experience and volunteer teaching experience.”
The full list of award winners are:
Sleafordian of the Year: Nadim Aziz.
Young Sleafordian of the Year: Eliza and Ruby Hughs
Community Award: Sleaford LIVES First Responders
Charity of the Year: St Barnabas Hospice Sleaford fundraisers
Teacher/educator of the Year: Chris Clark
Business of the Year: Elite Fish and Chip Company
Employer of the Year: Pygott and Crone
Customer Service Award: Specsavers
Overcoming Adversity Award: Katie Wilson
Medical Practitioner of the Year Award: Dr Elton Pardoe
Carer of the Year: Jane Peck
Environmental Award: Andy Greenwood of Sleaford Rivercare
Sports Team/Club of the Year: Sleaford Striders Athletics Club
Sports Coach of the Year: Patsy Shields
Senior Sports Individual of the Year: charity marathon cricketers Dave Newman, Richard Wells and Shaun Brown
Junior Sports Individual of the Year: Jacob Boden