There is no award ceremony like the Stars of Norfolk and Waveney. 

These awards are really rather special, and that’s because the people nominated are also really rather special. 

Now, for the first time, the stories of these exceptional people - and animals - can be shared for the first time.

Eastern Daily Press: EDP editor, Richard PorrittEDP editor, Richard Porritt (Image: Matt Potter Photography)

Richard Porritt, EDP editor, presented this year's awards.

He said: "Often award ceremonies mark commercial success or sporting prowess – all very admirable.  

"But what these winners and nominees do is put others before themselves and ask for nothing in return. 

"They make lives better. They make communities better. And that is why this event held every year is such a highlight. 

Eastern Daily Press: The Stars of Norfolk and Waveney Awards 2023

"All our winners and finalists are amazing and have done some extraordinary things.  

"I really have been blown away by the stories of heroism, thoughtfulness and, in some cases, life-saving acts of bravery. 

"I know I speak for the whole region when I say a huge 'thank you'."

The awards were sponsored by the individual category sponsors; Step Teachers, Vattenfall, Potters Friends Foundation, Norwich Theatre and Redwings Horse Sanctuary. 

They were held at the Assembly House on November 30, and Norwich Theatre presented the winners with tickets to this year's pantomime, Sleeping Beauty.

Please enjoy this special winners’ supplement which is crammed with incredible stories. 

Animal Hero of the Year sponsored by Redwings Horse Sanctuary 

Eastern Daily Press: Animal Hero of the Year: Karen Rowley, Alfie and Lynn Cutress (award sponsor) Animal Hero of the Year: Karen Rowley, Alfie and Lynn Cutress (award sponsor) (Image: Matt Potter Photographer)

Winner – Alfie (dog) 

Alfie is a two-year-old rescue dog from an animal shelter who is now helping to rescue others by becoming an OK9 dog. Alfie attends the aftermath of incidents to support those affected by trauma. He had a difficult start in life needing rescue himself and he has now overcome this, and his initial shyness to support fire fighters and fire staff who have been affected by incidents in the course of their jobs.  

Finalist – Bo Peep (miniature donkey) 

Bo Peep is a 12-year-old miniature donkey and one of Mini Donk’s founding donkeys. Bo Peep’s specialty is sensing those who need some quiet donkey time and homing in on them, memorably doing this at an outdoor event for patients at the West Norwich Hospital. She pulled towards a particular gentleman, who opened his arms up to her with a smile. After resting her head in his lap, it turned out he had been in the Household Cavalry, and he was so delighted to see an equine friend again.  

Finalist – Dot on Thyme (horse)  

Described as a one in a million Horse, Dot on Thyme is a therapy horse and has been working for 14 years bringing joy and assistance to hundreds of people – from working with Break charity, people with autism and SEN and riding with the disabled, Dot can do it all.   

Finalist – Morgan (cat)   

Morgan is a little cat with allergies who has to wear little jumpers to protect his skin. During lockdown his owner turned the negative of his health issues into a positive by using photos of him in his little outfits to make calendars and cards to raise money for animal charities and has continued to do so ever since! Since December 2020 he has raised over £30,000.  

Carer of the Year  

Eastern Daily Press: Carer of the Year: Sian Moy Carer of the Year: Sian Moy (Image: Matt Potter Photography)

Winner – Sian Moy  

Nominated by her childhood best friend and the person she now cares for, Sian Moy has been caring for Rosie and her husband since 2021. Ryan suffered from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy which sadly, following pneumonia, took his life in June. Sian cared for both Ryan and Rosie and is described as Rosie’s rock. Sian also grew up as young carer to her own mother.  

Finalist – Judith Cooper   

Judith cares for her husband who suffers with health issues with his back and heart. After he suffered cardiac arrest and has undergone open heart surgery, she cares for him as well as working as an activity coordinator at a care home, ensuring that all in her care live their life to the full.   

Finalist – Linda Allison   

Linda works as a carer for Home Instead looking after the vunerable and elderly in her community.   Knowing that a one size fits all approach doesn’t work Linda strives for the utmost personal care and often goes above and beyond her working hours to care for her clients. Linda’s passion is about getting to know the people she cares for to give them choice and dignity in their latest stage of life.   

Charity Hero of the Year Award sponsored by Potters Friends Foundation 

Eastern Daily Press: Charity Hero of the Year: Richard Thurlow (left) and Nathan Moore (award sponsor) Charity Hero of the Year: Richard Thurlow (left) and Nathan Moore (award sponsor) (Image: Matt Potter Photography)

Winner – Richard Thurlow   

Following the sad passing of his wife, Richard set up the Annette Thurlow Appeal to raise money for a new Caister lifeboat. Driving more than 20,000 miles shaking his bucket, Richard wanted to raise the most amount of money to be able to name the new boat after his wife. Richard has been part of the lifeboat team for 50 years and coxswain for 20 years.   

Finalist – Helen Eckles  

Treasurer at her local Scout Group in Attleborough, Helen is described as a pillar of the group. Organising fundraising events and immaculately keeping the accounts, her role is often unsung and her nominator described her as "simply the best".   

Finalist – Kirsty Woods   

Home Start volunteer first and then employee, since a career change, Kirsty is now back to being a volunteer. Interested in family support following her own journey as a single parent, Kirsty exemplifies the kindness, endless patience and always goes the extra mile for the people she cares for.   

Finalist – Penny Harris   

Penny Harris is a one-of-a-kind Scout leader. She embarked on a trip with her scouts to South Korea, after arriving they were moved from their scheduled activities to a new location for 15 days. Penny had to arrange two weeks' worth of activities for 36 scouts. Not only dealing with language barriers, with little help from organisers, a heat waves and typhoons, Penny created a worthwhile trip for her troop.   

Excellence in Education category sponsored by Step Teachers  

Eastern Daily Press: Excellence in Education: Chantelle Hopes (award sponsor) and Teresa Grix (right)Excellence in Education: Chantelle Hopes (award sponsor) and Teresa Grix (right) (Image: Matt Potter Photography)

Winner – Teresa Grix   

Teresa has worked at St William’s Primary School for more than 27 years, initially as a class-based teaching assistant and, for the last eight years, as a pastoral support worker. She has high aspirations for all children, building strong relationships with them to support their academic progress and their social and emotional development. Teresa retired at the end of the summer term and the school couldn’t think of a better way to say goodbye and thank you than to nominate her for this award.  

Finalist – Danny Sweatman   

Danny Sweatman is the head of nurture provision at Aylsham High School. During the pandemic, to enhance the curriculum during this unprecedented period, he engaged the Countryside Alliance's Fishing for Schools programme and collectively they devised and delivered the Angling Skills Activity Award. Now part of the nurture group curriculum, to date 75 students have undergone the course, which is now a formal qualification, with an advanced level for students in Year 9 and 10.  

Finalist – Gemma Keough   

Education innovator Gemma Keough took the initiative to teach British Sign Language at the same time as teaching the alphabet to early years in 2022. The project taught staff and parents to establish its effectiveness. The project is now being shared by MP’s and government ministries to reduce inequalities.   

Finalist – Kieron Goreman   

Described as more than just a PE teacher, Kieron was nominated by a particular student who has recently battled cancer. With the loss of functions, Kieron helped this student with early morning intervention sessions in his own time to gain their mobility back. This student is now able to stand, walk and even run and describes Kieron as their personal hero.    

Lifetime Commitment to the Community sponsored by Norwich Theatre

Eastern Daily Press: Lifetime Commitment to the Community: Georgina Whiley (representing Steven Russell) and Sam Dawson (right - award sponsor) Lifetime Commitment to the Community: Georgina Whiley (representing Steven Russell) and Sam Dawson (right - award sponsor) (Image: Matt Potter Photography) 

Winner – Steven Russell   

Steven has worked for the Norfolk Council for over 30 years working to ensure equal opportunities for disabled people and those with learning difficulties, while also being chair of trustees for local charity The Bridge for Heroes. Steven has also travelled to India for many years assisting the Bethesda's Trust taking abandoned and at-risk children to safe and vital homes and orphanages that he has also helped to build.   

Finalist – Gez Chetal   

This philanthropist is bridging the gap between employer and ex-offender. Gez supports this group while also supporting the local community in Thetford with more than £100,000 contributed in the past 20 years. Gez is an active member of the community, putting Thetford on the map with a growing list of support and activities for the area.   

Finalist – Shirley Ramm   

Described as a Beautiful pillar of the community by her nominator, Shirley Ramm has been fundraising for as long as anyone can remember. She has stood outside Iceland in Dereham raising money for multiple causes with a smile on her face and brings joy to those who know her and see her there.    

Finalist – Trudi Revell   

Trudi’s Beauty centre in the Norwich lanes is described as a Norwich institution. Women have been coming to Trudi for over 38 years but not only for treatment but to develop careers and also for care. On days where the shop is closed Trudi travels to visit those who cannot leave their homes to provide comfort and treatment. Her nominator described her as powerful and noted that she empowers every woman she meets.   

NHS & Emergency Services Personnel of the Year  

Eastern Daily Press: NHS and Emergency Services Personnel of the Year: Lauren Dodge, Steven Gibbs, Michelle Lowe, Paul Kirby, and Johnathan Postle (left to right)NHS and Emergency Services Personnel of the Year: Lauren Dodge, Steven Gibbs, Michelle Lowe, Paul Kirby, and Johnathan Postle (left to right) (Image: Matt Potter Photograhy)

Winner – Stalham Fire Station, On Call Crew   

After coming to the aid of a colleague who suffered a cardiac arrest at home the entire team worked to make ensure their teammate’s survival. Following 20 minutes of CPR before ambulance crews arrived, they were able to save his life. Their response to a friend in need truly shows their professionalism and exemplifies their dedication to their role.   

Finalist – Carl Smith   

Described as a true star of Norfolk, Carl works for the East Anglian Air Ambulance but also spends his time volunteering for Norfolk Accident Rescue Service. Responding to over 250 of the most serious 999 calls a year, Carl also is a retained Fire Fighter at Swaffham Fire Station.  

Finalist – Jordan Ellis and Andy Ormiston   

Paramedics Jordan and Andy volunteer their time to Norfolk Accident and Rescue Service. Responding to a call for a cardiac arrest both Jordan and Andy were on scene giving CPR and emergency aid. Their efforts saved one life that day, but their continued work is described as "inspirational and people’s true-life heroes".   

Finalist – Kate Stanton   

Oncology nurse Kate Stanton was nominated by one of her patients. Caring for a young child who was going through the worst time, Kate went above and beyond her call of duty, working extra hours, available at the end of the phone and being the rock the parents needed to get through their own troubles.   

Outstanding Bravery Act of the Year  

Eastern Daily Press: Outstanding Bravery Act of the Year: Zac Stones (representing Scott Stones) Outstanding Bravery Act of the Year: Zac Stones (representing Scott Stones) (Image: Matt Potter Photography)

Winner – Scott Stones 

Since the beginning of the Ukraine war Scott has collected and co-ordinated vital humanitarian aid for the front line in his own 40ft trailer working to get the aid to the most needed areas despite the obvious danger to his life. Scott has taken multiple trips deep into Ukraine to deliver this life saving aid. Scott has also taken food for the animals he encounters on the route.   

Finalist – Chloe Holmes  

This 13-year-old went through a turbulent time this year following an operation to reduce her back ache. Her femur was to be broken and reset to achieve this. Following the operation a fall re-broke her femur resulting in another operation, which led to a blockage in an artery. This was followed by even more operations and surgeries when the screw was found to be incorrectly placed. Three operations in eight weeks without a broken spirit is remarkable.  

Finalist – Theo Maun and Max Terry  

RNLI Lifeguards in West Runton saved the life of 18-month-old Macie earlier this year. Macie became unresponsive in a café, they leapt to her aid. Giving oxygen and lifesaving treatment ensured Macie remained alive before the ambulance arrived. At just 21 and 19 years themselves, their nominator described the bravery that would have been needed to deal with such a young patient   

Team/Community Group of the Year  

Eastern Daily Press: Team/Community Group of the Year: Abi Debnam and Belinda Buxton (left to right)Team/Community Group of the Year: Abi Debnam and Belinda Buxton (left to right) (Image: Matt Potter Photography)

Eastern Daily Press: Team/Community Group of the Year: The team behind the SOS Bus in NorwichTeam/Community Group of the Year: The team behind the SOS Bus in Norwich (Image: Submitted)

Winner – SOS Bus Norwich   

This group of mainly volunteers are making the Norwich streets a little safer for partygoers on a Friday and Saturday nights. Supporting the police and ambulance service, the SOS Bus can reduce pressure by offering support for anyone who needs it. The team, which gives up evenings to attend those who need help, are described as dedicated, compassionate and delivering first-class service regardless of situation or background.   

Finalist – Dereham Community Litter Pickers  

For more than two years, Dereham Litter Pickers have been building a better community. Every fortnight they are picking up litter with over 650 bags of litter collected so far. Not stopping there, they are constantly providing outreach and support for many community efforts and activities.   

Finalist – Dereham Ukraine Aid Centre   

Running since the beginning of the Ukraine War, the tireless efforts of those running the aid centre have seen multiple donations made to the fund and also providing support to those who have come to the local area. Offering free food, clothes, bedding, essentials, English lessons and more. The centre is also helping the local community too with homeless care, domestic violence and those in need.  

Finalist – Iceni Rugby Football Club   

Newly formed rugby football club based in Wymondham, Iceni Rugby Football club was formed as an inclusive LGBTQ+ team for those who have not had a good experience of sport within school because of their sexual identity. This teams camaraderie as resulted in a huge boom in membership, improved the mental health of its members and recently they won the inaugural Rainbow Cup in Swansea.   

Unsung Community Hero of the Year 

Eastern Daily Press: Unsung Community Hero of the Year: Stu Burman Unsung Community Hero of the Year: Stu Burman (Image: Matt Potter Photography) 

Winner – Stu Burman   

Frustrated by poor and fragmented support for men’s mental health, Stu Burman set up The Man Cave. The Facebook group is now thriving with over 1,000 men sharing experiences and resources for men dealing with a multitude of problems and issues. Stu’s dedication on top of a full-time job, responding to as many posts as possible, has not gone unnoticed by the page’s members – described as their warm-hearted warrior. 

Finalist – Jackie Hamilton   

Open water swimming organiser Jackie Hamilton has created a group of people who enjoy getting together to share in a new activity. This group has now become a thriving group of women who not only swim together but have branched into a Sea Shanty group, a book club, group organised trips and events as well as Marketing Mondays for people to promote their businesses. Her spirit is infectious, and her group love her for it.   

Finalist – Joseph Ballard   

Joseph is bringing creative arts and diversity to his local area in North Walsham. With workshops, laughter yoga, making props, working with clay as well as running the people's choir and also arranging the Christmas pantomime, Joseph’s nominator wanted to give recognition to the enthusiasm and expertise Joe brings to the area, the members and the community he serves.  

Finalist – Stacy Bradley   

Stacy set up 'Safe at Home CIC' to provide free CCTV, solar lighting and installations to those experiencing post separation abuse. Over the last 15 months, CCTV has been installed at over 130 homes, mostly within Norfolk. Stacy’s dedication has made sure that this remains free of charge using only connections she has made and in her own savvy way, Stacy is paving the way for systemic changes in how we approach and combat abuse.    

Young Person of the Year sponsored by Vattenfall  

Eastern Daily Press: Young Person of the Year: Theo Yeldham and Denise Hone (award sponsor)Young Person of the Year: Theo Yeldham and Denise Hone (award sponsor) (Image: Matt Potter Photography)

Winner – Theo Yeldham   

Theo is a 10-year-old boy who struggles academically due to severe dyslexia and growth and developmental delays. Since Theo was five, he has enjoyed litter picking on the local beach. Over the last few years this has become a more regular hobby and his focus primarily is to protect the local seal colony and wildlife around our coastline. He has inspired adults to be more aware of the impact of litter on our environment and Seal protection with the Friends of Horsey seals. 

Finalist – Elias Fenn   

Elias Fenn has been collecting stones and decorating them for over a year now with the sales of these going to aid Sheringham Lifeboat Station. Earlier this year he presented his donation to the crew with a total of more than £300. Elias was described as not only showing great capacity for care but for having the commitment to take extended effort to achieve this.  

Finalist – Mason and Bastian Spagnola   

Eleven-year-old and nine-year-old Mason and Bastian have been campaigning for Changing Places toilets. Their autism has been a driving force for them, and they have been promoting their cause on local and national news and TV. These boys are at their happiest when they are caring for others and making them smile.   

Finalist – Sofia Honey Adcock  

Sofia Honey Adcock is a remarkable gift giver and fundraiser. Following her own cancer treatment, she recognised that children need picking up so she arranges gift boxes, bravery prizes and seasonal extras for children in hospital. This Christmas she has made a letter box so all children can send Santa a letter. Not forgetting the incredible nurses, she is also delivering mince pies and cookies to staff.   

Judges’ Special Award  (non-entry category) 

Eastern Daily Press: Judges’ Special Award: Richard Brightwell and Mark Cooper (left to right) of the Iceni Rugby TeamJudges’ Special Award: Richard Brightwell and Mark Cooper (left to right) of the Iceni Rugby Team (Image: Matt Potter Photography)

This award was decided by the judges and goes to someone who has not won a previous category, but nevertheless deserves recognition.   

The finalists in this category were Jackie Hamilton, Bo Peep, Chloe Holmes, Dereham Ukraine Centre and Danny Sweatman.   

The winner of the Judges’ Special Award was the Iceni Rugby Football Club from the Team/Community Group of the Year.  

Overall Star of Norfolk and Waveney (non-entry category)  

Eastern Daily Press: Overall Star of Norfolk and Waveney 2023: Georgina Whiley (representing Steven Russell) Overall Star of Norfolk and Waveney 2023: Georgina Whiley (representing Steven Russell) (Image: Matt Potter Photography)

The winner of this award is chosen by the judges from one of the category winners.  

The winner of this category really encompasses everything that sums up these awards, with a strong dedication to the people they help and also several causes.  

Their undeniable commitment to helping others and working towards causes and seeing them through thoroughly impressed the judges.   

The winner of the Overall Star or Norfolk and Waveney was, Steven Russell. 

Eastern Daily Press: The Stars of Norfolk and Waveney Awards 2023

Eastern Daily Press: The sponsors of this year's Stars of Norfolk and Waveney AwardsThe sponsors of this year's Stars of Norfolk and Waveney Awards (Image: Supplied)