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Community champions and unsung heroes celebrated at awards ceremony

Alfie Keeley was awarded the Young Volunteer award at the Best of Brandon awards  for his work with Brandon in Bloom. Picture: Terry Hawkins

Alfie Keeley was awarded the Young Volunteer award at the Best of Brandon awards for his work with Brandon in Bloom. Picture: Terry Hawkins

Archant

Unsung heroes and those who go above and beyond for their community were recognised at an awards ceremony.

The Best of Brandon Awards 2018. Picture: Terry HawkinsThe Best of Brandon Awards 2018. Picture: Terry Hawkins

More than 100 people attended the Best of Brandon awards, affectionately known as the BOBs, to show their support to the individuals and groups who made significant contribution to the town over the last year.

Held at the Brandon Leisure Centre on Friday, April 20, five awards were presented to the deserving recipients.

The Group award went to Brandon in Bloom, a community gardening scheme which aims to get everyone involved in green finger activities to improve the town.

Alfie Keeley, 8, who gives up his time to help with Brandon in Bloom events, was presented with the Young Volunteer award.

Paul Meader (left) collecting the Group award at the Best of Brandon awards on behalf of Brandon in Bloom. He is pictured with councillor Peter Callaghan. Picture: Terry HawkinsPaul Meader (left) collecting the Group award at the Best of Brandon awards on behalf of Brandon in Bloom. He is pictured with councillor Peter Callaghan. Picture: Terry Hawkins

The Business award went to Mark Pavely, of Mark’s Greengrocers. Involved in community projects, Mr Pavely also delivers items to customers who cannot pick them up.

Loraine Skikunas won the Volunteer award. She helps out as a Rainbow and Girl Guide leader and organised the Picnic in the Park event, which raised £750 for two charities.

And Mark Skinner, of Mark Skinner Funeral Services, was presented with the Lifetime Achievement award. He was recognised for his support of various community groups.

Lianne Spooner, a member of the event organising team along with Gary Brocklehurst and Terry Hawkins, said: “It was absolutely fantastic and we were so proud. You never know how things are going to go until it happens and it was phenomenal.

The Best of Brandon Awards 2018. Picture: Terry HawkinsThe Best of Brandon Awards 2018. Picture: Terry Hawkins

“It was nice because everybody was so excited for everyone else. We have got so many people that do things and it is really nice to say well done for being a fantastic community person.”

The event follows on from last year’s Tesco Brandon Community Awards. Carly Wharf was the winner for her community efforts in setting up the group A.N.G.E.L.S (Autism Needs Guidence Education Love and Support).

Mrs Spooner, community champion for Tesco Brandon, teamed up with Brighter Brandon and the Brandon Town Magazine to expand the awards to honour more people.

The evening included a buffet, disco and a raffle which raised more than £300 was raised for charity.

More than 50 nominations were received and Mrs Spooner said the team will meet up over the next week to discuss next year’s event.

Brandon in Bloom were recognised for their efforts to make the town a bright place to live.

They hold bulb plating events, help to maintain and improve green areas around the town and hold community litter picks.

Rachel Sobiechowski, who started the group, said: “We are absolutely delighted the group has won the award. We have had so many people comment over the last couple of weeks about how nice the bulbs are looking.

“It is lovely people took time to vote for us.”

Alfie Keeley was awarded the Young Volunteer award for his work with Brandon in Bloom.

Miss Sobiechowski said she was “really pleased” for the eight-year-old.

“He works so hard at the Wedge [on Thetford Road] watering the sunflowers every day. Any Brandon in Bloom task we have got going on, he has been helping with.

“For everybody else to be appreciating what he has been doing is lovely.”

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