Eco champions honoured at Norwich awards ceremony

Eco champions from across the city attended an awards ceremony to receive recognition for all their hard work to improve Norwich and make it a greener city.

The fourth Eco Awards, organised by Norwich City Council in partnership with the Norwich Evening News, were held at City Hall on Thursday night to celebrate the ongoing work in the city to help the environment.

Winners on the night included Dr Jeremy Bartlett, pictured below, from Grapes Hill Community Garden project, who won the eco hero award, which was chosen from all the entries received, as an example of exceptional passion and action for the eco cause.

As part of the garden project he helped turn a derelict piece of land in a deprived area of Norwich into a green and pleasant garden area for people to enjoy and meet others.

He has lent the garden project many hours of his time and energy in terms of physical work in the garden, but also in terms of leading the volunteer planting days and setting up and maintaining the website.

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He said: 'I'm very pleased to win the award, but it belongs to a whole group of people involved in the project, especially Fran Ellington, the secretary, who was in from the start. We now have a paid-up membership of over 50 people and an email list of supporters of over 100. We hope this will grow over the next few years.'

Richard Bearman, Norfolk County Councillor for Mancroft ward, said the project was one of the most impressive in the area. He added: 'It has a dedicated community behind it and is a model we can use elsewhere in Norwich.'

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Joe Ray won last year's eco award for his work as owner of Hidden Treasure shop, which sold items other people had thrown away. He said: 'It's been a massive year for me and winning the award has really helped.'

The Small Business award went to FresHair, run by Sue Helps, in Norwich's Golden Triangle.

She has been a hairdresser since she was 15, but had never considered the amount of chemicals used in the industry until she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008.

She opened the FresHair Salon in 2009, and the whole ethos of both her personal and working life became more environmentally friendly.

She uses low-energy hairdryers made from recycled materials, all shampoos, conditioners and styling products are paraben free and the salon uses only organic colours, with no ammonia, parabens, alcohol, silicons or other harmful chemicals.

She said: 'I'm very happy to win this award. It's been an incredible journey and had I not had breast cancer, I would not be where I am today. The message I would like to send is that helping the environment need not cost the earth.'

The winner in the large Business Category was Broadland Housing Group, which established an environmental champions group two years ago to reduce its carbon footprint.

The Community Group was won by North African Community Association Organic Garden for its Ray of Hope – Youth Horticultural Skills Training Project.

The project trains volunteers to organically grow vegetables, soft fruits, herbs and flowers, and no chemicals or fertilizers are used. City Academy Norwich brought together a group of students to form an 'eco council' and won the schools award.

Have you got an environmental story for the Evening News? Call David Bale on 01603 772427 or emial

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