Opportunity Awards honour for helpers

PUBLISHED: 20:07 08 June 2006 | UPDATED: 10:59 22 October 2010


They either go out of their way to help people with disabilities, or have overcome their own disability in a way which inspires us all.

They either go out of their way to help people with disabilities, or have overcome their own disability in a way which inspires us all.

Yesterday they were honoured at a special civic ceremony at King's Lynn Town Hall.

In all, there were 24 nominees for the 2006 West Norfolk Opportunity Awards, which are held in association with the EDP.

They ranged from a woman who won a landmark legal victory over a restaurant which would not allow her to bring her assistance dog in, to a sandwich shop which has installed a disabled ramp, and a man who has made devices to assist hundreds of disabled people to perform every day tasks.

For the first time a special Mayor's Award was created by Ann Clery-Fox, Mayor of West Norfolk.

She singled out Carl Suckling, a community development officer with West Norfolk Council, who shrugs off his own disability and dedicates his working life to helping others.

There was a standing ovation from the 100-strong crowd of nominees and guests, as Mr Suckling went up to collect his award.

Earlier EDP west editor Chris Bishop told the audience: “I know just how important this occasion is, both in highlighting the achievements of those who go the extra mile to help others and the efforts of those who rise above their disabilities in ways which humble us all.

“Among our guests today are a party from Siberia, who've travelled to England to spend some time with WINDiS - the West Norfolk Disabled Information Service.

“The fact they're chosen to come here on a fact-finding tour says a lot about this part of the world.”

Gold Awards were handed out to:

David Dew, from Litcham, has made literally hundreds of devices for local disabled people which have helped them perform tasks the rest of us take for granted.

Bradley's Wine Bar and Restaurant was opened last year by Don Rutherford and Julie Swaby in a former Georgian merchant's house on South Quay. Don and Julie have provided a lift to the restaurant and an excellent accessible toilet and are determined to make the building available to all.

True's Yard Fishing Heritage Museum purchased a lift for disabled visitors despite limited funding and staff and volunteers regularly take round groups with disabilities, who are encouraged to participate in sensory activities, touching artefacts and looking at pictures.

Park High School has made great strides to provide access to all its areas. The recent relocation of the office and the main entrance has been done with disabled access in mind. Improvements don't stop there and have included facilities in the Home Economics area which enable cookers and sinks to be raised or lowered. Nominator Robert Bunting said he would feel very proud should the school win an award as he was one of the first pupils to need such access in the late seventies.

Mary Hall from Lynn has, for several years, run an afternoon club on a monthly basis for physically handicapped people. Many have enjoyed outings she has organised for them and she has treated everybody with kindness and respect. Unfortunately, because of family commitments she is no longer able to continue with this club but what she has done over the past years has provided great pleasure and enjoyment for many people and has been of great benefit.

Gaywood Park Action Group is a small group of residents who work hard to improve their local area by working in partnership and providing services, clubs and activities. This work has given residents, including those with disabilities opportunities for volunteering and community responsibility. Three people with disabilities currently undertake lead roles on the committee and undertake a range of managerial and voluntary tasks.

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