Sports and military heroes lead Breckland awards call

An inspirational sportsman and a high-flying military officer have led a final rallying call for the people of Breckland to honour their own local heroes.

With the nomination deadline looming for the Pride in Breckland Awards, former jockey Bob Champion and RAF Marham's station commander Group Capt Pete Rochelle urged people not to miss the closing date next Monday, January 31.

The awards, in nine categories, will recognise individuals and groups whose effort, courage or achievements have helped to make Breckland a better place.

Mr Champion, who overcame cancer to ride Aldaniti to victory in the 1981 Grand National, said award schemes like Pride In Breckland were 'absolutely fantastic'.

'I wish there were a lot more like them to reward the amazing people who do so much in their communities,' he said.

'It is very, very important to honour those deserving people and I would urge readers to nominate those who go out of their way for others.'

Mr Champion is a regular visitor to Fakenham Racecourse and was there last year during a tour of 60 tracks in 60 days which raised about �90,000 for his cancer research charity.

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'Norfolk people have been absolutely fantastic to the cancer charity and it is a great county with great people,' he said. Mr Champion will share his story of courage and endurance when he appears as guest speaker at the Pride In Breckland Awards at RAF Marham on March 18.

The base's commander, Group Capt Rochelle, said: 'I am pleased to be able to support the Pride of Breckland Awards Ceremony by hosting the occasion at RAF Marham.

'We enjoy the close relationship that we have with the Breckland community and freely support Breckland's initiative to acknowledge individuals who are delivering so much to the community.'

The Pride In Breckland Awards categories are: Carer of the Year, Greener Breckland, Sporting Excellence, Volunteer of the Year, Child of Courage (Under 16s), Good Friend/Neighbour, Safer Breckland and Community Group of the Year.

A new Architectural Excellence category has also been added, with a later closing date of February 10, to recognise and celebrate some of the district's best new buildings.

Adrian Stasiak is the executive member for communities at Breckland Council, which is organising the awards ceremony. He said: 'The Pride in Breckland Awards are your opportunity to celebrate those in your community who really make a difference to where you live, either through their work or through their inspirational courage.

'I would encourage everyone to nominate those people who make Breckland such a special place to live as a way of saying thank you and recognising their achievements.'

?Further information about the categories and a nomination form can be found at www.breckland.gov.uk. Forms are also available from Breckland Council's offices or the EDP office at Bond House, High Street, Dereham.