Inspirational community heroes are hailed at Stars of Lowestoft and Waveney Awards ceremony
PUBLISHED: 13:27 12 October 2018 | UPDATED: 13:41 12 October 2018
A glittering awards ceremony honouring "people who do extraordinary things" has been hailed as a "wonderful success."
Unsung heroes, hard working volunteers and inspirational community champions were all praised during an “emotional rollercoaster” of an evening that attracted a fine turnout to the Hotel Victoria in Lowestoft.
The fourth Stars of Lowestoft and Waveney Awards evening on Thursday saw 13 trophies presented to those who go above and beyond to help their communities, and seek no reward for that they do.
BBC Radio Suffolk presenter Mark Murphy, who was compère for the evening, said: “We’re here to honour people who do extraordinary things in your community and ask for nothing in return as these awards recognise the best from Lowestoft and Waveney.”
After a ceremony full of standing ovations, laughs, tears and deserved rounds of applause, Daniel Jillings was announced as the overall winner.
The deaf schoolboy, from Lowestoft, has led a campaign to have a GCSE in British Sign Language (BSL) introduced in the UK. Daniel, 12, was first invited up on stage alongside hearing dog Varley and his mum Ann to collect an award for the Young Person of the Year.
But prior to the final award of the night, and after being described as “a young man who has fought adversity and not given up” as he continues to “fight for what is right,” the youngster returned to the stage and was unveiled as the overall star.
He said: “I really did not expect to win two awards – I am just amazed. Just to come here and be nominated was great. I want to say thank you to (Waveney MP) Peter Aldous as he has been fantastic and supported us a lot.
“Varley is a hearing dog, who I have had for about two-and-a-half years. He has given me so much confidence. Before I had him I was not so confident, but I feel I can do anything now.”
Other winners were the Lowestoft volunteer coastguards, Beccles community volunteers, Wrentham firefighters, the Ashley School Academy Trust, Lowestoft Festival chairman Mark Lanham, Special Olympics skier George Burroughs, PC Stephen Vaughan and Nipper, the volunteer gardeners at Carlton Court in Lowestoft and George Leslie (Les) Jackson.
Two separate special recognition awards were also presented to mental health campaigner Sue Willgoss and Nick Ayers, a community safety partner and lifeguard supervisor at the RNLI.
The full list of winners of this year’s Stars of Lowestoft and Waveney Awards are:
Young Person of the Year: Daniel Jillings
Sporting Achievement of the Year: George Burroughs
Community Group or Champion of the Year: Volunteer gardeners at Carlton Court
Outstanding Bravery of the Year: PC Stephen Vaughan and Nipper
Uniformed Services Person of the Year: Lowestoft Volunteer Coastguards
Team of the Year: Beccles Community Volunteers
Unsung Hero of the Year: Mark Lanham
Education Star of the Year: Ashley School Academy Trust
Veteran of the Year: George Leslie (Les) Jackson
Charity Worker of the Year: Wrentham Firefighters
Two separate Special Recognition awards were presented to Sue Wilgoss and Nick Ayers
Overall Star of Lowestoft and Waveney: Daniel Jillings.
Opening the awards night, founder Steve Ardley, said: “I am very proud to be founding partner of these awards that celebrate the wonderful people of this area.”
He thanked Parker Communications for organising the evening, the Hotel Victoria for hosting the event, all the sponsors and at the end of “another successful year,” Mr Ardley added: “To the nominees and the winners – well done to all of you. Daniel is a very worthy winner overall – he is truly a star.”
The sponsors of this year’s awards were: Waveney Norse, Sentinel Leisure Trust, East of England Co-operative Society Funeral Services, Hoseasons, Potters Friends Foundation, Lowestoft Rising, Lings Motor Group, Pleasurewood Hills, Archant, Cottages.com Adnams and the Marina Theatre.
The ceremony was once again hosted by BBC Suffolk breakfast presenter Mark Murphy, with the Lowestoft Journal, Beccles and Bungay Journal and Eastern Daily Press proud media partners once more.
Surprise bouquets of flowers were presented as “lovely birthday” gifts on the night to Sarah Webb and Ros Parker.