Stars of Norfolk and Waveney: Our finalists revealed

Sports Person of the Year finalist Connie Adam. Pic: Maurice Gray

Sports Person of the Year finalist Connie Adam. Pic: Maurice Gray - Credit: Archant

We've sifted through hundreds of your nominations and come across some amazing stories of truly selfless and brilliant people.

Armed Forces Person of the Year finalist Luke Woodley. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Armed Forces Person of the Year finalist Luke Woodley. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

And today, we are delighted to announce the finalists for this year's EDP Stars of Norfolk and Waveney Awards. Drawn from 13 categories, every one of them is truly an unsung hero. They have all been invited to our gala celebration evening which will take place at Sprowston Manor on December 8, where the winners will be revealed.

Unsung Hero/Heroine of the Year

Stella Gill – 86-year-old Mrs Gill has organised and run Attleborough Gateway Club, providing weekly leisure activities for people with severe learning difficulties, for 42 years.

Police Person of the Year finalist PC Stuart Watson. Picture: MARK AMIES

Police Person of the Year finalist PC Stuart Watson. Picture: MARK AMIES - Credit: MARK AMIES

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Eirrin Thompson – Mr Thompson stepped in to administer CPR to save a woman's life when she collapsed while taking part in the Gorleston Park Run. He stayed with her until an ambulance came and made sure her children were safe.

William Turner – Mr Turner is a 77-year-old pensioner from Diss who volunteers nearly 15 hours a week to pick up rubbish around his town. His work is inspired by the sacrifice of those who have died in war for our country.

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Hospital/Ambulance Hero/Heroine of the Year

Search and Rescue Person of the Year finalist Peter Dukes. Picture: Keith Whitmore

Search and Rescue Person of the Year finalist Peter Dukes. Picture: Keith Whitmore - Credit: Keith Whitmore

Jenny Louden – A volunteer at the Cromer urology one-stop clinic, Ms Louden is described as compassionate, dedicated and always willing to help.

Emily Cole – Ms Cole is the senior midwife co-ordinator at James Paget University Hospitals in Gorleston. She was nominated by a family who lost their pre-natal baby, who said: 'She made us feel welcome, cared for, respected, safe and in control during a very vulnerable time.'

Tracey Bareford – Ms Bareford is part of the specialist palliative care team at the James Paget who is much loved and respected by her colleagues. Her nominator said: 'I have witnessed her bake a cauliflower cheese and bring it to a patient that is struggling to eat but loves cauliflower.'

Phyllis Ecclestone. Picture: SUPPLIED

Phyllis Ecclestone. Picture: SUPPLIED - Credit: Archant

Team of the Year

SERV Norfolk – A team of volunteers who go out in the middle of the night to provide hospitals with an emergency transport service for blood, plasma, platelets, samples, vaccines, donor breast milk and any other urgently required medical items.

Emmaus Norwich at Ditchingham – Emmaus provides a home and meaningful work for homeless people and helps them move on to be useful and active members of the community. The team enables 'companions' to develop skills, rebuild self-respect and help others in greater need than themselves.

BACT Community Transport – BACT has more than 50 volunteer drivers who give up hundreds of hours of their time to drive people to important medical appointments, and help prevent social isolation by getting people out of their homes.

Young Person of the Year finalist Ezara-Mai Downes. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Young Person of the Year finalist Ezara-Mai Downes. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Outstanding Bravery

Neil Ramsay and David Castleman – Mr Ramsay, 44, and teenager David both risked their lives to save swimmers who were in danger at Sea Palling.

Kane Mallett-Rial – At just 13 years old, Kane protected his best friend when a branch smashed through the window of the double-decker bus they were travelling on to their school in Norwich.

Young Person of the Year finalist Sarah Barrett, with her mother Cath Pickles. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Young Person of the Year finalist Sarah Barrett, with her mother Cath Pickles. PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Lisa Ambrose and Angela Marnoch – Two brave survivors of childhood sexual abuse, Ms Ambrose and Ms Marnoch set up a group in Lowestoft called Surviving United to offer support for other victims.

Carer of the Year

Sherena Skedge – Working for the care firm Leaf, Ms Skedge attends to every need of her clients from shopping to meal preparations. Her client who made the nomination said she went above and beyond anything that could be expected.

Janice Parslow-Williams – Recently retired from Manorcourt Homecare, Mrs Parslow-Williams spent 25 years as a carer, always treating people with kindness, dignity, respect and a smile.

Search and Rescue Person of the Year

Peter Dukes – He has spent 63 of his 84 years as a lifeguard around Norfolk's coastline. He has saved countless people from drowning in that time and he has maintained levels of fitness which led to an amazing recovery from cancer.

Keith Griffin – Station officer with Happisburgh and Mundesley Coastguard, Mr Griffin has seen it all in his career including storm surges, a woman sinking in mud, dead whales and a man who reversed his lawnmower over a cliff.

Eleanor Jones – Mrs Jones, from Wymondham, has made a great contribution to Norfolk lowland Search and Rescue, and has been with the group for more than 10 years, becoming a search leader.

Fire Service Person of the Year

Sonny Garrett – Aged 70, Mr Garrett, of Hellesdon, has worked for Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service for more than 45 years, and was instrumental in major safety improvements at Carrow Road.

Richard McGonagle – A watch manager with the fire and rescue service, Mr McGonagle routinely makes quick decisions and orders his team to resolve operational incidents taking into account the risk and benefit of all his actions.

David Farrow – Mr Farrow retired in April after working as the only arson reduction officer in the county for the past nine years. He revolutionised the way the fire service prevents fires.

Outstanding Sporting Achievement of the Year

Alfie Hewett – A wheelchair tennis star, Mr Hewett won silver medals in both singles and doubles at the Rio Paralympics. At just 18 years old, he is ranked eight in the world men's singles rankings, fourth in doubles and second overall in the UK.

Connie Adam – Mrs Adam, 88, from Earlham, came home earlier this year with a silver medal from an international fencing competition – where she was the oldest competitor.

Charles Cousens – Better known as 'Len', 73-year-old Mr Cousens is one of 12 men who have taken part in every London Marathon since in started in 1981. He has also completed marathons in Paris, New York, Berlin and Barbados.

Armed Services Person of the Year

Thomas Bradley – Now in his 70s, Mr Bradley moved to Lowestoft 20 years ago after leaving the army, and since then has dedicated his life to helping people and groups including the Royal British Legion and Help for Heroes.

Ivan Spall – A veteran of Normandy and recipient of Legion d'honneur medals, 95-year-old Mr Spall spent many years helping less fortunate military personnel as a volunteer for the Royal Artillery Association.

Luke Woodley – A British army veteran, Mr Woodley set up a support group for veterans called The Walnut Tree Project, after going through PTSD himself.

Volunteer of the Year

Margaret Wynn Horsfield – At 76, Mrs Horsfield has recently stepped down after 33 years volunteering at Sprowston Day Centre. She was the 'backbone' of the centre for many years and was loved and respected for her can-do attitude.

Phyllis Ecclestone – Aged 90, Mrs Ecclestone has spent the past 50 years volunteering for groups including the Great Yarmouth Sports Council, Pakefield Youth Football, operatic society, as school governor, Marina Centre campaigner, and as a carer of terminally ill people.

Jean and William George – This Norwich couple work tirelessly fundraising for local charities, hosting annual charity sales restocking a stall in their garden. To date, they have raised more than £70,000.

Community Group or Champion of the Year

Ros Cordiner – She set up Ludham Computers and has taught and supported hundreds of 'silver surfers' who would otherwise not know how to use computers.

Kickstart Fakenham – Consisting of four members, this group spends its spare time arranging events around the town including the Fakenham fair, Christmas lights switch-on, a duck race and a beer festival.

Andy and Sammi Barnard – This couple lost their daughter, Poppy-Mai, to cancer aged 18 months. They have since raised more than £75,000 towards the creation of a retreat for parents with sick children.

Police Person of the Year

PC Stuart Watson – PC Watson was off-duty when he saw a man threatening a Tesco staff member with a lump hammer. He risked his life and sustained an injury in going to her aid.

PCSO Norman Drew – Since 2012 PCSO Drew has put all his effort and commitment into the Lowestoft Emergency Service Cadets. He volunteers his time to lead the group and is considered a first-class role model.

PC Sally Nairn – PC Nairn, based at Earlham Police Station, was nominated by someone for rescuing her from a domestic abuse situation. She is described as a very supportive, kind and extremely helpful person.

Young Person of the Year

Sarah Barrett – After suffering from self-harm and mental health issues, Sarah started a campaigning website where people can share their own stories.

Owen Leeder – Owen has been a young volunteer with Nelson's Journey since 2014. His father died when he was 10 years old, and he helps support other bereaved children.

Ezara-Mai Downes – Ezara was diagnosed with an incredibly rare lupus-like illness when she was four. She has had to go through treatments for years and endure lots of pain, but she is an inspirational youngster who has raised a huge amount of cash for the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity.

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