Champions of the community from across Belper were honoured for their inspirational work in the town at the Belper News’ 2014 New Year Honours.
The great and the good - who were selected from readers’ nominations - were presented with certificates to mark their commitment and dedication during a presentation at the Strutts Community Centre.
There were six winners in all who had been nominated for the accolade and then chosen by our panel of judges. And they were all certainly worthy of being honoured.
Belper News editor Julie Crouch said: “This is now an established date on our calendar when we reward unsung heroes out there who selflessly and tirelessly give up their time for the benefit of others.
“We also felt the good work and deeds of these people often went unnoticed by the wider community, and we wanted to give these people some very deserved recognition.
“When we launched the first New Year Honours, we were not sure what the reaction would be, but the public took them on board and nominated some very worthy candidates - and that is certainly true again this year.
“All of our 2014 candidates are inspirational people. We have had readers send in long letters about candidates, others have phoned us anonymously feeling we should just know about a particular person, going on to tell us why they felt that person should get an award.”
This year the recipients were:
Ian was recognised for a wide variety of volunteer work which he has undertaken in the town since 2010. As well as manning Transition Belper stalls at Belper food festivals and Discovery Days his highlights include; chairing Transition Belper in 2011-12 and 2012-13 during which time the first youth market and Belper Goes Green festival were held. He has also worked with the Transition Belper Energy Group to win £50,000 from DECC’s Local Energy Assessment Fund and delivered a number of useful projects to help Belper in the longer term.
Meanwhile, he has played a leading role in launching Totally Locally Belper, and set up Amber & Derwent Valley Community Energy (ADVyCE) whose main project aims to re-instate Hydro power in Ambergate. This was made possible after he helped to win the Co-operative Community Energy Challenge.
Finally, he is a part of the Belper Train Station adopters crew and has brought Belper community groups, businesses, MP Pauline Latham, councillors and local authorities together for Transition meetings.In 2012, He also volunteered as a ‘Games Maker’ at the Olympics.
George Jones and Pippa Mansel
As members of the Belper Civic Forum George and Pippa have worked tirelessly for the town over the years helping out with the World Heritage Site Discovery Days. But last year they bought and opened up the old Salvation Army Hall on Belper Market Place, giving it a whole new lease of life as No.28, a community facility for the town. They host numerous events, such as the Market Place History Exhibition in September and Model Fair Rides during Belper Fair Week as well as craft fairs and talks, among other things. In addition, they have reopened the community cafefor the public and stallholders to enjoy during the monthly Farmers Markets. Also, George is a member of the Belper North Mill Trust.
Promoting and sharing art, music and heritage in Belper won Viv recognition in our honours awards. She founded the annual Belper Open Houses art event in 2012, which has now become a key part of Belper Arts Festival. This enables local artists and craftspeople to showcase their work and share their skills, and has put Belper on the map as a hotspot of creativity and craftsmanship. As an active member of the Chevin Singers she was also instrumental in organising two community singing days in 2010 and 2012, as well as numerous concerts and performances. Her other work includes leading history walks in the town, volunteering at Belper North Mill, U3A and writing columns for the Belper News.
Co-ordinating the vast and ever-growing Belper Arts Festival each May scooped George Gunby one of our honours. The incredibly successful spectacle sees events ranging from theatre, dance, and poetry to art, crafts, music and comedy staged across the town. Mr Gunby also runs the Belper Short Play competition, to tie-in withthe festival, which attracts entries from all over the world. Elsewhere he is also the writer and creator of the Belper Passion Play which had its inaugural performance last year and is set to become a regular Easter event in the streets and churches of Belper and organised a Christmas concert to help raise money for the Belper Food Bank and next year’s Arts Festival.
George was unable to attend out ceremony, but we will catch up with him soom to present him with his award.
Fundraiser for Belper Stroke Club and Belper Disabled Club, Dorrie Lenton was our final winner. The committed friend and neighbour who lives in Bartonknowle, Belper was nominated for her caring attitude and her charitable work including knitting various items which she regulary donates to good causes. She was described as a good listener, who when she said she would do something for you, she would do just that.
Dorrie was not at our presentation on Thursday, but we caught up with her this week.