Unsung heroes from across East Northamptonshire have been recognised with a gift in honour of their efforts in the community.
Spire Homes and Keepmoat Property Services have once again been running their 12 Good Deeds scheme across East Northamptonshire and Rutland, asking people to nominate people who make a difference in their community.
Sharon Boot, customer engagement officer at Spire Homes, said: “We were really blown away with not only the number of nominations, but also the quality of them.
“It was really tough to cut them down to just 12 and we’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who sent in their nominations.”
A group of youngsters from Rushden Academy were among those to get a good deed.
Nominated by Jo Steele who works at the academy, Team Pheonix is made up of seven students who range in age from 12 to 16 who volunteer every Saturday and during holidays at the Phoenix Resource centre in Wellingborough.
Keepmoat are really pleased to have recognised so many unsung heroes with Spire HomesJulie Baker
Jo said: “It’s great to see Team Phoenix getting a good deed.
“They work tirelessly to sort through two tonnes of food a week in support of local food banks throughout the Northamptonshire food hub.
“They also sort medical aid to send to the world’s hot spots such as Syria, Kurdistan and Sierra Leone.
“They don’t ask for anything in return and it’s great to give them something for all their hard work.”
Each member was given a £10 cinema voucher.
Kathleen Pidgeon was nominated by her neighbour, Marion Coe, at Crispian Court, Rushden, and received some flowers.
She said: “Kathleen has had a very hard life and lived in homeless accommodation but she hasn’t let this stop her from making friends and throwing herself into life here at Crispian Court.
“It took her a while to settle in but Kathleen is a lady who everyone likes and she helps out a lot at our social events.
“It’s wonderful to see her get a gift that shows we care and appreciate everything she does.”
Another person to receive a good deed was Anne Kidari, who was nominated by Sharon Boot from Spire Homes and the Veterans Companionship group she runs at Rushden’s Masonic Hall.
Sharon said: “Anne runs and organises the veterans’ group with a huge amount of energy and enthusiasm.
“It’s a wonderful group which provides invaluable support to veterans who are on their own and the Christmas party has turned into a fantastic social event supported by local companies.
“On top of that, Anne also makes sure people who are on their own on Christmas Day get a call from other members of the group.
“I’m really pleased that we’ve been able to organise some flowers for Anne as well as some raffle prizes and a visit from Santa for the party.”
Lenny Parbery from Rushden was nominated by his neighbours Mr and Mrs Donaldson.
Mr Donaldson said: “When we moved to our flat last year, Lenny was trying his best to keep the garden in shape but now he’s nearly 95 he was struggling.
“Lenny’s lived here for 41 years and has always enjoyed looking after the garden so my wife and I rolled our sleeves up to give him a hand in the summer.
“Sadly, Lenny’s wife, Constance, passed away shortly after their 70th wedding anniversary in September, so we bought a rose bush called Constance and will plant it this spring in memory of Lenny’s dear wife.
“Lenny is looking forward to the garden again next year, looking after the runner beans and the roses.
“Lenny inspired us to work together to make the garden the pleasant place it is now so we can all sit in the sun in summer.”
Lenny was given a Christmas hamper.
John Walpole was nominated by neighbours Rosemary, Pat and Jean from Stronglands Court in Oundle.
Rosemary said: “John is always ready to help anyone, especially those of us who find it difficult to get around, it doesn’t matter if it’s giving someone a hand with their shopping or doing a spot of gardening.
“John is always cheerful, tells really funny jokes and never lets anything get him down. He’s a fantastic neighbour who has definitely earned a good deed.”
John received a festive hamper.
Pauline Norman and Cheryl Collier were nominated by the 8th Rushden Scouts Group which they run each week from the Salvation Army in Albert Street.
Janine Cullen, who helped with the nomination, said: “We wanted to do something special for Pauline and Cheryl to say thank you for all the time they volunteer to organise the Cubs group.
“They do a fantastic job coming up with fun activities every week and making sure our Cubs learn key life skills along the way.
“We’re really glad they’ve been recognised as a community hero with the 12 deeds of Christmas.”
Two volunteers from RUSH2TheDEN also received some good deeds.
Nina, who runs the group of volunteers that provide fun for mums, tots and teenagers, wanted to thank the volunteers who have gone above and beyond.
She said: “RUSH2TheDEN has some fantastic volunteers who help run each of our clubs and I wanted to give special recognition to Andy and Rachel who’ve both worked really hard over the last 18 months.
“Andy leads our 15:17s youth club and Rachel leads our 5:7s group.
“They both go the extra mile to organise fantastic activities for the kids and have been a huge help with our fundraising; they’re really reliable and have fantastic personalities.
“In particular, I wanted to recognise Andy - he volunteers for three to four sessions a week while holding down a full time job as a mechanic, but has also been volunteering for 20 years as a Scout leader and youth worker.”
Elaine Nicolson was nominated for her work running Action for Aspergers which provides counselling for people with Asperger’s and their families.
She was nominated by Eyvonne Baxter, who said: “After setting up Action for Asperger’s in 2008, Elaine has worked tirelessly to grow it into a lifeline for so many people.
“She has plenty of qualifications in counselling and therapy but as she has family who have been diagnosed with Asperger’s so she has first-hand experience of what families and people who live with the condition go through and this has really helped her shape the support she provides.
“Elaine runs the charity herself and all on a voluntary basis so I’m really pleased to see her get a good deed.”
Other people to receive gifts were Carol who was nominated by her neighbours for her effort to help out her fellow residents at Francis Court in Ryhall.
On top of helping out her neighbours every day, she cooks Sunday roasts and has organised a Christmas meal this year for people who would be alone on Christmas Day.
Katherine Harris from Langham was nominated by her mum, Bernadette, who said: “Katherine’s only 25 but she’s already juggling a lot of responsibility.
“She raises money for charity and homeless people, looks after her fiancé who is in a wheelchair due to an accident last year, all while working as a hairdresser and studying for hair and beauty qualifications.”
Win from Oakham was nominated for a good deed by Pete Billson, property surveyor at Spire Homes, who said: “Win recently retired after 30 years of service repairing homes across Rutland, the last four years with Keepmoat.
“Over the years Win has become extremely well known among tenants as someone who is very friendly, approachable and reliable.
“I know he will be missed by many of our elderly residents and I’m really pleased that the 12 deeds have been able to give Win a little extra thank you.”
12 deeds organiser Julie Baker, community liaison manager at Keepmoat, said: “We’ve had a fantastic response from the community for our 12 deeds.
“Keepmoat are really pleased to have recognised so many unsung community heroes with Spire Homes.
“Even though life can be hectic, especially at Christmas, it’s important to take a moment to show appreciation to people who go that extra mile to make a positive difference in their community and I hope we’ve inspired others to maybe do some good deeds of their own.”