Inspirational community champions were rewarded for their voluntary efforts at a ceremony to celebrate all that is great about Corby.
The Spirit of Corby awards took place last night at the Core Theatre at the Corby Cube.
Finalists were treated to a sit-down meal before they were joined by an audience of members of the public to see the ceremony itself.
Deserving winners, who had been nominated by the public and then selected by a panel, were chosen in each category before the overall Spirit of Corby award was handed to one winner.
The audience was also given a taster of upcoming Corby musical Danny Hero at the interval.
Mayor of Corby Julie Riley said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be able to open this ceremony as mayor of Corby.
“When I moved to Corby many years ago I quickly realised Corby has some of the most kind-hearted people around.
“It’s an honour to be here this evening standing in front of some of the town’s inspiring heroes.
Here are details of winners in each category:
Community Spirit Award (Sponsored by Keepmoat)
David McBurnie - Volunteer member of Northants Search and Rescue.
Emily Wylie - 50 years of helping homeless people at The Lighthouse shelter in Corby.
Dany Reid - When Dany met his pal Tim Reid (no relation!) when the pair were 12, they had no idea that Dany would one day donate one of his kidneys to Tim. The pair of 26-year-olds, who attended Kingswood School, are now best friends for life after Tim discovered by chance that one of his kidneys was failing and Dany offered one of his own kidneys. They went under the knife in July and are now recovering well. They are now spending their time trying to encourage people to sign up as donors.
Club Spirit Award
Corby Steel Diving Club - A small club with huge ambition based at Corby East Midlands International Swimming Pool.
Gary Chambers, Adrian Goodman, Nick Sumpter - The trio run the hugely-successful East Carlton Cricket Club which is at the heart of its community.
Gareth Price - Gareth Price is the only life member of Corby British Legion and he has held every position on the committee. At the moment he is the treasurer and Poppy Appeal organiser while also being the treasurer of the Royal Navy Association. He collects veterans of both groups and takes them to meetings, church, funerals and events, all at cost to himself. He also is in the Corby Bowls group and plays Santa at Christmas in the Old Village. He said: “This really means a lot to me. There are a lot of people that have helped me and I am just over the moon. I’ve spent the past 32 years of my life in the RBL. I do it all on a voluntary basis but I do it because I want to.
“I feel proud that last year the people of Corby raised £38,000 for the Poppy Appeal which is a fantastic amount of money and makes it all worth it.”
Young Spirit Award (Sponsored by Savoy Cinemas)
Ella Bissell - Born with vacterl syndrome but remains positive. Raised £1,000 for charity while herself being in the process of undergoing surgery.
Amy Ellwein - Young member of Corby Steel Diving Club who won her first gold medal within two years of joining.
Nikki Hammond - Aged just 16, Nikki became a single mum to Freya, now seven. But after a year she returned to school, got her A-levels and went to De Montfort University where she gained a BA Hons in Performing Arts. She has used this to start her own community project, Circa District, an aerial arts company. Former Kingswood School pupil Nikki brought aerial skills to Corby for the first time recently at the Corby Carnival, where a free showcase and workshops were open for people to find out more, and soon, thanks to a grant from Made in Corby, Circa District will be open to people of all ages to try something completely new. The 24-year-old has also voluntarily worked with numerous local arts companies and organisations including Frantic Assembly and Metro Boulot DoDo. Recently, she was also awarded one of seven positions on the Regional Theatres Young Directors Scheme. She said: “I took a year out after Freya and in that year I decided that I really wanted to go back to school so I went to Kettering Science Academy.
“I’m glad I did and I’m thankful for the support I got as it wasn’t easy having a young baby and studying.”
Creative Spirit Award (Sponsored by Planet Bounce)
Mandy Cameron - Dedicates her time to a knitting and crocheting group in Corby. Responsible for creatively ‘yarn bombing’ an area outside the Cube.
Volunteer ushers for the Core Theatre - help the theatre to run smoothly. Without their dedication, the theatre could simply not operate.
Elementz - The brainchild of the flamboyantly-named MC Jamzy Bandicoot, Elementz is an exceptional youth club at the heart of the Kingswood community. Despite never finishing school, Jamzy and his fellow vounteers inspire other children to gain more confidence by learning new skills including dj-ing, graffiti art, rapping and break dance. Jamzy, 24, said: “I’m really shocked to have won. I didn’t go to school so it just shows what you can do if you put your mind to it.”
Environmental Spirit Award
Rachel Hughes - For her inspiring work with Cyclefest
Oakley Vale Community Association - An incredibly successful community group, now 10 years old, that runs groups for children and events for all the family.
The Happenin’ Project - An after-school activity session open to anyone between the age of 8-13 years old. This year, the project got involved with the 2016 Corby Cyclfest, where a large group of children put their efforts into designing new items of clothing for a recycled fashion show. The children spent the weeks leading up to the event to drawing, cutting and sewing together their masterpieces. Earlier this year the Happenin’ Project, run by Kevin Williams, opened up the CycleFest and strutted their ’recycled’ stuff on the red carpet. Finlay Jewell, who attended the project, said: “It was great fun. I can’t believe we won!”
Educational Spirit Award (sponsored by Tresham College of Further and Higher Education)
John Bruce - raises funds for local charities and a dedicated worker at Teamwork Trust which helps adults with learning difficulties.
Amanda Punter - A dedicated volunteer at Corby and District Flower Club since its inception five years ago.
Maplefields Circle of Friends - The group has provided events for children with additional needs and have made all events accessible for everyone involved. They provide advice and support to local families with children with complex needs and have expertise in challenging behaviour. They signpost other services to families and they work with organisations to make sure local children and their families know what resources are available to them. They offer extensive volunteer opportunities and training which sets the volunteers in good stead for employability. They also source courses to help families deal with their children’s complexities. Chairman Jodie Mathew said: “I’m feeling quite emotional. I’m absolutely overwhelmed that we have won this award.”
Overall Spirit of Corby Winner: Dany Reid. You can read more about Dany and Tim here