Schoolboy fundraiser Caeden leads the way in Spirit of Corby Awards

These are the last Spirit of Corby Awards to be held by the borough council

Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 3:54 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 3:56 pm

Corby's biggest community champions have been revealed as a poll to find the people with the Spirit of Corby running in their blood have been chosen by voters.

The awards, organised by Corby Council and voted for by members of the public, handed out a total of nine awards with one person being chosen as the Overall Spirit of Corby award winner.

Recognising community groups, individuals, volunteers and organisations, the winner of the Overall Spirit of Corby was Caeden Thomson, a seven-year-old with cerebral palsy who last year conquered Ben Nevis raising £22,000 for charity - he also received the Young Spirit of Corby Award.

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Caeden Thomson, 7,

Mum Lisa Thomson said: "When he found out he won he slapped his face and his jaw dropped. He couldn't believe it and wanted to know who had chosen him.

"I'm beyond proud, I'm mega proud, I'm super proud. We're going to have to get a new shelf because he's got so many awards. We just want to get out there and do some more to help others."

Caeden set out to raise £8,000 but raised £22,000 which went to Scope and Northants Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

Born 12 weeks early, doctors were not sure that he would walk.

Corby Wombles founder Tinker Williams

Since the climb Caeden wants to do more for charity, and is ready to take on more physical fundraising challenges.

All nominations were entered and voted on by the public, then, from all of the category winners, the Spirit of Corby Awards panel chose the overall winner.

Other winners were:

Community Spirit Award - Ambulance First Responders Group

Ice Bin Challenge

The Ambulance First Responder Group are a self-funded scheme who respond to emergency 999 calls from the Operations Centre in Nottingham. They are fully trained and insured by East Midlands Ambulance Service and respond to a variety of calls from trips and falls to full on cardiac arrest. During the first lockdown they were helping the ambulance service to keep stocks of PPE on ambulances and patient transport vehicles as well as carrying out their normal day to day duties. In addition to their role, they also carry out checks of the public access defibrillators within the Corby community and offer CPR and Defibrillator Training. Everything this group does is completely voluntary.

Environmental Spirit Award - The Corby Wombles

The Corby Wombles are a group of dedicated volunteers who take time out to explore different areas of the borough looking for litter to pick up. They obtain all the correct and necessary equipment, collect littler throughout the borough, bag it up, place it next to litter bins nearby and inform Corby Borough Council that it is there and ready for collection. Any waste found that could pose a danger is disposed of safely and relevant people are informed. The Corby Wombles are dedicated to ensuring Corby is kept clean and are out and about every day no matter the weather.

Creative Spirit Award - Jason Strachan and Gary McQuade

Stacey Price - Community First Responder

Jason and Gary have been an integral support for Kyle Hughes rehabilitation and well-being over the past six years, who was left severely paralysed by a life-threatening brain cyst and a stroke. They’ve helped to pick him up at his lowest and continue to give him hope. Kyle has now reached the stage where he needs specialist rehabilitation treatment that will hopefully help him to walk and eat again. Once again, Gary and Jason are right by his side and determined to help their friend access the treatment he desperately needs. This is when the 21-day Ice Bin Challenge was born. For 21 days, Gary and Jason got into ice filled wheelie bins, for at least one minute to raise as much money as they possible could. Each day, they nominated a further five people to join them in the challenge for one day only.

Club Spirit Award - Helping Hands

Helping Hands Corby & surrounding areas is a community project made up of local volunteers who have shown support in their own time, delivering care packages, to those who needed essential items last year during the pandemic. The group was set up by Christi- Marie Curran and Kellie Hughes. By advertising on the Facebook page, they obtained essential items donated by the general public and they organised a hub for volunteers to meet and pack up care packages, ready for delivery, also making contact with Corby Council, they were able to deliver care packages for those who had contacted the Council, and therefore providing vulnerable people with essential items, which all were very appreciative. All volunteers were very committed to ensuring care packages were delivered to those who needed help. The team worked evenings and weekends and at the drop of a hat would volunteer to deliver care packages.

Educational Spirit Award - Caroline Haynes

Caroline is an Early Years Specialist, however she now teaches a Year Two class at Beanfield Primary School. When the first lockdown happened in March 2020, Caroline like many of her colleagues continued to teach and provide lessons for the children of Key workers and those children which are identified as vulnerable. In addition to this though Caroline wanted to help parents who had now been thrown into 'home schooling' for the very first time. Caroline's early years knowledge meant that she knew that children can learn best through play and play is also a fun way for parents to interact with their children.

Caroline created a Facebook page at the time called 'At home with Mrs H' and started creating and sharing fun and educational activities that could be done using items commonly found around the house. The activities were simple to follow, the instructions showed what learning would be achieved and how to extend the learning for children too. No cost needed to be incurred to complete the activities and all of the ideas were and still are provided completely free of charge. Caroline posted ideas on the Facebook page everyday throughout the first lockdown and often more than one post/idea each day. When the first lockdown ended, the page name was changed to what it is today 'Making learning fun with Mrs H' and Caroline has continued to provide ideas for people to use with their children on nearly a daily basis. The page now has over 10,000 followers including not just parents, but childminders, nurseries and schools from across Corby, Northamptonshire and the globe.

Caroline regularly receives messages of thanks from the page followers for the great ideas and sometimes pictures of the completed activities too. The time Caroline has devoted to supporting others through the development of the page, the creation of all the activities and posts on top of continuing with the challenges of teaching through the pandemic is truly above and beyond expectations!

Special 2020 Award - Anne Smith

Inspired by the opening of Dorking House in January 2020, Anne has been dedicated to volunteering there for one day each week. Despite being a driving instructor with limited time, she did not let this stop her from giving up what spare time she did have. In March, like many others, she was affected financially by the Covid-19 pandemic. Undefeated, she threw herself into doing what she could to give back to the community.

Since March, Anne has volunteered her services and that of her redundant car, assisting in the following ways on a daily/weekly basis: Taking extra shifts at Dorking House to ensure rough sleepers could continue to live in a safe environment, meaning that they did not have to live on the streets throughout the pandemic; Volunteered with Corby Borough Council’s Rough Sleeper Outreach Worker to assist in transporting homeless to temporary accommodation; Delivers food, clothes and other provisions to those in temporary accommodation; Collects and delivers donations from local supermarkets to Dorking House and those in other temporary accommodation; Sources, collects and delivers small items of furnishing for those moving from temporary accommodation into their own forever home; Sources, collects and delivers food donations to Beanfield Primary in order to boost their foodbank provision; Assists those in need of transport to and from hospital and other medical appointments; Delivered food during the first lockdown to the elderly community; When donations were abundant, she identified other local organisations and delivered excess to care homes, children's homes and nursing homes; Through her involvement, she has identified young families and regularly assists them when they require it.

In addition to all of the above, Anne also recently raised £670 for the Royal British Legion by walking 50km in 14 days for the Poppy Run. Despite being affected financially by the pandemic, Anne has showed endless dedication to helping those in need.

Special Recognition Award – Intensive Care Unit, Kettering General Hospital

This year has been a difficult one for all of us and those of us that know people that work in the health sector will understand how challenging 2020/21 has been for our NHS staff, particularly those in our Intensive Care Unit. Therefore, our panel has decided to award the ICU team at Kettering General Hospital with a Special Recognition Award for all of their amazing work, dedication and care they have given patients throughout the pandemic.

Leader of Corby Council, Cllr Tom Beattie, said: "The 2020/21 awards have been a real bittersweet moment for us as a council.

"The Spirit of Corby Awards are one of our highlights of the year but not being able to celebrate the nominees in the normal way has been a real disappointment for all of us involved.

"We know that there has been some unbelievable work, community spirit and sacrifice over what has been an extremely turbulent year and this has really come through in the nominations.

"We wanted to recognise these achievements and so will be delivering each of the awards and certificates to winners and nominees throughout the week.

"The Spirit of Corby Awards will be one of my very many fond memories of working for Corby Borough Council.

"We have truly celebrated some amazing people over the years.

"I would like to thank all of our past sponsors who have made it possible to hold the awards, the staff that put so much hard work into running the awards, the public for making the hundreds of nominations and thousands of votes and of course every single nominee, past and present.

"Whether you won your category or not you are all amazing and should be so proud of how you represent the real spirit of our borough."