Voting Opens for 2021 Community Champion Awards

The nominations are in and it’s time to vote on our six Community Champion awards for 2021.  We’re delighted that we’ve had 35 nominations in the categories; Charity Champion, Community Champion, Customer Service Champion, Heart of Gold Neighbour/Covid-19 Volunteer, Top Teacher/TA and Young Sporting Superstar. Thank you to everyone who took the time to nominate.  Please vote for ONE person in EACH award. If you really can’t decide – click this box.  Then hit the VOTE button at the bottom.  You can only vote ONCE.  Voting closes on 30 November at 5pm. The winners will be announced in the New Year or at the Awards Party on Friday 4 February 2022 if we are able to hold this.  The party will be sponsored by Manning UK and will be raising money for Lowland Rescue Oxfordshire.

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Charity Champion

Sponsored by Henley Self Storage

Marco Barcella – Chiltern Centre

Marco has done lots of charity fundraising over the years. He has raised nearly £10k for the Chiltern Centre in 2021. Earlier this year Marco took part in monthly challenges. In January he swam in the Thames every day, February he carried a 50kg bag of rocks everywhere he went, finishing with 20 hill climbs, and in March he climbed trees every day. He recently completed a 220 mile walk from Henley to reach Mt Snowdon in six days. I want to thank Marco for his inspirational challenges and the money raised. He also gives his professional time freely to promote the Chiltern Centre through film.  

Angela Face - Nomad

Angela works at Nomad Henley. She supports families and individuals as well as helping with the food bank parcels. She worked throughout the pandemic particularly in the food bank because of the huge impact it had.  I am very lucky because Angela is my Mum!  I see what she does at work but also at home. Her work never stops at the end of the day. She is constantly popping out to see or supporting people on the phone. I don’t think Angela knows just how amazing she really is. Angela puts people she works with before herself always and it would be amazing for her to see just how much impact she has had on people’s lives! 

John Green - Royal British Legion

For many years John has been an active fund raiser for the RBL and regularly seen in town at the launch of the Poppy Appeal in his WW1 uniform. He has completed the Nijmegan Marches in Holland 5 times which involved walking up to 200km in 4 days and in 2019 trekked in the mountains of Ethiopia. His most recent activity was a 100km walk around the villages near Henley in tribute to Captain Tom (Moore). All of these events have raised thousands for the RBL but the Captain Tom walk led to donations of over £30,000.
At 86 he shows no signs of slowing down! 

David Haddock

Dave has been an inspiration for the work he’s done to help the local community, especially in this hard times. 

Adam Lubbock – Music for Autism 

Lubbs who is my personal trainer at the ADVHQ gym, went above and beyond for the charity “Music for Autism”.  Not only did he start at 5.30am but he did 1000 burpees (anyone who knows what they are will agree how horrendous it is to do just 10) travelled 33,000m on a Ski Erg, 30,000m on a Bike Erg, and finished with a 33km run (33,000m). He did this all in one day! Every metre and to represent every child that the charity has helped so far.  He is truly amazing and deserves this award. We are all so incredibly proud of him.

Henley Mermaids - Various Brain Conditions
Laura Reineke, Jo Robb, Susan Barry, Joan Fennelly and Fiona Print)

Thanks to Henley Mermaids and all their community in Henley. They have been doing phenomenal charity work all this year supporting brain condition charities in Ireland and UK. This year they have prepared for, trained and swam the Bristol Channel in relay for over 16 hours, coming up only 4km short of the shore in Swansea, and were preparing to do a second challenge, but the tides got too high. They are the first to bring a joint effort to raise funds for 4 Irish and 4 UK Charities, (covering Huntington's, Parkinson's, MND and MS diseases) amounting to £34K. 

Charity Champion

Community Champion

Sponsored THP Solicitors

Harriet Barcella - Friends of Badgemore School/Chiltern Centre

Harriet works tirelessly for Badgemore Primary School as an active member of FOBS (our parent teacher association) and as a Governor, on top of her job as a fundraiser for the Chiltern Centre and having three young children. Nothing is too much trouble and she always has a beaming smile on her face too! Additionally, Harriet is hugely supportive of local business and always happy to publicly praise good service se has received. I can think of very few people who so energetically support their local community across the board. 

Lucy Brewster - Baby Cafe

Lucy’s contribution to our community since the start of the pandemic has been amazing. She quickly realised the pandemic stopped virtually all new mothers’ groups meeting in person. She set up Baby Café, a support group for new Mums, which continued throughout the pandemic. At the hardest times, she ran 3 sessions/day so that all Mums could come and was constantly adapting the group to keep within the guidelines. Many Mums described it as a lifeline for new mums at a time when they would otherwise have been very isolated. Lucy also recently set up another group for toddlers. Lucy did all this at a time when she had a small baby herself. 

Chris Elson - 1st Henley Scouts

Chris has been volunteering for local scouting for 25 years and is currently Akela of Henley Cubs on Fridays. He is tireless in his commitment to the children and ensuring they have a great time, and deserves recognition for all he has done and is doing. 

Geoff Luckett - The Henley Society

Geoff Luckett became Chairman of The Henley Society just over a year ago and in the short time he has been in this position he has, together with his Executive Committee,  completely turned this organisation around. The membership numbers have virtually tripled, he is untiring in his bid to leave no stone unturned when members contact him for advice or help on a community or planning matter. Whether it be the solar bins, planning applications, planting of trees or residents needing support, he is on the case and you can absolutely rely he will give every matter his full attention. 

Jo Anne May - Henley Recycle Facebook Group

Joanne setup the Henley recycling page. She manages this site for free and has saved loads of stuff going to landfill. Henley people have benefited so much from here and has bought so many people together. Jo is a fun out going person with loads of energy and kindness. 

Leon Redman - Henley Rowing Club

Leon has worked voluntarily at Henley Rowing Club for the past 5+ years. As the head junior girls coach he has brought success to the girls so many of the girls from local areas and helped to set them on paths to succeed in future life. Many of them going to university in America or the UK also representing their country at various international events. 

Tom Scott - Henley Tennis Club

Tom has helped to put Henley Tennis Club back on the map! He has helped to encourage both adults and children alike to play regularly at the club in Tilebarn Close. He also organises the popular school holiday clubs and is pioneering a tennis leadership course at the Club to encourage young adults into a possible future leadership role. He set up Hit 4 Henley to raise money for local community charities and so far has raised over £2,500 for Nomad. 

Community Champion

Heart of Gold Neighbour

Sponsored by Meadow Farm Studio

Neill Gunnell - Blandy Road

Neil is at the heart of the community fusing 2 separate neighbour groups to be as one. He is constantly on it with anything and everything that happens locally. This is whether directly or indirectly affects you so everyone is involved or knowledgeable about emerging events.  A great sense of humour and respect oozes from every email he sends and he is always reliable and dependable went asked about so many random subjects.  As they say a jolly good egg. 

Henley Mutual Aid Group (Harriet Barcella, Kellie Hinton, Joanne Mcdonagh Hughes, Nikki Norris, Cheryl Purver and Emma Taylor

All the ladies of the mutual aid group organised hundreds of people to collect shopping prescriptions and help to residents of Henley and surrounding areas all the way through covid and are still supporting some residents still they really should have a mention. My wife being one that used to be on group teams calls every night for months. 

Rita Szucs - Marmion Road

When Rita discovered our nonagenarian neighbours couldn't look after their garden she started to water, weed, plant and tend to their garden daily. Not only has this been life changing for them in providing an outdoor space they can use and be proud of, it has also meant that in this strangely isolated world they see a friendly face every day. What's more Rita takes care of all the plants in the fronts of ALL the houses along our stretch of the road. She puts so much love and care in to making the street a beautiful place.

Paul Wilson - Goodall Close

Paul has been an absolute superstar while I've been ill. He's done my shopping, looked after my cat and brought me over supplies when I was in hospital, he picked me up from hospital and has been helping me ever since. And he does all this whilst home schooling two children and looking after a six month old. 

Heart of Gold Neighbour/Covid-19 Volunteer

Customer Service Champion

Sponsored by Brakspear

Emma - Waitrose

Emma works on the Waitrose customer service desk. She not only provides a welcoming face and support to adult shoppers, in the last year, she has gone above and beyond to make my 3 year old son smile each time we visit.  Her lovely personality and taking such interest in him has really warmed our hearts whilst he struggled with lockdown. She remembered his favourite things were small cocktail sausages and one day bought him a packet, you should have seen his face. Each time we go to town he asks to see ‘shopkeeper Emma’ and looks forward to chatting to her about Spider-Man and dinosaurs. Her taking time out of her busy day to chat to him has made such a difference and really reminds us it’s the people who make a community not the location. 

Millie & Talia - Drifters Coffeehouse

Millie and Talia are amazing at welcoming people and making their cafe into a real community. They are so warm and friendly, it's always a treat to go to Drifters and enjoy their hospitality. It's like visiting friends. 

Lorraine Hillier - Hot Gossip

I have chosen Lorraine Hillier for the Customer Service Champion, for the service she has provided at Hot Gossip over the past 12 years. Lorraine will make anyone welcome, even residents that need support in our community, she has a heart of gold towards them, and this is very much appreciated as they return day after day. A lot of people have now become friends with Lorraine rather than just customers.  This would be a richly deserved reward for the dedication Lorraine has given to her customers. 

Michelle Howlett - Reids Dry Cleaners

Always at work and always smiling. Asks how everyone is and very kind. 

Isobel - Tesco

Isobel is kind, friendly and polite. Hers is the checkout queue I choose to make my day a little better in these tough times. Always a bit happier for the experience, multiply that by a town and it’s a huge difference. Fantastic commitment, care, and attitude to customer service. An all round star ... and excellent earrings always.  Grateful to her as a dedicated essential worker throughout the pandemic, and we're looking forward to seeing her Christmas earrings!

Vicky Smith - Vintage Look

Vicky is the face of The Vintage Look. She always goes above and beyond to welcome customers in the shop and help them find what they're looking for. Her bubbly personality and cheerful disposition brightens everyone's day. 

Tom Wilbin - Catherine Wheel

Tom has worked in the Catherine Wheel for years and if they are out at a community event he's often been one of those involved over the years. Tom always greets people with a smile, knows their regular customers well and never gets an order wrong! He always has friendly chat and keeps things in order. Just amazing, friendly and efficient. 

Customer Service Champion

Top Teacher/TA

Sponsored by Southern Plant & Tool Hire

Sharon Greenwood - Badgemore School

Mrs Greenwood is an extraordinary reception teacher. She is welcoming, calm, experienced and nurturing. She has an extraordinary knowledge of the children in her class, knowing how to get the very best of each of them both as individuals and as part of the school community. I am delighted to have my second child now in her class and it is an incredible reflection of her skill as a teacher that each day my 4 year old wakes up genuinely excited to go to school. Some people are born to be teachers. Mrs Greenwood is one of those people. 

Caroline Jacobs – Badgemore School

Amazing upbeat, calm , always helpful and kind to all my children! 

Shelly Jarvis – Henley College

Shelly has a heart of gold she looked after my son and helped him to learn and be happy when she was at Valley Road School now she doing it all again at the Henley College for the disabled. She has a big heart and she helped me to.  She cares so much about what she's doing she makes a big difference.

Susie Newman - Rupert House School

Mrs Newman is the kind of teacher a Rupert House child will never forget. Whether as Deputy Head, Head of Pre-Prep, form teacher or just overall school superstar, she has such a positive impact on every single pupil, parent and member of staff. She gets things done, always sees the fun side of things and so deserves being recognised for all the incredible work she does every day. She kept us particularly engaged with her brilliant science experiments during home-learning and made us all feel so much closer together than we physically were at that time. Thank you so much, Mrs Newman!

Avery Penna – Sacred Heart

Ms Penna kept our children connected, positive, hopeful and energised before, during and after Lockdown. She is an inspirational, generous and amazingly progressive teacher and mentor. She even raised funds and helped build an amazing school garden and play area during the first Lockdown. Avery shocks us every morning with her astounding energy, even on days where we may feel most miserable. Not only does she go above and beyond to help a parent in need of advice, comfort or information, the connection she has to the children is loving, it is safe, it is fun.

Lucy Robinson – Badgemore School

Ms Robinson is the most incredible teacher and my son has been lucky enough to have her for two years in a row. She was a power house through lockdown and an inspiration to others. She is full of positivity and creativity. She was the shining light through home schooling! She is the best example of everything you could want in a teacher. Friendly, funny, informative, super talented and supportive. She spent half term driving books around to her pupils houses! Having spent time in her year 1 class on a couple of school trips recently (lucky me) I saw first hand how much her class love and respect her. For all of the above reasons she should win the award! 

Denise Williams – Gillotts School

Mrs Williams works in the Learning Support Department at Gillotts she is absolutely brilliant at supporting students with with additional needs. Denise goes above and beyond for her students to ensure they are happy and reaching their potential, both inside and out of school. She regularly works outside her work hours to ensure extra support is quickly put in place when needed. She is also a great support to students’ parents. Denise organises and helps run fund raising events for Gillotts. Denise spots encourages students to develop their talents. 

Top Teacher/TA

Young Sporting Superstar

Sponsored by IBS Office Solutions

Daisy Stevens - Gymnastics

Daisy has been competing for a number of years at Gymnastics, and has been working her way through the ranks with a positive attitude and mindset. She is a great ambassador for the school, and has worked hard through her years at Gillotts. Representing GB Gymnastics at the British and European Championships is a phenomenal achievement.

Bisan Musa - Hurdles

Bisan is new to the school this year, but is already making a positive impression. We recently became aware of her sporting prowess, where she is ranked 9th in the UK for her age group in the hurdles. We look forward to the summer term where she can display her athletic abilities in school!

Charlotte Hodgkinson- Ice Skating

Charlotte is an ice skater who skates solo and with a partner. This has been a long term commitment, taking in huge amounts of time for travelling and training. She has been rewarded with a win in the Junior category at the British Championships qualifiers, and will go on to perform in the championships later in the year.

Young Sporting Superstar

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