In our countdown to the Examiner Community Awards at the John Smith’s Stadium we turn the spotlight on the three nominees shortlisted for the Courage Award. The winner will be revealed at the glittering awards night on Thursday, May 24 at the John Smith’s Stadium. Tomorrow we will reveal those in the running for Emergency Services Personality.

Stafflex are extremely proud to sponsor this year’s Courage Award at the prestigious Huddersfield Examiner Community Awards.

As a recruitment agency we’re all about connecting people and anyone who knows Stafflex will understand that we like to take a very active role in the community as we believe that a successful business leaves behind a legacy of supporting their local area.

Stafflex

We also have a long standing history of supporting some fantastic local organisations and programmes such as the Stafflex Arena (Storthes Hall Park and Leslie Foundation), Huddersfield Live, Huddersfield Food and Drink Festival, Huddersfield Literature Festival, Kirklees College, King James’ School, Moor End Academy, Ravensknowle Children’s Gala, Kirkheaton Gala, Emley Show, Welcome Centre, KACCL, fairandfunky plus a host of other initiatives.

We’re thrilled to be involved with The Examiner Community Awards which showcases everything that is great about Huddersfield, recognising the amazing achievements by those who go the extra mile to make a difference to their community.

We would like to wish the best of luck to all those shortlisted for the Stafflex Courage Award.

A massive stroke left Holmbridge man Richard Ford completely paralysed.

But the courage he has shown ever since that terrible moment he collapsed in June 2012 to now is inspirational to everyone who meets him.

For not only has he battled back to become a family man again, he has done sponsored events to raise money for charity and has even set up his own community project.

Richard, 47, was a detective working in Huddersfield, a dad of three boys and a junior football coach for Hepworth United when he suffered the brain stem stroke that was so severe doctors did not think he would survive. He did but was locked like a prisoner inside his own body, unable to move anything other than his eyes and could only communicate by blinking.

He was in hospital for nine months and the recovery since has been slow and steady and he now uses an electric wheelchair full-time.

In June 2016 he was given a Labrador assistance dog called Maggie from the charity Dogs For Good and Richard immediately wanted to give something back to the charity and so the family has collected at supermarkets, shopping centres and garden centres and Richard did a sponsored walk which brought in £750.

Last March Richard learned of a project run by Disability Sport Yorkshire called Opening Doors Kirklees to set up community groups and Richard volunteered to set up a group called Square Pegs at St David’s Church in Holmbridge which is for people who are lonely, suffer from anxiety, depression or a mental illness or have a physical or learning disability. The group now meets weekly and does everything from quizzes and bingo to trips out.

Richard was nominated by Janet Hoyle, who said: “Members can talk freely about their daily challenges due to their illnesses which breaks down a lot of taboos surrounding what are perceived to be very harrowing conditions.”

She added: “Richard is a remarkable individual who faces incredible daily challenges but is still able to find the drive and energy to give back to others within his local community.”

Stroke victim Richard Ford of Broadfield Park, Holmbridge gets a DIY SOS make over. Richard in his downstairs en suite.

Opening Doors project officer Fiona Hall added: “Richard wants to encourage people to get out and has put himself forward and in the spotlight to demonstrate that, with support, it is possible to overcome fears, difficulties and find worthwhile activities.”

Richard is married to Jude and they have three sons, Harry, 13, Oscar, 10 and eight-year-old Archie.

When bank robbers attacked a lone security guard pensioner Robert Wells didn’t hesitate to help.

For, fearing the guard would be badly hurt, Robert grappled with one of the two robbers and stopped him from hurting the victim any more.

As they fled they bundled Robert down the bank steps and although he was left lying on the pavement he still managed to note down the registration number on their getaway car.

The drama began when the security guard was delivering cash to Lloyds Bank on Albion Street in Cleckheaton.

Robert, now 71, was nominated by Anne Rollinson from West Yorkshire Police, who said: “The guard was subject to a frenzied and violent attack where he was punched, kicked and stamped on several times. The robbery happened on a busy street with numerous witnesses both inside and outside the bank.

“Among all those bystanders only one, Robert, intervened.”

He was walking up the street with his 11-year-old grandson Aiden Quarmby, when he spotted what was going on and could see the guard being attacked through the window.

Robert told Aiden to stay somewhere safe and rushed into the bank.

He said: “It was like watching something out of a film. We heard a screech of tyres and then saw two men wearing balaclavas run from a car straight into the bank. Through the window I could see one of the men smashing the guard’s visor in with his fists. I never stopped to think. If I had carried on walking and then heard later that the guard had been badly injured I would have felt guilty.”

As he ran into the bank Robert bumped straight into the other robber and then the two of them tussled until Robert found himself on the floor with the man cursing and swearing as he and his accomplice fled.

Anne said: “He instinctively ran into the bank to assist the security guard. In his subsequent statement he noted ‘there were two suspects and only one guard and it wasn’t fair. I did not want to see the security guard get hurt.’ Both suspects were well-built but this did not deter Robert. He ran at one of them and grabbed him so he could not assault the security guard any further.”

The two robbers managed to flee with £25,000 cash. They have not been caught so far.

Anne said: “It is fair to say there were a number of people in the vicinity who were far younger than Robert but did not assist. I think Robert displayed a high level of bravery and showed great tenacity in intervening in such a violent attack. Robert’s actions went far beyond what I would expect from a member of the public.”

Robert, who worked at the former Birkby’s Plastics in Liversedge for 25 years, is married to Pamela and the couple have four children, five grandchildren and a great grandson.

She had the courage to tell her story to the world in the hope others would not have to go through the agony she endured.

Anorexia sufferer Emelle Lewis was so distraught with her body image she faced the grim possibility of death as her body was reduced to little more than a skeleton.

But the 22-year-old from Mirfield eventually decided she didn’t want her life story to end that way and made a miraculous transformation to the point she has even taken up weight training.

The incredible transformation of Huddersfield student Emelle Lewis, who overcame anorexia and now lifts weights in the gym and eats six meals a day
The incredible transformation of Huddersfield student Emelle Lewis, who overcame anorexia and now lifts weights in the gym and eats six meals a day

The former University of Huddersfield student plummeted to just five stone in the grip of the deadly disease after six years of being tormented by her body image.

She said she felt “fat and ugly” and spiralled into an unhealthy obsession with food, eating only Weetabix, rice cakes and salad, telling friends she was vegan to avoid certain foods. She dressed herself in children’s clothes and ended up in hospital seven times with her family fearing the worst.

Anorexic student who faced death shares her incredible recovery story to inspire others

But after realising she didn’t want to die, Emelle began to follow accounts on Instagram for other women who have overcome eating disorders.

She began lifting weights in the gym and now eats healthy meals a day, sharing her journey with hundreds of online followers.

Emelle Lewis who battled anorexia.

Emelle said: “I remember lying in bed one day feeling like I was really dying and realising I had achieved nothing in my life and this is not the way my story was meant to end. I always found it hard to fit in and when all my friends were getting boyfriends but I didn’t I began to think it was because I was fat and ugly.

“When I was ill I didn’t believe there was anything really wrong with me. I genuinely believed I could maintain that weight and still live a fairly normal life. I didn’t want to get rid of my eating disorder.

Emelle Lewis now lifts weights in the gym and is at a much healthier weight. She says training has given her a new found love for her body.

“I refused to comply with treatment and was convinced that everyone was against me, lying to me and trying to ruin my life.”

Emelle has been in recovery since May 2016. She now trains in the gym in the evenings, eats a balanced diet with lots of protein and is a personal trainer at Total Fitness in Wakefield.

She said: “Now, I still have bad days towards my body image but most days I am proud of what I have achieved and proud of my body. I love watching myself gradually improving at the gym and getting stronger, knowing that I have done this all on my own.

“Overcoming this illness has now made me such a strong person mentally I see the world through different eyes. I am thankful for everyday I’m alive and I try to be as positive as I can in any situation. I feel like I can achieve anything now. Since I’ve told my story I’ve had messages from several girls saying reading my story has led them to feel more positive about themselves.”