In the run-up to our glittering Examiner Community Awards presentation night at the John Smith’s Stadium on Thursday, May 24, we profile everyone shortlisted in each category. Today we turn the spotlight on Services to Charity and tomorrow we reveal the three nominees in the Arts Award.
One 17 Architects and Interior Designers are delighted to sponsor this year’s Huddersfield Examiner Services to Charity Community Award.
Since the launch of the One 17 Charitable Trust in 2010 we have certainly had our eyes opened to things that are happening in our local community. We have met some amazing people who help to make Huddersfield a better place to live and it has been a pleasure and a privilege to support their work. Whether it’s organising uplifting community events, supporting others in need or encouraging young people, every contribution improves the lives of people in our town.
Over the years we have seen a number of the groups that we support win Huddersfield Examiner Community Awards and have witnessed first hand just what a massive boost this gives to those involved. It therefore gives us great pleasure to sponsor this award and ensure that the celebration of all that is great in Kirklees continues.
They have spent the last 40 years improving the lives of people who suffer from epilepsy.
When Dalton couple Joan and Tony Gorton’s eldest child, Sarah, developed epilepsy the couple found they had little to no support.
So since the mid 1970s Joan, now 83, and 87-year-old Tony have managed the Huddersfield Branch of Epilepsy Action and raised thousands of pounds to support Epilepsy Action’s work.
They have campaigned tirelessly for better healthcare services for people with epilepsy in their community. They were instrumental in securing the appointments of the first consultant neurologist and epilepsy specialist nurse in Huddersfield; doing everything from lobbying the local health authorities to fundraising for the position.
Under the guidance of Joan and Tony, the Huddersfield branch of Epilepsy Action has sponsored 40 nurses and allied staff in Kirklees to go on distance learning courses at Leeds Beckett and Edinburgh Napier Universities to enhance their knowledge of epilepsy.
They have supported or sponsored all three of the most recent epilepsy specialist nurses in the Calderdale area.
Pauline Spencer, the current chairwoman of the Huddersfield Branch of Epilepsy Action, said: “When I needed it most, Joan and Tony were always there.”
Joan said: “We were put in touch with the then British Epilepsy Association in 1975 and felt inspired to get involved to give others the support we needed ourselves.
“My handwriting first appears in the minute book of the Huddersfield Branch of Epilepsy Action in December 1976 and here I am now, still secretary. It is amazing to look back and see all that we have achieved.
“It hasn’t always been straightforward and we have overcome many obstacles along the way but we are proud of the difference we have made. We would like to extend our thanks to everyone we have worked with to make our work possible – it has truly been a team effort.”
Last year the couple received charity Epilepsy Action’s Hilary Figg Award for long and distinguished service to people with epilepsy.
They celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary in April. Their daughter, Sarah, is now 58 and they have two other children, daughter Zia, 57, and son Alastair, 54.
Schoolchildren and youth groups across Kirklees travelled 24,900 miles around the world ... and raised a staggering £92,000 for charity.
The colossal feat reaped the amazing amount for Huddersfield’s Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice during Children’s Hospice Week and was organised by Pennine Sports Partnership (PSP).
The partnership primarily works with schools both within and beyond the curriculum to improve sport but were inspired by the support the hospice provides for children with life-shortening conditions.
They wanted youngsters to take part in sponsored events with the aim of their total tally of miles to equal the earth’s circumference and in the end around 24,000 children from 85 schools and youth organisations ranging from sports clubs to brownies took part. They were inspired by the talks to more than 100 assemblies partnership staff had done in the run-up to the event last May.
Some children ran, some walked, some did it on bikes while others did it three-legged and lots donned fancy dress to go around the world in a week of fundraising events.
Forget Me Not senior community fundraiser Lynsey Marshall said: “I have seen some wacky, weird and wonderful fundraisers throughout my time at Forget Me Not but I have never witnessed anything quite as powerful as this. What could be more magical than local children coming together to support local children?
“The fundraising from Around The World 2017 was almost £92,000, a figure beyond our wildest dreams. Awareness of our cause increased significantly and I’d love to think that new referrals have come to us as a result of all the activity.
“The whole team at PSP have been and continue to be so engaged with our cause. It really has been incredible to witness their enthusiasm and energy when liaising with their school partners and promoting the challenge to them.
“Since establishing our wonderful relationship with them we have seen a significant increase in the number of our school supporters across our community, many of whom we simply wouldn’t have been able to reach without their support.
“Around The World has been Forget Me Not Childen’s Hospice’s most successful campaign to date.”
When Huddersfield businessman Robert Williamson saw Kenyan villagers walking four miles a day to fetch filthy drinking water he knew he had to act.
At the time the villagers were walking up to three miles every day to fetch water in heavy buckets and containers from a contaminated water hole – and he met one elderly woman who was bent double under a giant cannister she had carried for 60 years to get the water.
Even though the water was dirty they had to ration the meagre supply to drinking, washing, cooking, watering a few crops and providing for their animals.
Although 73-year-old Robert discovered it wasn’t possible to provide a well and it would be a far bigger job, undeterred he arranged for a company called Wilmag Kenya Ltd to sink a bore hole through the rock and water was eventually found 220 metres underground.
The bore then had to be lined and a large pump permanently installed to bring the clean fresh water up to the surface.
A tall frame had to be constructed 40ft above ground level to support a large water tank and solar panels installed to provide the power as there was no electricity in the village.
At the base of the water tower a shelter was built to form a place where taps were fitted and people could stand in the shade to collect their water.
Now, 18 months later, the village is thriving, growing a lot of crops from the seedlings in the fertile top soil Robert had delivered to them.
It means the villagers can feed themselves and sell any surplus products.
It cost £40,000 – and Robert who has owned Leeds-based commercial property estate agents Ernest Wilson for more than 40 years – paid the bill himself.
He said: “It was an unbelievable moment to see their faces when the first water came out of the bore hole.”
He found out about the village after meeting a girl from there who was working at a hotel in Dubai where Robert stayed several times with his wife, Eve, who has MS.
He had also helped her niece when she pulled a cauldron of boiling water over herself and Robert flew out to Kenya and took her to Nairobi for specialist treatment.
Robert was nominated by Sharon Howden from Marsh, who said: “Mr Williamson is of an age when most people have retired and yet he went to Kenya and organised the installation, watched as it progressed and then went back to see the project completed.
“He was surprised when he arrived back there as the company had put up a plaque with his name on it. I am so proud of what Mr Williamson has done for these poor people and how they struggle to exist in such harsh conditions.”
Robert and Eve lived in Kirkheaton and have sadly lost their daughter, Melissa, at the age of 52 earlier this month. They have two other children Tamara, 53, and Paul 49.