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Unsung heroes honoured at Dorset Hall of Fame awards
INSPIRATIONAL people were rewarded for their endeavours at an emotional awards ceremony last night.
A foster carer, charity founder, mental health activist, soup kitchen founder, and two engineers were entered into the Dorset Hall of Fame in an evening of pride as the winners were all cheered on stage at the Pavilion Ballroom.
The awards ceremony is in its second year and is designed to honour unsung heroes across Dorset.
Launched by Heart 102.3 and sponsored by Teachers Building Society in association with the Daily Echo, the evening revealed inspirational stories from people in the communities across the county.
One of the awards went to Chantel Cooper, founder of the Amelia Grace Rainbow Fund. The foundation was created in the legacy of her daughter Amelia Grace who died after battling cancer.
The fund provides experiences for children who are terminally ill such as trips to London Zoo and Legoland. Chantel received the award and a heartfelt speech from their patron Kara Tointon of Eastenders and winner of Strictly Come Dancing.
Toby Granville, group editor of the Daily Echo and Dorset Echo, said: “It was a truly inspiring and humbling evening, meeting some real heroes from our local community and we were privileged to be part of it.”
More than 180 people witnessed the induction after the winners were selected from hundreds of nominations The first person inducted was Claire Matthews, the organiser of a soup kitchen at St. Andrews Church in Richmond Hill.
She said: “ I never expected anything like this when I started this idea ” She thanked her family for all their support.
Up next were John and Mike Garnish, two brothers who are part of the Bournemouth and District REMAP panel. REMAP is a unique charity which designs, manufactures and supplies technical aids to disabled people where there is no suitable commercial item.
The two brothers said they were very humbled and will share the award with their entire REMAP team.
The third person inducted was Sandra Watt, foster carer to more than 80 children.
She has inspired many others to become foster carers and helped many families adopt in the Dorset area.
Mental health activist Paul Scates was another winner.
Paul works with the NHS, Dorset Mental Health Forums and Bournemouth University to bring better mental health care services to the community.
He said: "We can all have mental health issues and we should talk about our emotions.
“It’s when we don’t talk about our emotions that it can become a crisis Simon Monk, Heart 102.3 programme controller, said: “After months of planning, we’re so pleased to see the vision come to fruition in a fantastic evening. We wanted it to be all about five fantastic stories about six fantastic people and that’s exactly what we got.”
And James Bawa, chief executive at Teachers Building Society, added: “The amazing winners honoured at this year’s Dorset Hall of Fame are shining examples of people who have made a real difference to the lives of local people.
“Their stories are truly inspiring and everyone at Teachers Building Society is proud to sponsor the Dorset Hall of Fame, which rightly recognises these previously unsung heroes in our great county.”
The evening ended with the six winners standing shoulder to shoulder on stage, receiving a richly deserved standing ovation from the crowd.
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