HEARTWARMING stories of sacrifice and support have been flooding into the Bournemouth Echo following the launch of the Dorset Hero Awards.

A Charminster man who has made it his goal to ensure no child goes hungry, a Bournemouth and Dorchester group helping those with mental health issues and a recently retired Wimborne man who has clocked up over 5,000 hours as an NHS volunteer responder are among a host of nominations for that have been made.

The Awards, with its principal sponsor Talbot Village Trust, are aimed at those people and organisations in the county who deserve our thanks and recognition for all that they have done during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Anyone can submit a nomination and they will be in with a chance to win a £100 shopping voucher prize (terms and conditions apply). Click here for full details.

They are run in conjunction with our sister Newsquest titles in the region and are divided into three categories: Medical Heroes, Emergency Heroes and Everyday Heroes.

Bill Browne, on behalf of the organisers, said: “We are delighted with the variety of nominations we have been receiving.

“Just as we hoped, there have been some really great stories about those who have gone the extra mile; people who have worked selflessly for the benefit of others.”

One example was Craig Wells, who through his initiative Together We Can has been providing a lunch and dinner service for people in need in the Charminster area.

“Craig and his wife are both key workers. They have funded the food themselves with minimal external support. They have helped and continue to help not only young families and single parents but elderly and disabled residents too. No questions asked and with the ultimate discretion Craig has shown us all how to be better members if the community,” said one of his nominators Caroline Bell.

The team at The Retreat, which has bases in Dorchester and Bournemouth, was also singled out for praise. Angela Hanratty, who nominated, said the team work well with the other services and have adapted their delivery to suit the conditions of the Covid Crisis. She said: “The retreat has been supporting people in a self-defined mental health crisis throughout the covid outbreak they have had to change how they work by mostly going digital accessing support via video calling or seeing patients face to face when bought to the retreat via emergency services.

Then there is Andy Byers who was nominated by his daughter Nicki Billington who rolled up his sleeves to help the NHS following his retirement. She said: “He certainly made it count during this pandemic by clocking up over 5,000 hours as an NHS responder, volunteering at Poole Hospital and The BIC max vaccine centre, as well as regularly donating blood.”