THERE is just one day left for readers to nominate their unsung heroes for this year’s Pride of Bracknell Awards.
There has been a tremendous response to the campaign with some wonderful examples of people helping the community in sport, retail, voluntary and education.
The awards – which are now in their ninth year – are organised by the News, Bracknell Regeneration Partnership and other generous sponsors.
There are seven categories open for nominations, including the Child of Courage, presented to a youngster who overcomes adversity or demonstrates outstanding bravery.
Last year’s winner was four-year-old Jamie Turvey, from Binfield, who had lifesaving surgery when he was only a few days old after being born with a cardiac problem, which will never be fully treated. He also had to have brain surgery at nine months and suffers from a rare bone disorder, meaning he cannot raise his arms above his shoulders or turn his neck.
He was given a huge round of applause when he collected his prize last year – along with a toy helicopter.
Other categories include Education Champion, for a hard-working member of society who has made a difference to people they teach.
There are two awards for Sporting Champion – one for adults and one for youngsters.
There are prizes for the Group, Adult and Young Volunteers. Business stalwarts will be celebrated with one being named Retail Hero, while the Good Citizen award is presented to somebody who has made a real difference to other people.
Last year’s My Hero award – given to someone’s personal hero – went to Carol Clayton, who has fostered 81 children in the past 25 years.
Nominations close at midnight tomorrow (Friday), and judges will then create a shortlist of finalists. Potential winners will be invited, with a guest, to a gala dinner at Bracknell and Wokingham College, on Friday, April 25.
Nominate someone you think deserves an award, by filling in the online form at www.bracknellnews.co.uk/pride A former gym owner who helped improve children’s confidence is in the running for a Pride of Bracknell Award.
Laura John-Baptiste set up Shokk Youth Gym, in Market Street, Bracknell, with her husband Ryan, in 2012, and has coached hundreds of kids.
The couple sold the business ahead of the birth of their son Preston, now 10 weeks old, but Mrs John-Baptiste said she was delighted to be nominated for an award.
She said: “I had a great time there [at the gym]. It’s quite surprising to be nominated but I keep in touch with some of the mums and kids.
“I wanted to change things for the kids and the support we had from the mums and kids in Bracknell was amazing.
“We made it a really friendly place where the kids gained in confidence and I would take a lot of time to speak with the kids and ask how they were. I’d like to say thank you to the people who nominated me.” Mrs John-Baptiste was nominated by Abigail Harris, of Longwater Road, Easthampstead, who said: “When I think of someone who changed my life in terms of how I view exercise and a healthy lifestyle I think of Laura.
“Every day when she worked at SHOKK she inspired lots of us. She was totally dedicated. She’s always been able to make me happy and cared for us all like a massive family – she’d be the first one to help us with problems outside the gym, to write us references, give us work experience.
“She gave me a lot of opportunities and did all this work without expecting anything, rarely getting thanked for all she’s done. She genuinely deserves to be recognised because she always turned up with a smile on her face.” Another person who nominated Mrs John-Baptiste was Kay Pearce, of Aldenham Terrace, Easthampstead. She said: “My kids have come so far since they met Laura. She has understood the lack of confidence of both my kids and brought both out of their shells.” Nominate someone you think deserves an award, by filling in the online form at www.bracknellnews.co.uk/pride