BACK and better than ever, the 2016 Pride of Bracknell Forest Awards saw the great and good of the borough gather for a glittering evening to celebrate the unsung heroes who work day in, day out, to make the area just that bit better for us all. 

Each year the ten categories never fail to impress with the quality of nominees who work so hard and ask for nothing in return but the evening of Friday, April 29, was the borough's chance to step back and appreciate their work.

Hosted by Bracknell and Wokingham College and attended by the likes of Bracknell MP Dr Phillip Lee, the awards were yet another huge success with around 150 people gathering to celebrate the great and good in the borough of Bracknell. 

Dr Lee said: "The awards allows us to observe some of the finer instincts of members of our communities. Selfless activities that make it a wonderful place to bring up children, work and enjoy life. The Pride of Bracknell Forest Awards are all about cherishing community life and the heroes and heroines that make it."

Our winners and runners up are as follows:

Pride of Bracknell adult award:

Winner: Valerie Codd

Runner up: Carol Ellis 

A LONG-serving volunteer and carer was the worthy winner of the eleventh Pride of Bracknell Forest Adult Award this year for her tireless support for charities over more than 40 years.

Valerie Codd was given the honour of the 2016 award winner for her work supporting the Red Diamond Club for the disabled alongside caring for a number of foster children.

Bracknell News:

The winner Valerie Codd. 

A second devoted volunteer, Carol Ellis, was this year's runner up for the award for her commitment to the 1st Warfield Rainbow unit which she has helped run for more than 23 years. 

Bracknell News:

Runner up Carol Ellis. 

Pride of Bracknell Children's Award:

Winner: Jack Harley-Walsh

Runner up: Sophia Trowbridge

A COMMITTED teen who spent his Christmas holiday at a camp caring for refugees won this year’s Pride of Bracknell Forest Young Person’s Award.
Jack Harley-Walsh spent ten days in December looking after those fleeing Syria.
He was one of a team of four helping distribute blankets and food as well as reuniting kidnapped children with their families.

Bracknell News:

Winner Jack Harley-Walsh.

The runner up was 12-year-old dancer Sophia Trowbridge, who has performed with the English Youth Ballet Company.
She said: “I’m very proud to be nominated, it’s a great experience.
“I’m going to keep dancing and try to get nominated again next year.”

Bracknell News:

Runner up Sophia Trowbridge.

Volunteer of the Year:

Winner: Bernice Sinclair

Runner up: Doreen Rose

A DEVOTED supporter of those living with dementia was named this year's Volunteer of the Year for her constant work.
Bernice Sinclair helps organise a weekly day-out for people with dementia living in Bracknell and helps run a weekly singing club for those with Alzheimer's to enjoy, balancing these groups with her personal visits to people with the condition and their carers to offer help and guidance. 

Bracknell News:

Winner Bernice Sinclair. 

Second in the category was Doreen Rose, a volunteer at Bracknell’s Foodbank for the past six years.
Nominated by Geoff and Pat Hallet, the organisers behind the foodbank, Doreen has four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren but hasn’t stopped in her commitment to good causes around the borough after setting up one of the first dog rescues in the 1960s. 
In their nomination, the Hallets said: “She is one of the most gifted and dynamic members of the team, loves to serve and is an example to all despite her youthful 86 years of age.”

Bracknell News:

Runner up Doreen Rose. 

Teacher of the Year:

Winner: Helen Ede

Runner up: Julie Rumble 

A YEAR 4 teacher who at New Scotland Hill Primary School “who goes above and beyond the call of duty” won the honour of teacher of the year for “enthusing, engaging and inspiring” her pupils.

Helen Ede, who joined the school at Easter last year, was celebrated for “going the extra mile” for her class, with innovative ideas such as “curiosity kits” and a class blog for parents to keep up-to-date with the children's school activities.

Bracknell News:

Winner Helen Ede. 

HEAD of Sixth Form at Garth Hill College, Julie Rumble, was runner up for her commitment and dedication to her students.

Julie was described as having "nurtured extremely positive working relationships with pupils, staff and parents" whose "pastoral care and leadership" had been a key factor in helping more and more people to stay on at the school after their GCSEs. 

Bracknell News:
Runner up Julie Rumble. 

School of the Year:

Winner: Kennel Lane Primary

Runners up: Sandy Lane Primary

AN outstanding school caring for children with special needs was named this year's School of the Year.
Kennel Lane School, which provides an all-through education for children with special needs aged four to 19, was judged to be the most deserving winner of this year's title after turning their fortunes around to receive a good Ofsted rating with outstanding aspects at the end of 2015. 

Bracknell News:

Kennel Lane School headteacher Andrea de Bunsen picks up the award for School of the Year

Runner up in the school category was Sandy Lane Primary, which after a tumultuous few years has now turned a corner under recently-appointed headteacher, Gemma Jackson. 
Nominated for the "positive vibe" throughout the school, Sandy Lane was described as supportive and fun environment with high hopes for the future, particularly after their recent Ofsted visit in which it was noted Ms Jackson had "not wasted a second" of her time at the school since entering the role in September 2015. 

Bracknell News:

Gemma Jackson and Brian Poxon from Sandy Lane School with their award as runner up in the School of the Year category.

Business of the Year:

Winner: Waterstones

Runners up: Anne Marie Bakery

WITH Bracknell’s regeneration continuing apace the Business of the Year category was hotly contested with two fantastic companies coming to the award dinner.

Waterstones and Anne Marie Bakery were in the running for the Business of the Year award, sponsored by Shorts Group.

Bracknell News:

The staff of Waterstones Bracknell collected their award for Business of the Year.

Bracknell News:

Anne Marie Bakery were runners up in the Business of the Year category.

Lorraine Hook, who was on hand to collect the award on behalf of the bakery, said it was an honour to be nominated.

“It’s great. We were nominated by our customers and what could be better than that?” she said.

The bookshop employees were making plans to visit the bakery for celebratory doughnuts.

Charity of the Year:

Winner: Red Diamonds

Runner up: Involve 

THE Charity of the Year saw worthy causes from across the borough put forward for recognition.

The shortlisted charities were Involve, who co-ordinate volunteering across the borough, and Red Diamond Sports Club.

The sports club, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary helps people with a wide range of physical and learning disabilities participate in sport and was named the winner of this year's award, sponsored by Waitrose.

Bracknell News:

Isabel Mattick and Brian Willatts collected the award for Red Diamonds Sports Club as Charity of the Year.

The charity helps provide people with the opportunity to participate in swimming, table tennis and snooker at the Bracknell Leisure Centre for a small annual fee every Sunday for an hour from 6pm.

They also provide occasional trips to other venues.

Involve, who helped organise the awards, were nominated for their sterling work supporting voluntary groups across the borough and helping public sector groups continue to do work that is so important for the people of Bracknell Forest.

Bracknell News:

Phillip Cook, CEO of Involve, with his award as runner up in the Charity of the Year category.

Adult sport award:

Winner: James Langley

Runner up: Sam Curran 

A YOUNG gymnast who has overcome an ankle injury and the death of his best friend was crowned the town's adult sporting hero.

James Langley, a coach at Bracknell Gymnastics Club, won the prize of Adult Health and Sport Award, for his commitment and time devoted to coaching others.

Bracknell News:

James Langley of Bracknell Gymnastics won the Health and Sport Adults Award.

Head coach at the Bracknell Bees Ice Hockey Club Lukáš Smítal was runner up for the title.

Lukáš has continued to lead the club despite a tough couple of seasons because of financial issues and a number of the team leaving.

As well as being head coach and player, he also coaches the children of Bracknell with various camps and sessions.
Bracknell News:

Lukas Smital, head coach of the Bracknell Bees, was this year’s runner up for the Health and Sport Adult Award.

Young person sport award:

Winner: Sam Curran

Runners up: Emily Phillips and Jayin Panesar 

PREVIOUS winners of the Health and Sport Young Person’s Award have achieved remarkable accolades and this year was no exception.

In front of a crowd that included 2008 Paralympic gold medalist Helen Raynsford, shortlisted nominees Emily Philips, Jayin Panesar and Sam Curran were noted for their exceptional achievements in sport.

Cricket prodigy Sam has enjoyed a remarkable year going from the Wellington College 1st XI to playing for England in the under-19 Cricket World Cup and won the award for his incredible performances.

Runners up and ice-skating duo Emily and Jayin have been partners on ice for three years and made the shortlist thanks to their incredible hard work and dedication to their sport.

The Young Person’s Award was sponsored by John Nike Leisuresport.

Bracknell News: Ice-skating duo Emily Phillips and Jayin Panesar were runners up in the Health and Sport Young Person’s Award.

Lifetime achievement award:

Mary Temperton 

HER love of Bracknell Forest is well known, as is her devotion to community work, teaching and public office, so there was little doubt about who was most deserving of special recognition at this year's award ceremony. 

Mary Temperton, best known as a town and borough councillor for Great Hollands, received a standing ovation from the audience at the 2016 Pride of Bracknell Forest awards after decades working to improve the community she lives in. 

First a "damn good" Chemistry teacher at Easthampstead Park Community School, Mary has gone on to become the sole Labour representative on the Tory-dominated borough council, and makes sure everyone there knows it. 

Nominated for a lifetime of work, Mary said she was "very humbled" to receive the incredibly special award on Friday evening. 

She said: "I'm very humbled. It's absolutely wonderful. You can only make it if the people are behind you and Great Hollands has a fantastic community. You can only pay back what it gives, and it gives back a lot. 

"It's lovely, as you walk down the street everybody smiles at you, everybody says hello."

Speaking of her pride to be a Labour councillor, she said there was always more to do.

Alongside her political life, Mary is also a governor at Easthampstead Park School, a board member of the children's centre, chair of governors at Great Hollands Primary School, chairman of the Community Association and 'Organiser in Chief' of Great Hollands litter picking as well as running a youth club. 

Does she have any plans of stopping, we asked? To which Mary gave a very determined "no". 

Bracknell News:

Mary Temperton with her special award. 

Special award:

Dan Bell 

FORMER Bracknell and Wokingham College student Dan Bell was recognised for his extraordinary volunteering achievements.

Dan, who completed his uniformed public service course with the highest grade a few years ago and is now looking to become a police officer, spent two years coming in two days a week to help students and staff with their lessons.

Last year he organised a public services show at Bracknell Rugby Club, an emergency services evening with the Royal Berkshire Fire & Rescue Service and the NHS for local scout groups.

He has also become an NHS First Responder and is a cadet leader with the Thames Valley Police Volunteer Cadets.

Teacher at the college, Nigel Pumffrey, who nominated Dan, said: "Dan works tirelessly to help others and is always looking for ways to help, which have also included going along to help the Berkshire Lowland Search and Rescue and Sue Ryder with a fireworks display stewarding to raise money for the charity."

Dan said: "I'm very excited and very pleased, I wasn't expecting to be nominated at all let alone win, just to come here and be nominated is enough, I am over the moon.

"I volunteered because I wanted to enrich the courses so I thought I would see if they needed me and it has gone really well, the students seem to really enjoy it." 

Bracknell News: Volunteer Dan Bell with his special Pride of Bracknell Forest award, alongside Ady Williams and Campbell Christie CBE.