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Mayor’s Citizenship Awards celebrate local heroes

23 March 2017

Outstanding volunteers, charity champions, an international mental health campaigner and quick-thinking staff who helped to save the life of a Pyle schoolboy were among the winners at this year’s Mayor’s Citizenship Awards, organised by Bridgend County Borough Council.

The annual awards are held to say ‘thank you’ to the local heroes who achieved something special during the last 12 months, or have regularly gone the extra mile over several years.

Mair Ap Gruffydd – the Mair behind Mair’s Walk – was one of the winners picking up an award from the Mayor of Bridgend County Borough, Councillor Reg Jenkins.

Mair set up the charity walk in 2007 following cancer treatment, and during the following decade the annual event grew to have a huge following. Thousands of people including celebrities such as Charlotte Church and Max Boyce took part and the events helped to raise an incredible £250,000 towards lung cancer research. The final Mair’s Walk was held in 2016.

Another award recipient was Mark Williams from the Ogmore Valley who set up the charity ‘Fathers Reaching Out’ in 2011 to offer support for Dads who were experiencing mental health issues.

After his wife suffered a traumatic birth, and consequently had post-natal depression, Mark also plunged into depression. He suffered in silence for six years, turning to drink, until he had a breakdown.

Mark has since raised awareness of the issue around the globe, self-funding his trips to talk about mental health in places as far afield as Australia and New Zealand.

After receiving his Mayor’s Citizenship Award, Mark said: “It was great to be part of such an event and hear about so many inspirational people. This award has made me want to do even more work to help raise awareness of mental health issues.” 

Five staff from Pil Primary School – Paula Rowlands, Cheryl Jones, Karen Flower-Robbins, Sarah Wallace and Head teacher Neil Pryce – were presented with their Mayor’s Citizenship Award after their swift actions helped to save the life of ten-year-old pupil Cameron Tune who had suffered a cardiac arrest in the foyer of the school.

In those vital early minutes, staff quickly administered first aid which included CPR before Welsh Ambulance Service paramedics arrived on scene. After a spell in hospital, Cameron is now thankfully back at school.

Pil Primary Head teacher Neil Pryce said: “I can’t praise the staff enough for their response in dealing with very a serious and life threatening situation. I am immensely proud of their actions on the day.” 

Mayor of Bridgend County Borough, Councillor Reg Jenkins, who presented the awards, said: “Each year, the residents of Bridgend County Borough are asked to nominate those unsung heroes who go the extra mile and make a real difference in their communities. The awards give us a chance to say thanks and give them the appreciation that they deserve. It was humbling to hear about their achievements. Congratulations to each and every winner.”

In addition to Mair, Mark, and the staff from Pil Primary School, the other Mayor’s Citizenship Award winners were…

Individual winners

Lyndon Borge: As the caretaker for Bryntirion Infants School, no job is too big or small for Lyndon and he regularly goes beyond the call of duty. He recently built a sensory wall for pupils with autism, runs a fruit and veg co-operative at the school, and coaches football both within school and in the local community.

Alun Clemett: Alun has been involved in numerous community organisations in Coity over many years, including founding Coity Football Club and leading the annual fundraising event, Choirs in the castle which has raised over £15,000 for local charities.

Elaine Guscott: When a flood affected 50 Garth homes in November 2016, Elaine decided to do something practical to help the community. Within days she set up a flood relief centre in Garth church, which remained in operation for weeks.

Joanne Keen: An art teacher at Coleg Cymunedol Y Dderwen, Joanne has devoted a large portion of her life during the last three years to raise thousands of pounds for a former pupil, Geraint Richards. Who was brain damaged after suffering a severe asthma attack in 2014.

Stephen Lambert: As a founder member of the Bridgend Mini Basketball Association, and chairman for the last 20 years, Steve has given up his time to give local children the chance to play basketball and compete in tournaments across the country.

Sean Molino: Provides free health and fitness sessions in schools and youth clubs across Wales to try and slow the ever growing obesity levels and give children some easy to follow health tips.

Dean Morgan: As the coach and general manager of Nantymoel Amateur Boxing Club, Dean has helped boxing to flourish in the Ogmore Valley. The club has produced Welsh champions and provided a space for people to train and develop skills such as discipline and working as part of a team.

Andrew Reekie: Andrew organised the annual poppy appeal for the Bridgend branch of the Royal British Legion, creating a well-oiled machine that he built up over many years. In 2015, the branch raised a massive £57,000, an achievement made possible thanks to Andrew’s hard work and dedication.

Susan Roberts: An exceptional individual who makes a big contribution to the communities of Cornelly, Maudlam, Pyle and Kenfig Hill through her volunteering and charity fundraising which includes raising approximately £1,000 a year for Motor Neuron Disease charities.

James Thomas: Maesteg’s very own Mr Motivator, James set up a running club 15 years ago which is still going strong, making an invaluable impact on the health and well-being of local people.

Sarah Tilley: Passionate about the Ogmore Valley, Sarah has worked hard to reignite community spirit. She revived the annual carnival which hadn’t taken place for around 30 years, organised a duck race which sold out within a couple of weeks, and also set up a ladies’ choir.

Tina Waters: Tina opened the Nantymoel Animal Welfare Society charity shop 25 years ago and has dedicated her life to helping stray cats and dogs and re-homing them. Even today she has cats in her home that she cares for, and she has helped the charity raise tens of thousands of pounds over the years.

Group winners

Community Furniture Aid: This group of around 15 volunteers make sure that the most vulnerable members of the community have furniture. Based in Pontycymer, the group source donated furniture and supply them to everyone from single people to families with children.

Cornelly and District Luncheon Club: Volunteers, led by Denise Roberts, provide a two-course meal twice a week at the Cornelly Community Centre for older members of the community.

Paul Downes and Christian Evans: Two of the county borough’s most prolific charity champions, Paul and Christian have raised tens of thousands of pounds for numerous charities over the years, including Latch.

Peter and Christine Faulkner: Known as ‘Akela’ and ‘Boskun’ to generations of young people, Peter and Christine have decided to retire as leaders of the Bridgend (Cefn Glas) Cubs and Scouts after well over 30 years of dedicated service.

Philip Loveday and Tom Weaver: Since 2013, veterans Tom and Philip have been carrying random acts of kindness in Bridgend town centre such as handing out 100 boxes of chocolates to passers-by. The random acts of kindness are their way of reaching out to others to say thank you for the positives in their lives.

Ann O’Keefe and friends: For over 15 years, Ann O’Keefe, Alison Jones, Judith Callaghan, Marilyn Beale, Arthur Beale and Dave Jones have been raising more than £10,000 annually for the Sandville Centre, a North Cornelly based charity which provides social and psychological care.

John and Dianne Thomas: The duo’s long-term commitment to the Maesteg Hospital League of Friends ensures that one of the most well-loved institutions in Maesteg continues to get the community support it deserves.

Last Updated: 24/03/2017
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