Video: Almost time to hail Suffolk's Stars

PREPARATIONS for the Stars of Suffolk Awards are hotting up today after the judges completed the difficult task of selecting the finalists.

Simon Tomlinson

PREPARATIONS for the Stars of Suffolk Awards are hotting up today after the judges completed the difficult task of selecting the finalists.

The panel were impressed with the wide variety of “powerful” and “tear-jerking” nominations that have flooded in over the last three months.

Andrea Hill, chief executive of Suffolk County Council and one of the judges, said she was looking for people who have made an outstanding contribution to community life.

She said: “What the nominations show is that there are a huge number of unsung heroes.

“These awards are a huge way of encouraging community spirit and paying tribute to many people who make Suffolk a great county to live in.”

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The nine judges, who included business and education leaders from Suffolk, met at Hintlesham Hall on Thursday and were split into three groups, which judged four categories each.

Jacqui Stoneman, managing director of Just Recruitment, said: “It was very difficult to judge because of the diversity of the volunteering in so many ways in the community.

“There were some tear-jerking stories.”

Having picked three finalists in each category, the focus is now turning to putting the final touches on what is expected to be a glittering and moving ceremony on February 5 at Endeavour House, where the winners will be announced.

The Evening Star editor, Nigel Pickover, said: “We have an event which will be powerful, poignant and will bring a few tears to people's eye.

“It is important in these difficult times to show the great work that is going on in Suffolk.”

The Stars of Suffolk is a joint venture between The Evening Star and Suffolk County Council.

- Do you think it is important to highlight people's contributions to community life? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

The judges:-

Andrea Hill - Chief executive of Suffolk County Council.

Richard Samson - Chief executive of the East of England Co-op.

Jacqui Stoneman - Managing Director of Just Recruitment.

Terry Baxter - Director of communications at Ipswich Town Football Club.

Tracey Bailey - Director of communications at Suffolk New College.

Judy Jones - Facilities director at Call Connection.

Dee Ludlow - Owner of Hintlesham Hall.

David Savill - Sustainability manager for EDF Energy Networks.

Jacqui Cheer - Deputy chief constable of Suffolk Constabulary.

The finalists:-

Volunteer of the Year

- Penny Parker - Fundraising tirelessly for Guide Dogs for the Blind, including looking after future guide dog, Star.

- Anthea Marshall - Ran a club for people with disabilities for 27 years despite a painful back problem.

- Barbara Thorn - Chairman of Ipswich Mencap who adopted three children with Down's syndrome.

Carer/ Foster Carer of the Year

- Zoey Ray - Gave up a lot in her life to care for a friend with rheumatoid arthritis since she was 15 years old.

- Matt McLean - Devotedly looked after his ill mother since he was ten years old.

- Sue Eastwood - Inspirational foster carer who has secured a future for many children in the county.

Courageous Child

- Kyle Knights - Battled back from serious brain injuries and broken bones after being hit by a car. He is fighting to rebuild his life after losing all his memories.

- Conor Jones - Miraculous recovery since doctors said he would never walk again after he fell out of a tree.

- Nic Anderson, Matthew Butcher and Adam Hubbard - Saved Conor Jones's life by giving him first aid and calling the emergency services.

Fire Service Person of the Year

- Simon Thompson, Mick Lowther, Richard Clark and Ian Brooks - The firefighters saved an elderly man's life with a daring rescue from a house fire.

- Gareth Cossey and Chris Morling - Rescued a man from a severe fire in Leiston.

- Denise Whiting and Charlotte Foster - Key members of a team dedicated to reduce crime and improve safety within the community.

Ambulance Person of the Year

- Theresa Webster - Community First Responder who gave life-saving treatment to heart attack victim, Adam Dumesny.

- Doug Armfield and Neil Flowers - Paramedics re-started Adam Dumesny's heart after a cardiac arrest.

- Paul Gedney - Paramedic performed a rare operation at the roadside to help save a motorbike crash victim's life.

Police Person of the Year

- Stuart McCallum - Police officer showed great compassion when helping the family of baby Luigi Askew, who was murdered by his father Duncan Mills.

- Daniel Ormes, Regan Bradshaw and John Shraud - The police officers pulled a man who was intent on jumping from the Orwell Bridge to safety.

- Ali Maidment and Ali Livingstone - Officers took hold of a suicidal man who had lowered himself off the edge of a car park and pulled him to safety.

Search and Rescue Person of the Year

- John Cresswell - Set up volunteer coast patrol in Felixstowe after its lifeboat was scrapped.

- Jonathan Harvey - Dedicated teenager who has flown up the ranks in the Felixstowe volunteer costal patrol since joining at the age of 14.

- Wattisham Search and Rescue Team - Carried out emergency airlift of teenager who had gone into premature labour. She successfully gave birth at a hospital in Kent.

Best Neighbour of the Year

- Joyce Mitson - Cares for a 90-year-old neighbour as well as her disabled husband.

- Ted Craske - 82-year-old has saved two or three lives and is always helping people in his street.

Inspirational Teacher of the Year

- Michael Hough - A “special guy” who inspires pupils.

- John Richards - Runs after-school clubs at his house and is adored by his pupils.

- Colin Tapscott - Takes children on trips away and makes them laugh.

Unsung Hero/ Heroine of the Year

- Shery Southernwood - Single mum-of-three runs two clubs in Felixstowe and dedicates her life to helping children.

- Nikki Reynolds - Has revolutionised lives of families who have autistic children in Stowmarket.

- Jo Mayhew - Raised �50,000 for Cancer charities since her husband died of the disease.

Hospital Hero/ Heroine of the Year

- Guy Nichols - Much-loved and respected ward nurse who recently retired after 41 years' service.

- David Rae - Surgeon who has saved lives of man with flesh-eating bug and an elderly lady who says he is her hero.

- Sarah Smith - Nurse who has supported a patient suffering from cancer.

Outstanding Bravery

- Mandy Gavin - Pulled trapped motorist from her burning car seconds before it exploded.

- Tim Walker - Police officer rescued three people from a burning building without a thought for his own safety.

- Ryan Harris and Daniel Fiske - The Pcs helped to save the life of a man who doused himself in petrol and threatened to set himself alight.

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