Dedicated silent stars from across the communities of Avon and Somerset were recognised at the first ‘PCC Pride Awards’ of 2019, at a ceremony hosted by Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Sue Mountstevens on Monday, January 21.
Among the 10 winners recognised with a PCC Pride Award was an extraordinary gentleman who founded the Avon and Somerset Search and Rescue team in 1990, an incredible volunteer who helps vulnerable victims at Safelink and a man who saved lives following a brutal collision on the M5 last year.
The winners and their guests attended the ceremony at Police and Fire Headquarters in Portishead, before being invited to have lunch with the PCC and Assistant Chief Constable Nikki Watson. After lunch, the winners and their guests enjoyed a tour of the communications centre where ‘999’ and ‘101’ calls are received.
PCC Sue Mountstevens said: “I always look forward to the Pride Awards as I get to meet the silent stars that often do not get the recognition they so richly deserve. It is an honour to see the dedication, bravery and hard work of the many people living amongst us and award them for their extraordinary commitments.
“It is always humbling to see the unsung heroes of Avon and Somerset who continually go that extra mile to make their communities safer and stronger. I am proud to say that all of these winners have made a lasting impact on the lives of Avon and Somerset residents and I am grateful to every single one of them for their efforts.”
During the afternoon lunch we had the chance to catch up with some of the winners and heard what they thought about the day:
Clare Matthews is committed to her role as a volunteer for Safelink, supporting vulnerable victims of sexual offences in Bristol. Clare said “It’s a real honour to receive the award and it’s nice to be recognised for doing something in the community. It is inspiring to hear what other people are doing to help others too.”
Naseem Talukdar founded ‘Feed the Homeless’ in 2016 and the charity now run a diverse team of volunteers who provide meals for the homeless in Bristol and Weston-super-Mare. Naseem said “This award is not just for me, it also goes to all of the volunteers from Feed the Homeless and without them the charity would not exist. I would like to say thank you to all of the volunteers who have worked so incredibly hard over the last three years - thank you.”
Darren Hanson remained calm and collected as he helped injured people move to safety following a serious collision on the M5 last year. Darren said: “I was incredibly shocked and surprised about my nomination, when I first found out - I thought it was someone winding me up! It was lovely to be here today and hear about everyone’s fantastic achievements, everyone certainly deserves their awards today.”
After 44 year of services to the Avon & Somerset Search & Rescue Team, David Simmonds is awarded for his fantastic contribution to the service. David said: “It’s an honour to be singled out but there are lots of other people in the team who have also served and who have helped me achieve what I have got today.”
Laura Philp rushed to give a motorcyclist CPR after witnessing the motorcyclist collide with another vehicle on her way home from work. Duncan Massey said: “Laura gave the motorcyclist all the care possible, she made a real attempt to save the gentleman’s life. Although he sadly passed away, Laura gave comfort to the family as it is clear she really did her best to safe this man’s life.”
Kev Long supports and gives guidance to mentors supporting vulnerable children; his nominator has called him a ‘pioneer’! Kev said: “To receive an award is very humbling and it’s nice to get recognised.”
Joanne Harris is an invaluable asset to the Professional Standards Department for Avon and Somerset Police as she ensures the fair, transparent and professionalism of Police Misconduct Hearings. Joanne said: “It’s lovely to have the recognition and receive the Pride Award.”
Ian Grubb took the time to stop and make sure a young lady was safe when she was walking alone late at night. Ian said: “I’m extremely proud and humble to receive an award. I’m proud that Avon and Somerset recognise the efforts of the general public.”
Rebecca Neale is a relatively new call handler for Avon and Somerset Police and has already received 14 thank you messages from members of the public, clearly showing how much she cares about the welfare of those that call ‘999’. Rebecca said: “I’m grateful the recognition but I just feel like I’m doing my day job.”
Our final winner is Khalil Aden Abdi who has helped to bring strong relationships between young people and the police by organising community football activities. He has undoubtedly helped to reduced fear and divert young people from crime. Khalil said: “It is lovely for someone to recognise the work we are doing and that we are making a difference. I’m happy to receive an award because it means someone has recognised my work and the passion I have to make a difference. It’s important that we help the community and make it a stronger community.”
Photos of the day are available on Flickr here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/aandspcc/albums/72157702658843392
If you would like to nominate someone for a PCC Pride Awards visit www.avonandsomerset-pcc.gov.uk/Take-Part/PCCs-Pride-Awards.aspx
People are encouraged to put names forward as nominations for the PCC’s Pride Awards. The Awards are open all year round and decisions will be made quarterly.
Posted on Monday 21st January 2019