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Hillingdon’s community heroes honoured with awards

The hidden heroes in Hillingdon’s communities were celebrated for their outstanding, but often unseen work at a special awards ceremony by Hillingdon Council this week (Tuesday 23 April).

The ceremony for the 2024 Hillingdon Community Awards took place at the Civic Centre in Uxbridge and hailed the remarkable contributions to local communities across the borough from the 18 winners.

Hillingdon’s awards are an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the people whose selflessness makes the borough such a brilliant place to live, work and visit. The winners were shortlisted from 137 nominations, received across four categories: Helping Communities, Helping Vulnerable People, Bravery and Promoting Health and Wellbeing.

Winners were presented with their awards in the Council Chamber by the Mayor of Hillingdon, Cllr Shehryar Ahmad-Wallana; Leader of the Council, Cllr Ian Edwards; and the council’s Chief Executive, Tony Zaman.

Winners local to Harrow included, Sharon Pink, lead organiser for Pinner’s Remembrance Day events, received a silver award in the Helping Communities category for her community volunteer work and role as a director at the Hillingdon Chamber of Commerce.

Sharon said, “Hopefully in all these volunteer activities I’m also playing a small part in encouraging other local people to come and join the volunteer teams, so we are truly inspiring the next generation of community volunteers, which is really important.”

Hillingdon’s community heroes honoured with awards Harrow Online
Sharon Pink with Lord Finkelstein of Pinner and MP for Ruislip Northwood & Pinner David Simmonds

Kath Powell from Whiteheath Junior School in Ruislip, was acknowledged for contributing almost three decades of tireless work supporting the staff and children, receiving the second gold award. She originally joined the school as a volunteer, before working there as a dinner lady, then a teaching assistant before returning to volunteering, outlasting many of the teachers who’ve passed through the school’s doors.

Mike Rees in South Ruislip, for engaging with HS2 on behalf of the local community to minimise the disruption during construction and Asad Karim, for liaising with the South Ruislip Safer Neighbourhoods Team to promote crime prevention awareness across the community.

The Friends of Northwood Recreation Ground were also awarded bronze in the Helping Communities category for the group’s dedicated hours of maintenance and conversation work ensuring the park remains a pleasant and welcoming place for residents and visitors.

This year saw two gold award winners, both in the Helping Communities category. Christine Bennett is recognised for her involvement with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme and also overseeing 13 local Scout groups as District Commissioner.

Speaking of her win, Christine said: “I became a leader to complete the volunteering section of my Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award many years ago and have stayed ever since as I enjoy helping others develop their skills through Scouting.

“From teaching Cubs how to tie a simple knot, learn basic compass directions and know simple map symbols, to supporting Explorer Scouts who have developed these skills so that they can use pioneering techniques to build a platform to sleep on or navigation skills to complete their Duke of Edinburgh’s and Scouting Awards; I enjoy seeing them all succeed and flourish.”

Hayes-based charity SEND Family Support has been supporting local children with special educational needs since 2015. The charity scooped silver in the Helping Vulnerable People award and trustee, Sarah Francis said they were shocked to win.

She added: “We feel honoured and privileged we have been nominated. We love to be able to offer support and advice to families who have children with special educational needs.

“Having my own child with special needs and volunteering for SEND Family Support has helped me to use my own knowledge and experience to guide others in need of help, as I never had such support when my own children were growing up, so it’s a very special feeling for our charity to have been awarded this honour.”

Other deserving winners celebrating on the night were, Divya Patel received a bronze award in the Promoting Health and Wellbeing category for giving up her time to lead a group of volunteer yoga instructors in Hayes offering free classes to the local community, helping people stay active.

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