The Pride of Bracknell Forest Awards were started in 2005 to celebrate the achievements of the community, in areas from charity through to sports and education. They continue to identify those exceptional individuals and groups which make significant contributions to the quality of life in the region.
The Awards have been running ever since to give the recognition that these individuals - and the community more widely - so richly deserve, and to encourage others to get involved in an enormously promising area.
Bracknell itself is at the heart of Europe's 'Tech Valley' and makes a major contribution to the South East economy, which is second only to London in terms of its financial output. But it is the people of the surrounding area that help make the quality of life in the region better for so many others.
There will be Awards across 11 categories:
- The John Nike Pride of Bracknell Forest - Young Person's Award
- The John Nike Pride of Bracknell Forest - Adult Award
- School of the Year
- Teacher of the Year
- Business of the Year
- Health and Sport - Young Person's Award
- Health and Sport - Adult Award
- Charity of the Year
- Volunteer of the Year
- Team of the Year
- Special Award
Next year's awards will be held at the Sandhurst Royal Military Academy on Friday 27th April 2018. Finalists and representatives from local schools, businesses and volunteer groups will be invited to help celebrate our heroes.
The 2017 Awards
The Pride of Bracknell Forest Awards took place on Friday 21st April 2017 at Bracknell & Wokingham College.
Attendees enjoyed a glittering black-tie evening of dining and entertainment to suit all generations. Former Welsh international footballer and BBC Radio Berkshire presenter, Ady Williams, and co-presenter Andrew Peach were the evening’s hosts, with guests including David and Frankie Seaman.
In 2017, ten Awards were up for grabs, with sponsors including Redwood Technologies, Waitrose, Panasonic, Honda, Boehringer, Shorts Group, Content Guru, Appledore, SAR Transport, Laithwaites, and Bracknell and Wokingham College.
The winners and runners up are as follows:
The John Nike Pride of Bracknell Forest – Young Person’s Award
This Award recognises the achievements of those who are under 18 from the Bracknell Forest area who have been involved in any inspirational action.
Winner – Aysha Riley-Marsh
Aysha has faced various medical difficulties since birth, including reduced lung function, meningitis and scoliosis, for which she was one of the first recipients in the UK to undergo a spinal tethering operation. Aysha won the Award for her unflagging optimism in the face of such adversity. In school, she is always smiling and chatty.
Runner-up – Oliver Knight
4-year-old Oliver was born with a heart condition called hypoplastic left heart syndrome, which has left him with only half a heart and resulted in three open-heart surgeries. He gained the Runner Up title because he is such a strong little boy and has put up a fight to whatever is thrown his way.
The John Nike Pride of Bracknell Forest – Adult Award
This Award recognises the achievements and selflessness of everyone over 18 from across the region.
Winner – Julian Starkey
Julian Starkey has been the Chairman and Inspirational figure at Bracknell Athletics club for the past 6 years. Although he works full time, Julian puts in many hours every day before and after work planning training sessions and mentoring parents to help them gain their coaching qualifications. More athletes than ever are now competing at National level meetings and picking up medals, and club membership and retention rate is at its highest in the club’s history.
Runner-ups – Lyn Mitchell and Margaret Atkins
Lyn and Margaret both work in the Tesco in Martins Heron, taking their role to the next level by getting local residents of all ages involved in community activities. They have embraced community spirit by working with young people and schools, teaching them the importance of positive thinking about themselves and others, as well as setting up an afternoon tea club initiative that brings older residents together at the Tesco canteen.
School of the Year Award
This Award looks for schools that have performed exceptionally well in providing an effective and engaging learning environment for their children.
Winner – St Michaels CofE School in Sandhurst
Parents of pupils at St Michaels in Sandhurst have nominated the school because of its open minded and forward thinking environment. The school accommodates for children of all abilities and temperament, and recognises the different learning styles that are needed for individual pupils.
Runner-up – Meadow Vale Primary School
Meadow Vale Primary School has been nominated by parents for its nurturing environment where children are encouraged to become confident local citizens. With friendly and helpful teachers, pupils are challenged to ensure they reach their potential and the school’s enrichment activities cater for a wide range of tastes.
Teacher of the Year Award
This Award recognises teachers who go the extra mile to make the classroom an engaging environment and inspire children, from encouraging shy classmates to participate more in lessons to changing children’s outlooks on the world for the better.
Winner – Claire Mockridge
Claire is a Year 2 teacher at Uplands Primary School in Sandhurst, looking after pupils with a range of abilities. She has made a world of a difference to many children, improving behaviour and creating enthusiasm. She brings out the best in every pupil and has gone above and beyond, particularly for individual children with special educational needs to provide the best possible experience for them.
Runner-up – Liz Combes
Liz once said, “I’m not a mum but I have several hundred children”, summing up her attitude to her students who she has seen grow and develop over the years whilst she has been a teacher and also head of 6th form at Ranelagh school. Liz has been nominated for her genuine warmth, care and concern for her pupils.
Business of the Year Award
This Award recognises those businesses which make outstanding contributions to the Bracknell Forest region, specifically to its people on a day-to-day basis.
Winner – DSC Security
DSC Security was established in 1988, starting as a small office in Bracknell and now employs a large number of local people. At first, directors Ian Jolley and Les Rayment focused mainly on supplying and installing locks, safes, and access control equipment but over the years, have expanded and built relationships with property developers. Outside of work Les has provided foster parenting to a huge number of children and coached at Bracknell Athletics Club for many years, so DSC and its team is a company that benefits the area in many ways.
Runner-up – Canine Assisted Learning
With the help of some canine companions, Canine Assisted Learning works to improve academic achievements, along with social and emotional wellbeing of young people. The company was founded five years ago by Victoria Plumer, an animal assisted therapist, and works with a team of like-minded, experienced consultants all with a passion to improve the lives of young people with the help of highly trained school support dogs.
Health and Sport – Young Person’s Award
This Award recognises those from the region who are under 18 and have made outstanding commitments to the fields of health and sport.
Winner – Amelia Quirk
Amelia has been competing for Bracknell Athletics Club since 2014. In Summer 2016 she broke two of the oldest women's Bracknell AC track records over 1500m and 3000m replacing a former national record holder, gained gold medals at regional and national levels at 1500m and 3000m. In November 2016 she was selected for the GB Team at the European Cross-Country Championship, finishing 10th and winning a team Gold Medal.
Runner-up – Charles Frankham
Boxer Charles ‘Boom-Boom’ Frankham is a rising 17-year-old star who won a place on the England boxing team. Charles, who boxes in the 56kg category, has been following an intense training and sparring programme in a bid to put his name on the international map.
Health and Sport – Adult Award
This Award recognises those from the region who have made outstanding commitments to the fields of health and sport, across any relevant field.
Winner – Jim Dobinson
Jim is coach of the Bracknell and Wokingham swimming club masters team. Jim started coaching 50 years ago and dedicates a huge amount of his time to the swimmers, spending endless hours on poolside supporting the team. For many years Jim has coached the team through numerous National, European and World Championships, with medals being won by his swimmers in these major meets.
Runner-up – Jeff Retallic
Jeff is a member of Easthampstead Golf Club, part of the Downshire Golf Complex. He has spent a huge amount of his time volunteering at the club over the last 20 years, in particular working with Junior Golfers. Every Wednesday and Thursday he organises and assists with the coaching of youngsters at Downshire, and is also involved in organising matches and competitions for the children in the weekends.
Charity of the Year Award
This Award recognises the enormous contributions made to the local community by its many charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups.
Winner – Jealott’s Hill Community Landshare
The project manages a large area of land that is divided into allotments. Apart from the obvious benefit of allowing people to share allotments where they get to fulfill their love of gardening and reap the rewards of their work, the project also provides support for disabled and disadvantaged individuals to do whatever gardening they are capable of, and to enjoy the sensory and tactile experiences of a garden environment, as well as opportunities for offenders to rehabilitate through community service.
Runner-ups – Citizens Advice Bureau Bracknell
Citizens Advice Bureau Bracknell works to prevent homelessness, poverty and isolation. They help people to claim the correct benefits, stay in work, manage their money and deal with ill health and disability, which reduces their stress and improves wellbeing. Their service is unique and makes a real difference to the lives of over 2500 local people every year.
Volunteer of the Year Award
This Award recognises those who give up their time voluntarily to make enormous contributions to the betterment of the community in Bracknell Forest.
Winner – Peter Christmas
Peter Christmas has been a volunteer in the scouting community for many years. He runs the Explorer unit for Bracknell, training youngsters to complete their Duke of Edinburgh bronze, silver and gold awards, runs the first Binfield Explorer unit and supports 1st Binfield Scout leaders to keep the group viable. In addition to this he also works relentlessly to support the South East Berkshire Gang Show each year, building the sets for the scouts and guides to perform with.
Runner-up – Rachel Eldridge
As a former gymnast, Rachel is a Bracknell & Wokingham College student, as well as a former TeamGym Gymnast and Cheerleader. She now volunteers for all of the Bracknell Gymnastics Club events and is one of the few people to regularly help with the long and arduous equipment set downs and set ups which involve 4 hours of heavy equipment lifting.
Team of the Year Award
This Award identifies groups from the region who have made outstanding commitments to the community or deserve recognition for their achievements.
Winner – Bracknell Forest Foster Carers
The 51 fostering households offer an invaluable service to children in Bracknell Forest. They offer a safe and secure home to young people in need and without them the children they care for would have to move out of the area. Fostering is a demanding job; many fostered children have challenging needs and behaviours and, of course unlike most vocations, it can be 24/7. Despite this, the carers find the time to support one another, attend training and even help talk to prospective carers at information events.
Runner-up – Silwood Park Karate
Silwood Park Karate is a local karate club based in Great Hollands Primary School. Now in their 17th year, the karate club, including the members, their families and volunteers, have raised £30,000 for local charities. These include a 24 hour training session, 10,000 katas, a half marathon and an Everest Stairclimb.