The Pride of Bracknell Forest Awards took place on Friday 27th April 2018 at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
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 entertainment from local school choirs and the Sandhurst & District Corp of Drums.
In 2018, there were 13 Awards given, with sponsors including Boehringer Ingelheim, Content Guru, Honda, Jemca Group, Nike Group, Panasonic, Redwood Technologies Group, Shorts Group, Technogym and Waitrose.
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 – Madison Page Sadlowski
Since being diagnosed with alopecia totalis AU, Madison has been an inspiration to her peers, setting up an awareness page on Facebook to connect with and support other people suffering with any form of hair loss. Despite having time off school to deal with her illness, Madison is achieving high academic success and has returned to cheerleading, having recently been cover girl of the month.
Runner-up – Josh Zeller
Josh is an active member of the Bracknell community, and is currently on the England Schools International Rugby team. He competes in both Indoor and Outdoor athletics, and plays rugby for Bracknell RFC, actively challenging himself by being a young coach.
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 – Lindsay Balaam
Lindsay’s son, Harry was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in 2016. She has shown great strength and optimism in the face of this adversity, and has raised over £36,700 to fund specialist monitoring equipment for the hospital in which Harry received treatment.
Runner-up – Carol Ellis
Carol, also known as Koala Bear, is the leader of 1st Warfield Rainbows and despite having been ill with cancer continues to lead the group every week, and even gives up her evenings, weekends and school holidays to take part in activities within the community with her Rainbows. She is full of enthusiasm and the girls and parents alike think she is wonderful.
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 – Uplands Primary School
Uplands has been recognised as an exceptional school where children are taught to high standards by caring and dedicated teachers. Support is given where needed to encourage children to achieve their highest capabilities, enabling the next generation of the community to thrive.
Runner-up – St Michaels CofE School in Sandhurst
St Michael’s won the School of the Year Award in 2017 and their nomination recognises how members of staff go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that each and every one of its pupils is made to feel welcome, ensuring that they are in a passionate learning environment.
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 – James Rawson
James is the Key Stage 1 Phase Leader at Sandy Lane Primary School, being recognised for his child-focused approach to learning and commitment to the school. James inspires every pupil to achieve their potential by creating a friendly and inclusive atmosphere in his class. For instance, James taught the whole year how to sign Christmas Carols so that a pupil with Down’s syndrome who communicates via signing was included.
Runner-up – James Lacey
James is the Headteacher of Holly Spring Infant School and has had a broad influence on the school. A hands-on headteacher, James always finds time to talk to parents and has a personal relationship with every pupil including joining the ‘walking bus’ and eating his dinner in the school hall. James ensures the school is a place where every child achieves their full potential, has fun and develops a love of learning.
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 – Syngenta
Syngenta works to improve global food security by enabling farmers to make better use of resources. Its site in Bracknell Forest employs over 800 people and is active in partnering with local charities, including THRIVE and Thames Valley Hospice. Its outreach programme helps local pupils understand plant science and food production technology.
Runner-up – Empire Security Solutions
Empire Security Solutions Ltd has kept Bracknell residents safe for the past 15 years, providing security, management, and drug detection services to the John Nike Leisure Complex, the Après Club, and a number of community and charity events across Bracknell Forest.
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.
Winners – Adam Bouaziz and Ava-Mae Martell
Adam and Ava-Mae have both sustained injuries in their careers as an ice dance couple, yet they continue to show strength and optimism. Despite having a broken jaw and a fractured skull, they went on to win their category while competing in Italy.
Runner-up –Molly Kingsbury
Molly is an inspirational member of the community and is a member of the England International sports team. She represented England as a para-athlete in the Long Jump at this year’s Commonwealth Games, being the youngest athlete on the team representing England.
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 – Darren Taylor
Darren runs the Ring Amateur Boxing Club investing his own time and money to establish what is now a vital service for many children and young people in the area. He encourages positive behaviour amongst Bracknell’s youth, including self-discipline and perseverance.
Runner-up – Yasmin Taite
Yasmin is an elite tumbler who has competed in the Trampoline & Tumbling world championships and the British Championships. She is currently recovering from a fractured skull and although this has impacted her ability to compete, she hopes to channel her energy into coaching the next generation of tumblers when she is able.
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 – Citizens Advice Bracknell & District
Citizens Advice helps local residents to resolve legal, money, housing and employment problems by providing free and confidential advice. It undertakes research and campaigns for improvements in the region, across areas like Universal Credit and the housing deposit scheme.
Runner-ups – Pilgrim Hearts
Pilgrim Hearts is a charity that helps vulnerable adults build self-esteem and confidence. It runs the Bracknell Night Shelter, which offers food and accommodation to the homeless during the winter, as well as bringing in other services such as dentists, doctors and hairdressers.
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 Hulbert
Peter has been an outstanding member of the community, spending an average of two days per week volunteering. Not only has he been a trustee and treasurer of Sandhurst Counselling Services for 7 years, Peter is also a co-ordinator of St Michael’s churchyard and the driver for Sandhurst & Owlsmoor Voluntary Care.
Runner-up – Karen Watkins
Karen spends much of her free time volunteering in the local community, making her a worthy finalist for the Awards. As well as her position as Governor of The Pines School, Bracknell, Karen also helps out in Hanworth Community Association as the Treasurer and is crucial to the success of the charity.
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 Lions Club
Bracknell Forest Lions Club is a local group of volunteers working hard to raise money and support those in need locally, nationally and globally. They have been actively transforming the community through charity fund-raising events.
Runner-up – Small Time Play Group
Small Time Play Group is a free-to-attend club that enables children to make friends and discover new interests. The staff have been highly praised for their caring support and entertainment of the children through music, arts and crafts, while the adults are occupied each week with coffee and cake.
Winner - Julie Pratt
julie has run the Priestwood under 5s group voluntarily for over 20 years alongside her husband. She gives up her time outside of her full time job as a child minder and was a school governor for many years. She was nominated 27 times by members of the public and has been described as one in a million, a truly great spirit in our community, a shoulder to cry on when needed and a credit to the community.
Winner - David Horkan
David has played a big part in the health and wellbeing of the local community through his role as a pharmacist at Bullbrook Pharmacy. He has been praised by locals for his extraordinary kindness and helpfulness, going above and beyond the call of duty, and his amazing knowledge, being nominated over 20 times by members of the public. He has been described as full of cheer, bursting with positive energy and generous of spirit.
Winner - Tina Varns
Tina is a veteran of the Awards and a true asset to our local community. She moved into Waitrose in 2003 part-time leading the Community Investment strategy where she developed and launched the flagship Community Matters scheme that celebrates its 10th birthday this year. She moved to the newly created CSR team responsible for leading the ‘Treating People Fairly’ pillar of the Waitrose Way and has developed a wide range of successful programmes to tackle key social issues from food poverty, to the Grow & Sell classroom kits reaching 430,000 children over 5 years. She took the lead to help tackle loneliness with the launch of the Isolation Campaign during Christmas 2013 by providing money and resource for lunches for vulnerable people in our communities. Tina's 32 years’ service have had a strong focus on helping people in the community and she will leave a tremendous legacy behind her.