Balsall Hero Winners Announced

Thank you all so much for your nominations for the Balsall Common Heroes awards. The panel of local judges – myself, Claire Turner of Wow! Signal Communications, Carl Hemming from Ginger Estate Agents, Amanda Cruxton-Chance of Flourish and Alice Houghton from the Saracens Head, had the difficult job of picking our top three community heroes.

The winners are (in no particular order!):

Ashley Norton from Balsall Common Co-op

One nomination for Ashley summed it up:

“Ashley has gone above and beyond as our local Co Op store manager. He has kept the community up to date daily with ordering stock, supportIng local independent business by introducing their products to the store. He has supported my own personal volunteering at the Maternity ward at Warwick Hospital by donating supplies to the NHS staff… We really have had been very blessed to have such a lovely, kind and caring person in our community who I’m sure many will agree has kept our local Co- Op running. I couldn’t think of anyone more deserving than Ashley to receive an award of recognition.”

Chloe from The Saracens Head added:

“As a member of the Balsall Common Facebook page I have seen many posts from Ashley from the Coop with his ‘flour delivery alerts’, which I know was a godsend to friends who were in dire need of baking supplies.” Well done to Ashley and the whole team at the Coop for all their hard work.

Paul Bennett

Chloe, representing the Saracens Head said the judges panel recognised Paul for “the immense effort that has gone into providing masks and accessories for those who needed them.”

As one nominator said, Paul has “… gone above and beyond during the pandemic. Paul has worked tirelessly delivering items created by the Balsall common sewing circle to those in need. He provided uniform wash bags for all the staff at the dialysis unit where I work ensuring that we minimised the risk of transmission of the virus to our loved ones. He also delivered masks and ear saver head bands for staff at my unit, but he has also delivered countless items to other healthcare settings in the local area and beyond. He has done all of this in his own time using his own resources to make sure those that need masks etc get them. Paul has been making these deliveries for the entire pandemic and I really believe he deserves some recognition for his selfless contribution to not only health care workers but normal residents of Balsall Common too.” Thanks to Paul for all his hard work and to everyone from the Sewing Circle, along with all those who helped out with supplies for them.

Dfer Dog – The Perry-Ogden family

Children and adults alike on the Kemps Green Estate were kept entertained by the literally hundreds of garden activities of big cuddly Dfer over the lockdown period. Chloe said:

“As someone who lives on the Kemps Green Estate, Dfer and his daily antics kept me entertained from day to day. I know their displays were probably meant for kids’ entertainment but our whole family would redirect our daily exercise walks to make sure we passed by the house! So, a big thanks to the Perry-Ogden family for keeping our spirits up in a strange time.”

I am humbled by the efforts of our community during the pandemic and I was proud to read all of the nominations we received. Our three winners were all equal in their efforts with no 1st, 2nd or 3rd place. I think it says a lot about the winners that two out of three of them also submitted nominations for other people. Other nominees included Airwaves Facilities Management, Balsall Common Lions Club, the Balsall Common Sewing Circle, Elise Clark, Jill Halliday, Milkman Roger, Missy Rose, Oli Novakovic, Sharon Macintosh Saunders, Steven James of the Wedding Pizza Company, the ladies at the pharmacy and all the staff at Coop and Tesco. Tracey McAtemney was also nominated for her hard work supporting children and young adults who have suffered a bereavement in the last few months. Gary Lloyd and Jess Riley were also entered for their work to help their vulnerable neighbours.

Judging panel member Claire Turner added: “It was a huge pleasure to be involved in the awards. Although the last few months have been a difficult time for many people, all of those nominated have made a real and positive difference to people in Balsall Common, giving up their time for the benefit of others. I was also delighted to see how well they each used Facebook to connect with the community. Our local Facebook groups have been a lifeline for information and support over the last few months.”

Amanda Cruxton-Chance also helped to judge the awards, she said: “‘I truly feel that this awful enforced lockdown has brought this community closer together. I’ve seen so many acts of kindness (large and small); meals being cooked for elderly neighbours, WhatsApp groups forming to check on those that are self-isolating, and youngsters using their time and skills to help others. Olivia, a University student in our lane made over 1,220 individually designed pair of earrings, over 4.5 months, raising over £4,500 for charity. How selfless is that! Thousands of face masks have been made by the local sewing circle, Dfer with his daily ‘antics’ has kept us all amused, and Ashley and the Co-Op team worked tirelessly to ensure the shelves are stocked so that we don’t go without.

I personally feel very grateful to live in such a caring community. Thank you to all that have, and are continuing to, show acts kindness.”

Carl Hemming of Ginger Property added: “It’s a delight to see how our community continues to pull together, and moreover to see the amazing efforts of so many people in a time of national and local need to support local residents who need extra support, and sometimes a simple check-in to make sure they are well and have all they need to manage. Also, it’s humbling to read so many nominations and kind words acknowledging individuals who have gone the extra mile to help, and to take time to recognise these efforts.”

Well done to the winners who scoop prizes including a three-course meal for two at the Saracens Head, a meal for two at La Delicia, a hamper from the Balsall Common Tesco and a Pizza Kit from the Wedding Pizza Company, along with their awards which we were delighted to supply.