Heroes who work tirelessly for their communities across Redcar and Cleveland have received special recognition awards.

Nineteen individuals and groups were honoured at the annual Mayor’s Community Achievement Awards at the Civic Centre in Redcar on Wednesday, March 27. Music was provided by Eston choir The Local Vocals.

Winners included an 82-year-old woman who volunteers to look after elderly people after years of fostering babies, and the person behind Seaside Sid, the famous Marske mascot.

Mayor of Redcar and Cleveland, Cllr Malcolm Head said: “These awards recognise the hard work and dedication of voluntary groups or individuals, working in the community of Redcar and Cleveland, whose efforts go largely unnoticed and unsung. It is a great pleasure and honour to give these much deserved awards and there are no losers tonight – everyone here will receive an award.”

Darlington and Stockton Times: All winners of the 2024 Mayoral Community Awards. Credit Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council/Stuart Boulton

The winners, all nominated by councillors, were:

1.Saltburn Valley Garden Volunteers

The volunteers, 12 in total, come together every week to support the reclamation of the unmaintained Saltburn Valley Gardens, on behalf of the Saltburn community and to aid the council in returning Saltburn Valley to a well loved and cared for community area.

2.Coastwatch Redcar

Coastwatch is a team of voluntary watch keepers and trustees dedicated to saving lives by supporting the Coastguard. It is part of the Sea Safety Group, which has stations along the East Coast and is operational seven days per week, 365 days a year. They not only offer immediate assistance to those in distress, but also play a crucial role in monitoring shipping vessels, reporting environmental concerns, and alerting the authorities to suspicious activities.

3.Hilary Greenwell and Becky Peirse-Pallister

Hilary and Becky are both Ladies of Steel and Youth Club volunteers. Hilary has volunteered at the Youth Club for 17 years and Becky ten years. Between them they have given almost 3,000 hours to the children of Dormanstown. They play games, do arts and crafts, and talk to the children with kindness and compassion. They teach boundaries and social skills and have earned the respect of the children and parents alike.

4.Paul and Shirley Profit

Paul and Shirley had an idea to create a community garden and allotment for elderly residents to help those who are not normally able to engage or go outdoors. After many bumps and barriers, the “Good Life Community Project” was born with two allotment sites at Warrenby. They offer a safe space and free workshops to Dormanstown residents, using their own vehicle to pick up and drop off residents who can’t make it on their own.

5.Richie Kerr-Morgan

Richie helps to run the new Eston Market as a volunteer, organising and doing the administration and helps run charity events. He has also set up a wellbeing afternoon in a local café to support mental health.

6.Eston Remembrance Committee

The committee was established in 2018 and consists of veterans and members of the local community. They work with the military, emergency services, cadets, youth groups and local schools to put on an annual remembrance parade, which is streamed live on social media, reaching around the world. Two murals have also been produced with ideas from the local community, designed and delivered by local artist Phil Meadows, funded by local businesses. The committee has also taken ownership of a piece of land in Eston square creating a memorial garden.

7.Whale Hill Community Centre Volunteers

The volunteers have been serving the local community for the past 40 years. Covid made a massive difference to how the centre operated, but the volunteers have managed to open 365 days a year to feed people from their daily food deliveries and the food bank. The centre has a "Warm Space Session" and a "Remember When Session" which brings in a lot of vulnerable and elderly people. There is a mental health group for young people, as well as bingo and a community choir.

8.Joe Parker and Justin Holt from Grangetown

The Grangetown United Community Hub gives thousands of children, young people and adults the opportunity to enjoy a wide range of activities, to celebrate family and community events and receive much-needed support. Without volunteers like Joe and Justin a lot of this work would not be possible. They help carry out maintenance jobs such as mending and painting fences and keeping the outside area clean. They also recycle old furniture, selling it affordably to the community. The money is then reinvested back into the project.

9.Abi Hedges of Blank Canvas

Blank Canvas is a Christian organisation based in St Hilda’s Church mostly working with 11 to 16-year-olds within the Kirkleatham area, offering a space to do homework, with warm food. They also run a youth club, where the young people can play and be themselves. They seek to identify the barriers that young people are facing locally every day and hopefully equip and support them to overcome them.

10.Lynne and Stephen Nicholls

They say all good things must come to an end and, sadly, this is the case with Coastal View & Moor News. For almost 14 years, the East Cleveland area has had the bonus of this copious publication, full of local news and information, delivered free of charge to the door. For a two-person team to keep this publication going, month after month, has been a truly Herculean task. No one can deserve their retirement more than Lynne and Stephen.

11.Elizabeth (or Libby) McDonald

Libby is an outstanding member of the community. For years, she’s been absolutely committed to keeping Eston, Normanby, and the Eston Hills clean. She goes out most days on her own, with a bag and grabber in hand and walks around the area, picking up rubbish from here, there and everywhere. She’s also very involved in the community in Normanby, particularly with the Neighbourhood Action Partnership meetings. She’s very supportive and genuinely gives her all for the betterment of the community.

12.Saltburn Athletic (Junior) Football Club

Established in 1998, the club was founded by four local police officers, three of whom are still with the club, chairman Dave Sadler, secretary Andy Croll and under 13 coach Tim Raynes. The primary aim of the project was to offer youngsters a healthy and safe local pursuit, to develop themselves as individuals in a safe, pressure-free environment. To give children of all abilities the opportunity to participate in and enjoy football and make new friends. All who are associated with the club are volunteers. Over the years, numbers multiplied, and the football club now has teams aged from under seven to under 14, as well as a pre league starter group called “little kickers”. The club also has its own ground and clubhouse at Hob Hill and is self-funding.

Darlington and Stockton Times: The Mayor's Community Achievement Awards at Redcar Civic Centre.  Photograph: Stuart Boulton/RCBC

13.Sharon Newsome

Since moving to the area Sharon has been heavily involved in many community projects and groups. She has held the position of committee secretary for the Friends of Skelton Wildlife Pond, dedicating huge amounts of time and energy volunteering to help regenerate the wildlife pond and surrounding area. She is also a volunteer for first Skelton Scouts and a volunteer director of Redcar Junior Parkrun. Lastly Sharon is also a volunteer for the local litter pickers.

14.Skelton Villages Civic Pride

The group has a weekly coffee morning in Skelton Civic Centre with delicious cakes and savouries made by volunteers. The weekly coffee morning is well attended, particularly by older residents and helps combat social isolation. Funds raised by the coffee morning are used to purchase spring bulbs and summer flowers in the tubs around the Skelton villages. Volunteers from the group plant up the tubs and weed them. The flowers really brighten up the villages.

15 South Bank Events Group

The group are all volunteers who put on affordable events for the community. Easter parties and games, best of British afternoon tea, summer carnival rides, Halloween and Christmas events. All organised by a small, dedicated team focused on giving the best value for the residents of South Bank and the TS6 area as a whole.

16.Tees Valley Women’s Centre

The centre is a pioneering grass roots project, a one stop-shop for women in a safe non-judgmental environment helping support wellbeing, and improving quality of life by supplying one to one support, advice and guidance, training, and education along with employment opportunities, helping tackle social exclusion.

17. Glynis Rodgerson

Glynis started volunteering in 2009 after working as a carer in Marske Hall for years. She supports the residents to access the community, enjoy activities within the home and is a founder member of the home's fundraising committee, assisting in raising thousands of pounds over the years.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Glynis Rodgerson, 82, who helps look after elderly people and fostered many children in the borough. Credit Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council/Stuart Boulton

What makes this 82-year-old even more remarkable is that not only has she dedicated her life to caring for the residents at the home, but throughout her life she has shown care and compassion in numerous other ways. As a young mother, she opened her home and heart to foster 62 newborn babies who needed looking after, before they were adopted, many of these she has kept in touch with over the years.

18. Ged Burns

This year Ged will be celebrating ten years of volunteering at Marske Hall. He is one of the most active, reliable, and well-loved volunteers at the home. He turns his hand to everything from driving residents on holiday, to appointments and events, supporting them to participate in activities, befriending residents for one-to-one support (including supporting a resident to attend Boro games despite being a Man United supporter), assisting with the gardens as well as being a key member of the fundraising committee.

19.Seaside Sid

Seaside Side is the idea of Debi Large from Marske. He brings a smile to everyone’s faces, be it as a mascot at Marske United football matches, walking in the Christmas parade, fundraising for the club and even gaining Marske by The Sea national media attention when he trained for and ran in the Mascot Gold Cup at Wetherby racecourse.

Darlington and Stockton Times: The Mayor's Community Achievement Awards at Redcar Civic Centre.  Photograph: Stuart Boulton/RCBC

He even has his own stickers and various merchandise, a Facebook page and his videos are great to watch. This all brings much needed funds to Marske United, who have had a difficult season due to the cost of upgrading their home ground their success brought about as they rose through the leagues, and greater demands were put on them to comply with league standards.