Gallery: Stars of Suffolk honoured

Special moment as Bravery Award winner Brooke Lawrance attends with parents Peter and Sarah

Special moment as Bravery Award winner Brooke Lawrance attends with parents Peter and Sarah - Credit: Andy Abbott

FROM paramedics who went beyond the call of duty to fundraising teams and devoted carers - these are the Stars of Suffolk.

And today we pay tribute to the outstanding individuals and groups featured at this year’s Stars of Suffolk awards.

Hundreds of guests were invited to Suffolk New College in Ipswich for the ceremony on Friday as 16 awards were handed out, following scores of nominations being sent in.

Level three music students at the college kicked off the awards in style before the host for the evening, BBC Suffolk presenter Mark Murphy, announced the nominees and winners for each of the categories.

And here are the 2013 Stars of Suffolk

Carer of the Year: Joint winners: Maurice Ashford and Louise Ranger.

• Louise Ranger has selflessly cared for her daughter Alana for the last 13 years.

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Alana was born with cerebral palsy and epilepsy and Louise, of Felixstowe, regularly takes her out on trips and cares for her every day.

Last year she was at the forefront of a fundraising campaign to get her daughter a new wheelchair – a feat finally achieved in July.

• Maurice Ashford was an inspiration to his family after caring for his wife for six years until she died.

Tragically Maurice died just a week later but his daughter, Deborah Ashford, described her dad as a “completely selfless man who showed amazing strength until his death”.

Team of the Year: Winner: EACH fundraising team

•Since the success of the EACH Treehouse Appeal in 2011, the team in Suffolk has ensured the momentum generated was maintained.

They have delivered a number of events and are inspiring a growing army of volunteers.


• The Suffolk Constabulary Night Time Economy team.

It was established in 2009 and the team deals with the county’s night time economy, ensuring the streets of Suffolk are safe.

• The Brierfield Care Home team is a dedicated group of people who care for people with dementia. The group recently had their work recognised after being selected as finalists in the Great British Care Awards 2012.

Community Group or Champion of the Year: Winner: Ryan Jay

• Youth worker Ryan, co-founded Ipswich youth group Club 4 Teenz back in 2008 along with his friend Sasha after they both recognised that there were limited provisions for youngsters living throughout the town.

His group has been instrumental in providing new opportunities for those from disadvantaged backgrounds.


• A group of disabled youngsters from Optua were among the hundreds of volunteers who helped to make the Olympic Games a huge success.

The group spent several days at the Aquatics centre, signing up for the job six months before the opening ceremony.

• Suffolk’s Gamesmakers were instrumental in the success of London 2012. More than 100 volunteers from Suffolk went to London to ensure the greatest show on earth lived up to its billing.

Fire Service Person of the Year: Winner: Alan Soards

•Suffolk firefighter Alan Soards, was a member of white watch at Lowestoft South fire station for 11 years and was described by colleagues as “first class”.

He died during a training exercise at the Lee Valley White Water Centre in Hertfordshire in October.

Suffolk’s chief fire officer, Andy Fry, said the brigade was devastated by the loss.

Police Person of the Year: Winners: James Asafa and Colin Richardson

• James Asafa and Colin Richardson, responded to a 999 call reporting domestic violence.

They were first on the scene and faced a man who was bleeding heavily after being stabbed.

The pair detained a man they believed was involved in the incident and also gave the victim vital first aid.


• PC John Alcock is Ipswich’s street drinking liaison officer.

Since his appointment nearly four years ago he has worked with members of the street drinking community and helped to get many of them on the road to recovery.

• Detective chief inspector Neil Luckett has investigated serious crime for 12 years but the last 12 months have been particularly intense.

Armed Services Award: Winner: Wattisham Flying Station

• Wattisham Flying Station is the main operating base for the Apache attack helicopter fleet, two Army Air Corps Regiments and 7 Air Assault Battalion REME, the aircraft workshops.

• Also, receiving special recognition was B Flight 22 Squadron (Search and Rescue) RAF, a lodger unit based at Wattisham Flying Station.

The team operates two Sea King helicopters, providing 24/7 search and rescue responses in all weather.

Hospital/Ambulance Hero of the Year: Winner: Ant Brett

•M r Brett clung to the hand of a man who had threatened to jump from the Orwell Bridge last year with little thought for his own safety.

His actions saved the man’s life. He said: “I never expected to win the award. I was just in the right place at the right time and just did what anybody else would do.”


• Taxi driver Kevin Robey was taking a fare to the JLS concert in Ipswich when a driver in front of him suffered a heart attack near the Waterfront and crashed into a set of railings.

Mr Robey is a former emergency medical technician with the ambulance service and gave life-saving CPR to the motorist who had stopped breathing.

Search and Rescue Person of the Year: Winner: Charlie Walker

• Charlie has been a member of the Aldeburgh HM Coastguard Rescue Team for four decades and has served as Station Officer and Team Leader for 38 years.

He has performed many rescues and saved many lives during his time.

Outstanding Bravery of the Year: Winner: Brooke Lawrance

• Brooke, seven, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at just two-and-a-half years old and has spent most of her life in a wheelchair.

Her mum and dad’s fundraising campaign – Brooke’s Wish to Walk – has raised more than £65,000 which has funded pioneering spinal surgery in the US. Brooke is now enjoying life on her own two feet.


• Sue Nicholson was described as a true inspiration.

After beating cancer once, it returned with a vengeance, but despite the condition she continues to have a positive approach to life and cares for people who have Alzheimer’s.

• Alice Swallow is finally able to hold her fiancé’s hand after suffering rheumatoid arthritis for 14 years.

Her elbows fused at 90 degrees four years ago but thanks to two ground-breaking operations, she can finally hold fiancé Ryan’s hand and has gone wedding dress shopping.

Young Person of the Year: Winner: Rhys Joseland

• The 15-year-old was hailed a hero by police chiefs after he intervened when he heard a woman being attacked in her home.

Officers said the woman could well have been subjected to further assaults and injury if he had not stepped in.

Rhys, of Lockington Crescent in Stowmarket, was walking to school when the drama unfolded and he has since said he now wants to be a police officer.


• Amber Kidd-Stanton was diagnosed with a life-threatening brain tumour when she was just 17 months old.

The illness left her unable to walk or crawl but she is smiling despite undergoing four operations at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

• Kaylen O’Connor was just five years old when he was diagnosed with a brain tumour and after an eight-hour operation, medics revealed the disease had cost him his sight.

But a year after the diagnosis, brave Kaylen is back at school and learning Braille as he continues on his road to recovery.

• Ellie Grace Brewer, six, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy four years ago and since then has had daily physio sessions, numerous plaster casts, day splints, operations and injections.

Despite all she has endured, Ellie never complains.

Volunteer of the Year: Winner: Gillian Pryke

• She has been a special constable, community responder and during the Olympics was a Gamesmaker.

She has also been a widow, raised three children and has battled cancer.

Her friends say it is a privilege to know her.


• Jon Cryer and his dog Gracie go to care homes in the county enriching the lives of people there.

• Mags Pinkerton, Linda Bruce and Alice Cates make patients in Ipswich Hospital feel better by offering hairstyling services on a weekly basis for no financial reward.

Outstanding Sporting Achievements: Winners: Zoe Newson and Anthony Ogogo

• The winners of this year’s Outstanding Sporting Achievement of the Year Award were Anthony Ogogo and Zoe Newson.

The pair were stars of London 2012 as boxer Anthony, from Lowestoft, took bronze in the middleweight division upsetting Ukraine’s world number one in the process.

Zoe, a former East Bergholt High School pupil, took bronze in the powerlifting under 40kg class at the Paralympics, as she won a place in the nation’s hearts.


• PC Simon Bourne tackled one of the world’s toughest challenges, as he swam 24 miles, cycled 1,120 miles and ran 262 miles to cross the finishing line of the 12-day Decaman challenge in Mexico, in first place.

• Chelsea Ribbon, who is an outstanding martial artist, and currently holds British and European titles in Kuk Sool Won.

Unsung Hero of the Year: Winner: Deborah Charles

• Deborah is a Suffolk hate crime supervisor and hate crime victim Julia Ford described her as her guardian angel.

Julia was subjected to repeated verbal abuse last February but Deborah took her to her own home, fed her and gave her a place to sleep.


• A missionary team from Greenfinch Church in Chantry were also nominated in the awards after they set up a field hospital near the scene of a horror collision in Zambia.

Five died in the collision but Suffolk police said their work saved numerous lives.

The team was made up of PCSO Andrews, Ken Donaldson, Jan Bedford, Nicky Rozier, Roger Barton and Kayley Wells.

• Rachel Gouldby, of Felixstowe, lost her husband Jason after a three-year battle with cancer.

The couple set up a cycle ride, which took place after Jason’s death, and raised a staggering £25,000 for St Elizabeth Hospice in his memory.

Special Recognition: Winners: The 1st Battalion - The Royal Anglian Regiment and Mason Fountain Fundraising

• In honour of their selfless dedication serving their country and the county of Suffolk, the Vikings, the 1st Battalion – the Royal Anglian Regiment, were presented with a special recognition award.

The battalion recently completed a tour of Afghanistan where they suffered heavy losses.

• Eight-year-old Mason Fountain, was also presented with a special recognition award.

Mason set up the charity Mason’s Magic last January after discovering he had an inoperable brain tumour.

Under the umbrella of Brain Tumour UK, Mason’s Magic has raised £50,000 which has provided gifts and treats to children with brain tumours.

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