Mayor’s awards for town’s own COVID heroes

Published Wednesday, 21st April 2021

Special awards have been presented to people and organisations in Hartlepool nominated by their fellow townspeople for having made an outstanding contribution to helping others during the COVID pandemic.

The awards were launched by the Ceremonial Mayor of Hartlepool Councillor Brenda Loynes to recognise “the wonderful community spirit which has radiated within Hartlepool throughout the pandemic.”

Residents were invited to nominate individuals and groups they felt had made a significant difference to people’s lives during the crisis.

As a result, the following have received a special certificate of commendation from the Mayor:


* Ami Ford, of Move It With Ami Ford

As well as holding down a full-time job in social care, Ami has continued to provide a fitness club for children and adults. However this is been no average fitness club – Ami has provided online support through group chats, daily fitness classes for adults and children helping to maintain people’s physical and mental wellbeing through the whole of the pandemic.


* Anthony Petrie

A Property Officer at Cleveland Fire Brigade with over 40 years’ service, Anthony has worked throughout the crisis to help keep the people of Hartlepool safe, travelling regularly to all fire stations in the area to ensure that the buildings and appliances are in excellent working order so that the firefighters can carry out their jobs safely and effectively and always going above and beyond to help anyone.


* Michael Day of Miles For Men

A well-known Hartlepool face, Michael Day of Miles For Men was nominated for his boundless commitment to charitable work and supporting the local community to help it face and get through all the hardships of the pandemic.


* Catcote Futures / Academy

The Catcote staff have done their utmost to keep their young people safe and occupied either at home or at school. Not long before COVID struck they suffered a major blow with the passing of their head Alan Chapman, but they kept going and continue to go above and beyond their duties.


* Dawn Robinson

Throughout the pandemic, foster carer Dawn Robinson has worked tirelessly to give temporary and long term homes to children and has also worked hard to ensure that all her previous foster children who are now classed as adults have been coping over the past year.


* Jason Anderson of Hartlepool Ambulance Charity

A well-known face in Hartlepool, Jason was nominated for his outstanding work in Hartlepool Ambulance Charity, helping so many people in need during the pandemic, looking after their welfare and their mental health.


* Emilie de Bruijn of Hartlepool Baby Bank

Throughout the pandemic, Emilie has overcome all obstacles and worked hard to supply the vulnerable, the shielding, the struggling, and anyone else who needs it with nappies, wipes, baby food and other necessities, latterly singlehandedly helping over 200 families each month.


* Fiona Smithson

Fiona’s commitment to helping the community during COVID has included volunteering with Poolie Time Exchange, helping homeless people, raising money for Hartlepool animal welfare, doing charity walks, providing food and meals for others and shopping and preparing meals for an elderly neighbour.


* Gill’s Fast Food

During the pandemic this takeaway has donated free meals to vulnerable children through the school holidays, helping over 50 children each day. It has also provided food parcels to local people.


* Hartlepool Carers

Hartlepool Carers supports over 2,400 carers to help ensure that their own health and wellbeing is maintained while they care for others.

During COVID, the team introduced virtual programmes of activities to keep carers connected and reduce isolation. Its extensive additional work ranged from making over 3,000 welfare calls and lending out laptops and tablets to delivering over 600 activity packs to help people’s mental health and providing over 200 Christmas lunches and 500 gifts.


* Jo Mowbray of RepeaT For Kids

Jo provides mindfulness classes to children and during the pandemic she offered her services free online, helping children learn how to overcome anxiety during this very challenging time and helping to build their self-confidence.


* Poolie Time Exchange

Poolie Time Exchange were nominated because of the extensive help and support which they have given to people in the borough. To quote one person who wrote in to nominate them “They are constantly there for people in need in Hartlepool.”


* Les and Jackie Watts

Since the first lockdown, the highlight of the week for many people has been tuning in to the disco which Les and Jackie Watts have streamed live from their home every Saturday evening. People from not just Hartlepool but as far afield as America and Australia enjoy this weekly treat, reliving the music and memories and taking their minds off the stress and loneliness of the pandemic.


* Sacha Bedding of The Wharton Trust

Sacha was nominated for the outstanding commitment and exemplary dedication which he has shown in helping and supporting the local community throughout the pandemic.


* Lilyanne’s CIC – Trevor Sherwood and Angela Arnold

Lilyanne’s CIC have been helping and supporting individuals and families suffering mental health and social isolation problems. They have been supporting those who are on low incomes and living on the street by giving out vouchers for hot food and hygiene packs to ensure that they are able to keep clean, and have supported other larger projects with food supplies and donations.


* Lynne Franklin

During the pandemic, Lynne Franklin volunteered many hours at Poolie Time Exchange, delivering items to vulnerable residents, even spending her own money to buy bunches of flowers to cheer up people on her rounds who were feeling lonely. She was also busy making and selling masks, donating the money to Poolie Time Exchange, making scrubs for the NHS and even found time to help collect litter around the town.


* The Big League – Steve Picton, Dave Hunter and Ian Cawley

The Big League were nominated for their extensive efforts to help Hartlepool people during the pandemic, including ensuring that a very large number of families received meals packs during this challenging time.


* Middleton Grange Shopping Centre

This shopping centre in the heart of the town was nominated for its wide-ranging support for the community during the pandemic, including the hospitality it gives to local charities for awareness-raising events and its highly-successful Charity Giving Tree, which saw even more good causes added to its list of recipients during the pandemic.


Councillor Loynes said: “I have always said that the community spirit in Hartlepool is second-to-none and these accolades are once again testament to that.

“People rose to the challenge and gave unstintingly of their time and energy to help and support other local people in need during the darkest of times.

“My warmest congratulations go to everyone who has received an award and my sincere thanks go to everyone who took the time to send us their nominations.”