Unsung heroes from across Shropshire have been honoured by the county’s outgoing High Sheriff.

Volunteers from across Shropshire have received community awards to mark their outstanding service to the county from High Sheriff Mandy Thorn MBE DL.

Mandy – whose year of office is coming to a close – said she was delighted to make the awards to recognise the remarkable work volunteers play in every part of the county.

“I have been tremendously privileged during my year in office to meet so many wonderful people who work so hard to make a real difference to their communities.

“I said at the start of my year I wanted to shine a light on some of the county’s unsung heroes, and each and every week I have met the most inspirational people. Whether they are helping others, raising funds for charity, supporting youngsters, organising sport or working on community projects, the people I have met have shown what a remarkable county this truly is.

“It is a tremendous honour as High Sheriff to be able to recognise a few of the people and organisations which go the extra mile to make this country so special with an official award.

“Each of the award winners has proved that community spirit and a belief in helping others is still very much alive and well in Shropshire – and actually forms the bedrock of our county.”

Winners of the High Sheriff’s Award this year are:

  • Ellesmere Yarn Bombers, for decorating the town of Ellesmere with the most wonderful post box toppers and wrapping lampposts and trees with colourful yarns.
  • Stuart Cook of Allsports Coaches Coaching Academy CIC. Stuart’s most recent endeavour involved the creation of a comprehensive training programme aimed at equipping veterans with the necessary skills to become sports coach practitioners.
  • Jessie Benson, for singlehandedly raising funds for a defibrillator for the community hall in Clun at the age of 11.
  • Gareth Jenkins. Gareth is an ex-Master of the Shrewsbury Draper’s Company and long-time volunteer. He has made various items for the residents at the Almshouses, the most recent being a Summer House which he designed and built himself.
  • Helen Avraam, for her contribution to the diverse community within Dawley, being a key member of the local community and of Telford and Wrekin Interfaith Council. She gives up her time to help those in need, and her kindness and support is well known.
  • Lokendra Poudel, the Hindu priest in Dawley Bank who has engaged and become part of the wider Indian community around Telford borough, bringing the community in Shropshire closer together.
  • Pala Singh Dudrah. For the past four years Pala has been providing free fresh fruit and vegetables every week to support the Out of Hours Emergency Food service.
  • Paula Ottey. Paula is one of the volunteers at the Interfaith Community Hub in Wellington. She gives up much of her time to keep the Hub clean, sorting out and helping to manage the Out of Hours Emergency Food Service, and running the Chit-Chat Café.
  • Kushdil is a ladies-only group that support women from the diverse communities around the Telford borough, including yoga, cooking classes, outings and general support to those in need.
  • Dawley Food Bank Volunteers Group, for supporting their local community with food parcel support, utilising a number of volunteers to run and manage the organisation locally.
  • Councillor Raj Meta, Chair of the Interfaith Council, for his role convening and promoting Telford Interfaith Council.
  • Ruth Giblin, Susie Nicholls, Faith Cooper, Alex Holloway, Joe Care and Nakita Kang, for saving the life of a swimmer who was in distress at Wellington Leisure Centre.
  • The Court Players, Wellington. For more than 20 years the Players have raised funds through their annual pantomime.
  • Claire Bailey, for her work setting up and running Market Drayton Buggy Walks.  The buggy walks are a walk and talk group for parents and carers of children under five years and they are a great opportunity for families with similar aged children to meet each other.
  • Ironbridge Junior Rowing Coaching Team, for their work encouraging more youngsters to take up the sport.
  • Julie Rich and a team of female phlebotomists who assist Shropshire Prostate Support Group and Lions clubs in taking blood samples to help detect the first signs of cancer.
  • Bikes 4 Change of Donnington, for work upcycling bikes and providing them free to people across Telford.
  • Cody Sansome of Southall School Dawley, who spent a night sleeping outside to raise money for the homeless charity Stay.
  • Caroline Thewles, president of Shrewsbury Choral, who has helped a range of charities including BookFest and St Alkmunds Church and who organises all the Charles Darwin lectures and musical evenings at Charles Darwin House.
  • Nick and Sue Heard of St Martins Youth Club, who have run the club for more than 30 years and helped support hundreds of young people.
  • The 1st Edgmond Explorers, a group of 14-18 year olds who have been working to digitize information and clear graves at the church in the village, near Newport.
  • Rae Anyidoho from Telford & Wrekin Young People’s Forum, who has been a Member of the Youth Parliament since 2022 and who has campaigned around mental health issues.
  • Cathy Haddock from the Coracle pub in Shrewsbury, who with her husband Lee provided meals to 110 people who could not have a Christmas Dinner.
  • Tom Wellings and Josh Barratt of the Bridgnorth Festive Tractor Run, who have raised nearly £20,000 for Hope House Hospice and MacMillan Cancer since setting up the annual event in memory of their grandparent.

“The contribution that each of the winners has made to our county is beyond measure,” added Mandy.

“Without them, this county would be a far poorer place. They each have my own personal thanks – and the thanks of the whole county – for everything they do to help and support others.”

“Without them, this county would be a far poorer place. They each have my own personal thanks – and the thanks of the whole county – for everything they do to help and support others.”

Pictured: High Sheriff Mandy Thorn MBE DL.