Closing Date 8th March

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A WOMAN who set up a charity to support parents who have lost a child has been nominated for a Western Gazette Pride Award.
Carol Crane, 63, said she felt “humbled” to be nominated as a Local Hero for setting up the Rosie Crane Trust in memory of her daughter who died aged 23 of leukaemia in 2004.
She has been nominated by her friend Lindsay Cox, 59, of Park Avenue, Ilminster, who turned to Carol for support when her son died in a road accident three years ago.
“The trust is a lifeline really,” said Lindsay.
“I think I speak for all the people who use it when I say that. It’s hard to explain how much this charity means to the people who use the services.
“Carol is a remarkable lady. After my son died, she would come to my house and we would just talk. She was always just down the road.”
The Rosie Crane Trust provides monthly drop-in centres and a 24-hour phone service manned by trained volunteers, who have also been bereaved, for parents who have lost a child.
Carol, of Shave Lane, Horton, said she was surprised to have been nominated by her friend, who she met through work 24-years ago.
“You feel quite humbled when someone does that,” she said.
“When she told me I was surprised, and a little embarrassed.
“It’s nice to know that you are helpful to other people. Having been through such a traumatic experience, it’s nice to do something useful for other people going through the same thing.”
Lindsay, who is a support worker for MENCAP and has now been trained as a volunteer for the trust’s Listening Ear telephone line, said she was lucky to have her family’s support when her son Sam died aged 31.
“But it’s still important to be able to go somewhere like that and speak to others.
“As much as you might have family, it’s nice to talk to someone who can empathise with you,” she said.
She has lived in the area for 40 years and has a daughter, Jayne Windsor, 31, who also lives in the area.
She said: “My daughter was a school friend of Carol’s daughter, Rosie. When Rosie died, we supported her and the charity, but never for one moment did I think that I would need to use it myself.”
After her daughter’s death, Carol, who has three other grown-up children and nine grandchildren, set up a support group after realising the importance of being with others when she met up with two other parents who had lost children.
She said: “We met up and found it was a great relief and help to talk about what had happened, our thoughts, memories and concerns.”
She launched the trust in 2006 at a party in memory of Rosie and in 2012 the trust raised over £6,000.
Lindsay said she “couldn’t put into words” what Carol and the trust have done for her.
She said: “She is a remarkable lady, just the kindest of women to have done all of this, to have set it all up. Words are not enough to say thank you. I don’t think she realises how much she has done for people.”
The Rosie Crane Trust holds regular coffee mornings and fundraising events.
Carol said: “We also hold drop-in sessions on some Saturdays where bereaved parents can meet informally and talk to others who have similar experiences to them in a safe, confidential environment.”
A drop-in session in South Street, Yeovil, is held on the third Saturday of the month, and another centre holds sessions in Taunton on the first Saturday of the month.
TV personality Valerie Singleton will host the Western Gazette Pride Awards ceremony in Tithe Barn at Haselbury Mill, near Crewkerne, in April.

For more information about the Rosie Crane Trust, visit www.rosiecranetrust.org

 


 

SHINING EXAMPLE: Elliott Brook with his Goaloids sculpture in London five years after doctors nearly switched off his life support machine.

FOR five years Elliott Brook bravely fought back from the brink to fulfil his Olympic dream.
In 2007, he was close to death after being put on a life support machine.
However, against all the odds, the Bruton father-of-two fought back to full health – and unveiled his greatest achievement at London 2012.
Doctors contemplated switching off the former Glasgow school of art graduate’s life support machine after he suffered a stroke while in a pneumonia-related coma five years ago.
He remains paralysed on his left side and confined to a wheelchair as a result of his ordeal.
After an incredible five-year journey, Mr Brook saw his spectacular sporting sculpture unveiled in the capital on the eve of last summer’s Olympic Games opening ceremony.
“I was nearly gone. I came back from the dead to do this,” he said.
“A stroke is something that normally affects half of your brain, whether it be your speech, creativity or memory.
“The trauma of coming out of hospital and trying desperately to get funding for the project was hard, but it all came together.
“My wife, Bryony, helped with everything and without her I don’t know if it could have been possible.
“There were so many times when we could have given up, but we carried on, battled through the tough times and completed the job.”
Mr Brook’s 41-foot Goaloids sculpture sat proudly in London for the duration of the Olympic and Paralympic Games – and still remains the centrepiece of the regeneration of Shepherds Bush green.
It sees a set of goalposts sat on rotating car turntables to mark the centenary of Britain’s football gold medal when the Olympics were held in London in 1908.
The “inspirational” artist is set to be nominated for a Western Gazette Pride Award by family friend Anna Groskop, Somerset county councillor for Wincanton and Bruton.
Mrs Groskop, who lives in Bruton, said: “Elliott is a marvel, he is wonderful and put in so much work with his wife to get this project off the ground.
“Normally this kind of thing can only be done by a big group or organisation, which makes his achievements even more impressive.
“Elliott and his family are a credit to Bruton and he is an example to us all that we can succeed and achieve their dreams.”
Negotiations are ongoing between the artist and Hammersmith and Fulham Council over the sculpture’s future.
However, if a deal can not be struck, the sculpture could make a remarkable return to south Somerset.
Mr Brook said: “The prospect of Goaloids returning to Bruton would be something I would definitely support.
“I would be proud for it to provide inspiration to the community as a testament to hard work and not giving up on a dream, as well as enjoying them as visual artworks with an Olympic connection.
“It would be wonderful for it to remain in London, but if this can’t happen, I would be just as delighted to see them back here in Bruton where they were originally conceived.
“The realisation of these public sculptures has been an extremely difficult journey, and it would be exciting to see them every day in the town as a living reminder of ingenuity, strength and determination.”
The third annual Pride Awards recognises and honours inspirational people in the community.
Nominations are now open – and Western Gazette editor Emma Slee is hoping to build on the success of previous years.
She said: “As a local newspaper our reporters, photographers and newsdesk have the opportunity to interview some of the most amazing and inspirational people every single day.
“We hope the community will share our enthusiasm once again this year and make sure these local heroes are nominated and recognised.”
TV personality Valerie Singleton will once again host the awards ceremony, which will take place in April at the Tithe Barn at Haselbury Mill, near Crewkerne.





CARING HERO: Naomi Grosvenor, of Yeovil, with her son Ethan Joyce who was diagnosed with aristaless related homeobox disease. The full-time carer has raised more than £3,000 for the charity Children’s Hospice South West, which has given support to Naomi and Ethan.

LOVING mother Naomi Grosvenor has given everything to help her disabled son have the chance of a normal life.
The caring hero has put her career aside to look after Ethan Joyce, who was only four days old when he had his first epileptic fit.
For the next year he suffered up to ten fits every day.
Now two, Ethan has been diagnosed with aristaless related homeobox disease (ARX), which has slowed the development of his speech and movement.
He cannot crawl, walk or talk and needs help to sit up. He also suffers from fortnightly seizures.
However selfless mum Naomi, 26, refuses to be downbeat. And as well as being a full-time carer she has found time to give something back to a charity that has supported her.
She said: “Ethan is doing really well – he’s a little hero.
“We haven’t reached any major milestone in the last 12 months, but his head control has improved dramatically. The biggest changes is with his hands. He used to have his hands tightly clasped all of the time, but he has now started to open them. It’s a big step.
“His eyes have also come along too – when I talk to him he now looks at me. It’s slow progress but a real boost.”
Miss Grosvenor, of Larkhill Road, gave up her job as a senior child care worker after Ethan was born.
“The first fit was horrible because it was not like what you imagine a fit to be like,” she said.
“It was more like jerking movements, he moved his arms up and down and stared at me. I didn’t know what it was.
“There isn’t a lot of information out there about his condition which makes it pretty hard for me. Children who suffer from ARX are predominantly boys, but a lot of cases are in children much older than Ethan. From what I can tell, he is at the lower end.
“If we can continue to keep his seizures under control, I’m confident he can continue to develop. It’s been a hard journey. To hear of his diagnosis was a bit of a shock. However, it has not changed Ethan.
“His seizures have almost become second nature to me now. Some of the bigger fits are obviously more upsetting as he is in distress, but he is such a lovely boy. He is happy all of the time. Being upset just is not in his nature.”
Ethan currently attends pre-school at the Balidon Centre – an NHS clinic in Yeovil for children with disabilities.
Miss Grosvenor has set her sights on Ethan starting at Fiveways School next year.
She said: “He absolutely loves going to pre-school and he gets really excited.
“I was considering sending Ethan to mainstream education but now I’ve got the diagnosis, I think Fiveways is the best option. He will enjoy a better education that is tailored to him. Going to school will be a great milestone.”
Ethan spends two weeks a year at Charlton Farm – a centre near Bristol run by Children’s Hospice South West.
Miss Grosvenor recently raised more than £3,000 for the charity after organising a dinner dance at the Westland Conference and Leisure Complex, Yeovil, in October. More recently she raised £100 at an event in Wells.
Miss Grosvenor said: “I’m very passionate about raising money because the hospice has been an incredible help to us. I’m keen to do whatever I can to give something back.”
The loving mother has been put forward for a Western Gazette Pride Award by Kylie Gallagher, community fundraiser for Children’s Hospice South West.
She said: “Naomi is an inspiration and it’s a pleasure to be able to nominate her.
“For someone who gives 24/7 care to her son to find the time to raise so much money is amazing.”
Nominations are now open for the third annual Pride Awards, which recognises and honours inspirational people in the community.
TV personality Valerie Singleton will once again host the awards ceremony, which will take place in April at the Tithe Barn at Haselbury Mill, near Crewkerne.
To nominate your local heroes, simply use the form on this site.
Nominations close on Friday, March 8.





LOCAL HERO: Pam and Lucy McIntosh, left, present £700 to staff who run a support group at Yeovil District Hospital. Musician Lucy, inset, organised a concert with her band Stepping Out to raise funds.

A WOMAN whose mystery illness left her fighting for her life has been nominated for a Western Gazette Pride Award after her near-death experience inspired her to raise money for charity.
Lucy McIntosh, 22, left doctors baffled by regularly going into spasm and losing consciousness without warning.
In August 2011 the Taekwondo black belt was rushed to hospital after she suffered a severe fit at a sports camp in Dorset.
Miss McIntosh, of Yeovil, was kept in hospital for six weeks.
After her blackout, she was temporarily unable to walk and had to set aside her volunteering commitments with the Great Lyde Beaver Scout group.
After regaining her mobility, last year she staged a concert, raising £700 for Yeovil District Hospital’s Intensive Care Rehabilitation Group.
The group gives physiotherapy and occupational therapy support to Lucy and other recovering patients as well as the chance to meet people who have similar experiences of being in intensive care.
Lucy, who also suffers with obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, played electric guitar at the gig with her band Stepping Out.
Her mum Pam McIntosh has nominated Lucy as a Local Hero in the Western Gazette Pride awards.
She said: “Despite all her problems Lucy still found time to raise £700. She helps out teaching youngsters Taekwondo and hopefully will get back into her scouting role this year.”
Lucy said: “I have not really thought about how I would feel if I did win.
“I don’t really think I’ve done anything that amazing. But I am proud of the money I raised for the rehab group. When you come out of being in intensive care it gives you a new outlook on life.
“It made me feel like I had been given another chance. Going to the rehab group has really helped me, and I wanted to give something back to people who still need ongoing support.
“The money I used will help a member of staff to get training, which is really great because sometimes they struggle for staff. I got a lot of support from my family but the gig was mainly down to me. It was a lot of work to organise it, but it helped to keep me busy.”
Despite her health problems, Lucy hopes to secure a Gold Duke of Edinburgh award through her community work and martial arts teaching.
Lucy is also planning to take part in a 100-foot abseil down the walls of Yeovil District Hospital on March 9.
The challenge will raise money for the Flying Colours Appeal for a new Special Care Baby Unit at Yeovil Women’s Hospital.
Lucy said the cause was also close to her heart as her brother had needed extra care at the hospital when he was born.
Her dad, Jim McIntosh, who Lucy recently visited in Qatar, said: “Lucy is desperate to have a normal life for a 22-year-old. Her teenage years were blighted with illness and she still has no respite from OCD and still suffers from her unexplained fits. Despite all this she remains a determined young woman who wants to contribute to anything that helps others.”
Mr McIntosh said that while she is constantly working to help others, Lucy and her family are still desperately seeking answers for her condition, which remains a mystery.
He added: “Lucy has so much to offer and anyone who comes in contact with her is amazed at her tenacity and determination. She just wants a chance to do more, which she can only do with the help she needs to get well.”
TV personality Valerie Singleton will host the Western Gazette Pride Awards ceremony at the Tithe Barn at Haselbury Mill, near Crewkerne in April.

To nominate your heroes, simply use the form on this site. Nominations close on Friday, March 8.




CARING HERO: Pride Award nominee Bob Felstead of Yeovil who volunteers in the emergency department of Yeovil District Hospital, with sister Denise Stone, health care assistant Claire Roe and sister Alicia Worner. Picture by Jennie Banks

A VOLUNTEER who dedicates much of his time helping patients in Yeovil District Hospital’s emergency department has been nominated for a Western Gazette Pride Award.
Bob Felstead is up for the Caring Hero Award, recognising his drive to go over and above what is expected to make others feel special.
Mr Felstead has been a volunteer at Yeovil District Hospital for four years and has been nominated by staff at the emergency department where his work is based.
Although he spends 28 hours a week helping in the hospital, his kindness does not stop there.
The neighbourly 70-year-old also keeps an eye on elderly people near his home on East Coker Road in Yeovil.
Patricia Wilcox, from the emergency department at Yeovil District Hospital, said: “Bob works hard to ensure patients’ needs are met. This includes helping them get to various other departments for treatments while ensuring their respect and dignity are maintained. He sits with people who don’t have relatives with them and keeps them company, makes drinks and helps at meal times.
“He has even been known to walk to Tesco to get a patient something they really wanted.
“Bob also does monthly health and safety checks, and he cleans and maintains the patient trollies. You name it, he does it.
“Bob comes in at all hours of the day and evening in his own time to help the patients have as comfortable a journey through the emergency department as possible.
“His kindness and caring nature is not only felt by the staff but also the patients.
“When patients send their feedback forms, many of the positive comments are about Bob and how caring he is.”
Away from the hospital, Mr Felstead continues his voluntary care by visiting people in the community who benefit from his care and compassion.
He lives next door to Mrs Wilcox’s elderly mother and pops in once or twice daily to make sure she is well.
Mrs Wilcox said: “If Bob has any concerns about my mother, he will contact me and let me know as she doesn’t like to bother me. He is a key holder for several people and offers the same care and compassion to them.”
Mr Felstead said: “I became a volunteer car driver for the hospital after being made redundant from my job in a leisure business.
“I then became a carer for my father-in-law who at the age of 80 developed dementia and was living with my wife and I.
“When he was admitted to hospital, we spent a lot of time in there with him and realised that we could help by carrying out non-clinical duties which can take up so much of the nursing staff’s time. When my father-in-law died I was at a bit of a loose end and wanted to put something back into the community in appreciation for the care he received in the hospital.
“My wife was already a volunteer and she encouraged me to do the same.
“I have witnessed some superb nursing during my time here and it is so out of the blue that the team has nominated me for a Pride Award.
“I am passionate about Yeovil District Hospital and the A and E department in particular.
“I never cease to admire the high standard of medical care provided by the staff and I am very proud and privileged to be part of the team.”
This will be the third year the Western Gazette has held the Pride Awards, which recognise and honour inspirational people in south Somerset and west Dorset.
TV personality Valerie Singleton will once again host the awards ceremony, which will take place in April at the Tithe Barn at Haselbury Mill near Crewkerne.
Judges will draw up a shortlist of nominees for each category and they and their families will be invited to the event.
For full details of the categories and to find out how you can nominate a worthy candidate for a Pride Award, please see the nomination form on this site.

 



 

TV personality Valerie Singleton will once again host the glittering awards ceremony.


THE Western Gazette Pride Awards are back for 2013 and they are bigger and better than ever before.
The third annual awards, which recognise and honour inspirational people in the community, have an additional four categories this year.
Nominations are now open and Western Gazette editor Emma Slee is hoping to build on the success of previous years.
She said: “With so many deserving people in our area it seemed only right to widen the scope with more categories.
“As a local newspaper our reporters, photographers and newsdesk have the opportunity to meet and interview some of the most amazing and inspirational people every single day.
“We hope the community will share our enthusiasm once again this year and make sure these local heroes are nominated and recognised.”
TV personality Valerie Singleton will once again host the glittering awards ceremony, which will take place in April at the Tithe Barn at Haselbury Mill near Crewkerne.
Judges will draw up a shortlist of nominees for each category and they and their families will be invited to the evening.
The categories are Local Hero, Sporting Hero, Caring Hero, Brave Heart Hero, Community Project, Services Hero, Health and Care Champion, Education Hero, Public Sector Champion, Charity Champion and Readers’ Choice Award.
Services Hero, Health and Care Champion, Education Hero and Public Sector Champion are all brand-new categories for this year.
For full details of the categories and to find out how you can nominate a worthy candidate for a Pride Award, please click on categories, above.

 



 

TIRELESS WORK: Head teacher Adam Hawkins of Ash Primary School is being nominated in the Education Hero category for the Pride Awards.

HEAD teacher Adam Hawkins loves to see children gain self-confidence and enjoy the success it brings.
He has been in charge at Ash Primary School since 1988 and since arriving he has dedicated himself to making the idea that every child can be successful at something a reality.
The 61-year-old from Yeovil is currently going through a “phased retirement” and is working three days a week while deputy head Nicola Roberts is being eased into taking over.
As his career winds down, Mr Hawkins’s tireless work for the past 24 years has been recognised in the Western Gazette’s Pride Awards.
He is due to be one of the first nominated in the Education Hero category, by school governor Rev David Gent.
Mr Gent said: “Adam’s commitment to the kids at the school for the years he has been there is incredible and an example to teachers everywhere.”
Mr Hawkins has led the school through a very successful programme of links with schools overseas and taken children on trips to Europe, chess clubs and cross-country tournaments.
He has been described by Ofsted as energetic and someone with drive and clear vision in making the school exciting and dynamic.
He originally taught in London before he and his wife, Corinne decided they wanted a change in lifestyle and moved to the country.
Mr Hawkins said: “I went from a school with more than 600 pupils to Ash, which at the time had 57. Since I’ve been here the school has expanded to the point where we have 165 pupils and the size of the school site has grown as well.
“In a smaller school I found myself once again able to do more teaching whereas in larger schools there is often more paperwork to be done.
“I prefer working with the children and I wanted to make it so they loved coming to the school, kids learn best when they enjoy things.
“With all that we do at the school we try to make their lives exciting, they enjoy travelling abroad with us to learn about other cultures and they are proud representing the school in competitions and events.”
Ash Primary School’s trips overseas are hugely popular with children and they have been fortunate enough to visit countries such as Finland, Italy and Spain over the years. In May they will be visiting India.
Mr Hawkins said: “I am lucky to have a really strong staff, many of whom have been here a long time. There is still the excitement in that every week here there are new challenges to face for us.
“I love to see pupils have success, to be motivated and believe in themselves.”