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Finalists announced in the BBC Surrey Community Heroes Awards 2019

BBC Surrey is today proud to announce the finalists for the ninth year of our BBC Surrey Community Heroes Awards.

The Awards are dedicated to celebrating unsung heroes from across the local area. Over recent months, listeners have been invited to make their nominations across nine categories including Fundraiser, Volunteer and Young Achiever of the Year.

Amongst those shortlisted are:

Animal Welfare – Kate Woods received multiple nominations for her work as a fundraiser for the Wildlife Aid charity in Leatherhead. She never pressurises anyone to donate but organises numerous events.  As an Ambassador, Kate has raised over £110,000 and that total continues to rise.  She also volunteers at the shelter, helping nurse injured animals back to health so they can be safely released back into the wild.

Fundraiser – In 2014, Nicky Williams from Windlesham received the devastating news that her daughter, Isla, then just 3-months-old, had been diagnosed with FOP, one of the rarest, most disabling genetic conditions known to medicine. It slowly turns otherwise healthy people into human statues. Nicky has so far raised in excess of £60,000 for the only charity that supports families living with the condition, through Santa runs, tough mudders and much more.

Music and Arts – Billy Mavin from Godalming goes into Send Prison every month and leads the female inmates in a Prison Praise choir in their Chapel. She also heads up the Worship team for the Sunday Service in the Prison Chapel. Billy does this all voluntarily, helping women who find themselves in the toughest of situations. The Prison allows them to join the choir as a reward for good behaviour.

Volunteer – Jacqui Hamlin embodies what every community needs: vision, innovation and togetherness. Jacqui works for the local distillers of Surrey gin, The Gin Kitchen. She is also on the Board of Directors and launched the non-profit Food Float, Dorking’s sustainable farmer’s market (now in its 10th year) and is also one of the saviours of the historic Pippbrook House, once marked for demolition.  The annual Pippfest community event is just one of her many accomplishments. Amongst many other pursuits, Jacqui can also be found working with the Dorking Museum and organising the Dorking Fringe Film Festival.

Young Achiever – 14 year old Natasha Warren from Banstead is a young carer for her older sister, who has Autism, ADD, and OCD. She’s just finished her Bronze Duke of Edinburgh and has a yellow belt in Taekwondo. She’s a Police Cadet, a Young Leader for Girl Guiding UK and a qualified life saver. She’s also taken part in various fundraising for local charities.

Mark Carter, BBC Surrey Assistant Editor and Presenter said, ‘We received another wonderful collection of stories and our judges faced a monumental task in choosing the finalists. These awards remain a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the amazing people making a really positive difference in the local area’.

BBC Surrey Editor Sara David was part of the judging panel. Sara commented: ‘I’m so grateful to all of our listeners who took the time to make a nomination. We’re now looking forward to welcoming all of the finalists to our awards evening, which is always one of my favourite nights of the year!’

All of the shortlisted nominees will now attend a special ceremony at the Gatwick Crowne Plaza Hotel on Monday 25th November, where the overall winners will be revealed.

For the full list of nominations, visit www.bbc.co.uk/bbcsurrey

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