Winners are an inspiration to us all

SOME of the most selfless, kind and inspirational individuals were all united on Monday as The Journal rewarded the unsung heroes of Lowestoft and Southwold.

SOME of the most selfless, kind and inspirational individuals were all united on Monday as The Journal rewarded the unsung heroes of Lowestoft and Southwold.

The second Pride in the Community Awards took place at the Wherry Hotel, in Oulton Broad, sponsored by Pleasurewood Hills.

And as the evening progressed, emotions ran high as guests heard heart warming stories of battles against the odds, business flair and unfaltering friendship and support.

The evening was compered by Journal editor Russell Cook who welcomed guests, finalists and Yves Delhommeau, general manager of Pleasurewood Hills, to present the awards.

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Prior to the evening judges had to sift through more than 60 nominations to come up with a short list of candidates, who were all invited with their families to the ceremony.

Those attending were treated to a three course meal before Mr Cook took to the stage with Mr Delhommeau giving awards in nine different categories: Community Hero, Local Business of the Year, Kind Neighbour of the Year, Remarkable Person of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year, Teacher of the Year, Employee of the Year, Where the Heart Is and Inspirational Child of the Year.

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The announcement of the categories drew applause and tears flowed from many of the nominees and the audience.

For the second year running a Community Champion was named from all the category winners, who judges felt stood out for their dedication to the place in which they live.

This year's recipient was Zoiyar Cole who has raised nearly £200,000 for cancer charities since she lost her son Paul to the disease.

Mrs Cole, who recently organised the Lowestoft giant toe dipping chain, also won the Where the Heart Is category said she was completely overwhelmed to win.

“I was the second from last group for my category and I was getting very het up so after I received the award I sat down and thought I could relax and when my name was called again I couldn't believe it, I just sat there. My husband Derrick said 'go on, that's you' but I thought I was hearing things and it couldn't be me.

“Some of the ladies I know have been fundraising for 40 odd years and I've been doing nowhere near that, there are so many people who deserved it more than me.

“I do very much appreciate it though and the awards are sitting on my window ledge in the kitchen shining in the sun.”

Mr Cook said: “It was a wonderful occasion and a fantastic opportunity for us to honour those unsung heroes and heroines in our community which has a staggering amount of people who do so much good work.

“It's a humbling experience, as well as an honour, to recognise these people and hear about the efforts they put in to help those around them as well as others who continually fight against adversity in the face of serious illnesses, especially those so young who are an inspiration to us all.

“Our area has a lot to be proud of and it was shown in bucketfuls and it also gave us a chance to recognise those people who help champion our precious corner of north Suffolk.”

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