Inspirational people who work tirelessly to help others, selfless businesses and young people who are quietly excelling in sport, were all honoured by the council and the Wimbledon Guardian at the 2016 Merton Community Awards last night.
A stand-out winner was schoolboy Joshua Turner, below with the Mayor of Merton, who won two awards for outstanding achievement.
With sheer determination and hard work the judges said was impressive for someone so young, Joshua has so far raised £1,270 for Cancer Research UK by selling cakes on a stall at Raynes Park station in memory of loved ones affected by the disease.
The awards, now in their fourth year, were hosted at the Taste Restaurant in South Thames College, Morden, where nervous nominees gathered and nibbled canapes and sipped bubbly before learning who had been crowned the winners, highly commended and commended in each highly-sought-after category.
Highly commended young person Kwaku Amoako, second from left, with his family.
Winner of the Volunteer award was Alison Pelikan, a familiar face in the borough for her work running nature clubs at Morden Hall Park, Wimbledon Common and Deen City Farm, volunteering at Wimbledon Library, giving respite to families of children with learning disabilities and educating people interested in fostering.
Vanessa Anenden, who won the Community award category.
Fiona Razvi, Wimbledon BookFest director, won the Arts and Entertainment category in the festival’s tenth anniversary year. She came second last year.
The Mayor of Merton, Councillor Brenda Fraser, said: “I am very happy to champion the Merton Community Awards because they recognise the hard work and dedication of the borough’s unsung heroes.
“As the Mayor, I see first-hand the amazing and selfless things people do every day, often without recognition.”
Nicholas Hitchens, Deputy Managing Group Editor of Newsquest South London which runs the Wimbledon Guardian, said: “I was involved in the launching of the, then Merton Civic Awards in 2013, and I am delighted this event has gone from strength to strength.
“I would like to thank South Thames College for generously agreeing to host this year’s event, and everyone who has been involved in the event, which was a huge success.”
Here is a list of the winners and those who were highly commended in each category:
Act of Courage:
Winner: Adam Langley
Highly commended: Estifanos Habtesellasie
Arts and Entertainment:
Winner: Fiona Razvi
Highly commended: Soo Bishop
Highly Commended: Thill Srikantharajah
Winner: Vanessa Anenden
Highly Commended: Paul and Irene Strank
Parent/carer of the year:
Winner: George McAdam
Highly commended: Arieanne Bolt
Teacher of the year:
Winner: Ann Ellis
Highly commended: Sarah Lyne
Winner: Diell Zejnullahu
Highly commended: Anthony Bravo
Winner: Alison Pelikan
Highly commended: Martin Marshall
Young Persons Outstanding Achievement:
Winner: Joshua Turner
Highly commended: Kwaku Amoako
Mayor of Merton Outstanding Achievement Award: Joshua Turner.