Unsung heroes in line for awards

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A horse rescuer, two ‘angels of the bridge’ and a couple whose daughter was helped by a Horam charity have been nominated for the BBC Sussex Community Heroes award.

Pauline Grant who runs the Sussex Horse Rescue Trust at Hempstead Farm, Uckfield has been put up for an award in the Animal Welfare category of the scheme.

Pauline has dedicated her life to rescuing thousands of horses, ponies and donkeys in need. Since it was set up in 1960 Pauline has worked tirelessly to rescue, care and provide homes for more than 200 equines. Some are in rigorously inspected loan homes. Pauline said: “We believe every horse, pony and donkey has the right to be part of a loving family where it will be cared for and loved to the end of its natural life. No animal is ever sold and if a loan home is no longer able to care for the animal, it is returned to the sanctuary.”

Paula Woolven, 42 and her daughter, Becca, 19 from Newhaven saved the life of a 25-year-old who lost his grip and fell from the town’s river bridge in February. The pair grabbed the man’s arms and pulled him back over the railings. Sgt Kevin Lette from Sussex Police said: “They showed great presence of mind and courage. They were in some danger as the man was struggling and the river below was approaching high tide which generates strong currents. Everyone involved did just the right things and probably saved this man’s life.” The man was later treated at a mental health unit.

Keith and Trixie Rodaway from Hassocks are also nominated for their involvement in SASBAH, the Sussex Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus based in Horam, since its founding in 1965. In 1964 their daughter Zem was born with both conditions and it was her birth that made them seek more information. Trixie became a key member of the committee and secretary while Keith was co-opted onto the board, remaining a member for more than 40 years. They both helped form the Sasbah Adviser Service instrumental in setting up local groups and are proud Sasbah has prospered and now supports hundreds of Sussex families.

The Awards celebrate unsung heroes from across the area. Over recent months listeners have been invited to make nominations across nine categories including fundraiser, volunteer and young achiever of the year. BBC Sussex Managing Editor Sara David said: “I’m so grateful to all our listeners who took the time to make a nomination. We look forward to welcoming all the finalists to our awards evening at the Gatwick Crowne Plaza Hotel on November 30.

Mark Carter, BBC Sussex Assistant Editor said: “We received another incredible batch of stories and our judges faced a tough task in choosing the finalists. In a time when we hear of some terribly sad stories making the headlines, it’s good to celebrate those who make the local area a better place to live.”

Businesswoman and awards judge Barney Tremblay commented: “This is a rollercoaster ride of emotions. We are humbled at the privilege of peeking into the lives of these remarkable characters and each year, the moment we have the thought that it couldn’t get any better than last, it does!”

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