BBC Radio Sussex announces finalists for tenth Make A Difference Heroes Awards

BBC Radio Sussex has today announced the finalists for the tenth year of its Make A Difference Heroes Awards.

A Horsham man and an Aldingbourne man are among the nominees who will feature in a virtual awards ceremony at the end of this month.

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 ten categories including Fundraiser, Volunteer and Young Achiever of the Year.

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Two new categories were introduced to reflect the pandemic – Coronavirus Response and Key Worker.

Amongst those shortlisted are Kenny Smith from Aldingbourne, in the fundraiser category.

He cycled for 50 days around the UK earlier this year raising funds and awareness for the Multiple Sclerosis Trust in memory of his sister Kathleen.

He started and finished in Chichester, cycling 2655 miles and raising £23,000. Over the years, Kenny has raised more than £250,000 on other treks and cycle rides.

Phil Gibbs is one of the finalists in the sport category. Three years ago, he had an idea to extend the use of a rural football ground in Horsham, the BBC said.

He wanted a place where people could benefit from being outdoors, learn new skills and make new friendships. Phil personally funded all of the facilities and The Horsham and Shipley Community Project goes from strength to strength.

Mark Carter, BBC Radio Sussex acting managing editor and presenter said: “This has been a year like no other. It’s been such a difficult few months for so many people but on the positive side, it’s seen so many acts of kindness in the local community. Now, perhaps more than ever, it’s so important for us to recognise those who’ve gone the extra mile.”

All of the shortlisted nominees will now be featured in a virtual awards ceremony on Monday 30 November, when the overall winners in each category will be announced, along with two Outstanding Achievement awards.