Unsung heroes celebrated at Best of Sussex Community Awards

All of the winners at the Best of Sussex Community Awards with editorial director for Sussex Gary Shipton and compere Ambrose Harcourt (Picture: Liz Pearce)
All of the winners at the Best of Sussex Community Awards with editorial director for Sussex Gary Shipton and compere Ambrose Harcourt (Picture: Liz Pearce)

Community heroes gathered at the Hilton Metropole Brighton on Sunday afternoon (December 8) for the very first Best of Sussex Community Awards.

There was a festive feel as guests enjoyed a drinks reception and afternoon tea while Christmas music played, and this was followed by the awards ceremony where guests heard about the work and achievements of all 41 finalists.

Dan Brooks (Fundraiser of the Year) with his mum, Carla Brooks (Picture: Liz Pearce)

Dan Brooks (Fundraiser of the Year) with his mum, Carla Brooks (Picture: Liz Pearce)

Compered by Ambrose Harcourt, there were speeches by JPIMedia editorial director for Sussex Gary Shipton, as well as Sussex-based novelist Kate Mosse and headline sponsor Mike Harris of the Sussex Masonic Foundation.

The event celebrated the brilliant work of community groups, volunteers, fundraisers and carers in our area, with inspiring stories from all over Sussex.

Julie Masters, who goes above and beyond in her community of Crawley, helping the elderly at home and even doing fish and chip runs, won the Carer of the Year award, and said: "I am completely overwhelmed. Thanks so much to my lovely daughter for nominating me."

Rosie Turner, 89, is known as 'Granny Rosie' in her hometown of Chichester, where she knits extravagant window displays for Chestnut Tree House charity shops - so dedicated to the cause, she was even knitting during the awards ceremony! She won the Local Hero award, and said: "This is the last thing I expected. Thank you so much!"

Winner of the Carer of the Year, Julie Masters with Ambrose Harcourt (left) and  sponsor Dave Cleworth of Barracloughs Opticians (Picture: Liz Pearce)

Winner of the Carer of the Year, Julie Masters with Ambrose Harcourt (left) and sponsor Dave Cleworth of Barracloughs Opticians (Picture: Liz Pearce)

Ellie Mae Wile-Dunne, 11, won the Spirit of Youth award for raising more than £100,000 for charity after her battle with cancer when she was four.

And Dan Brooks, 12, was named Fundrasier of the Year for his efforts in raising cash for Albion in the Community, which helped him when he was experiencing difficulties at school due to autism.

And Jess Webb, 14, was named Overall Achiever for raising more than £11,000 for Huntingtons Disease after the loss of her grandfather and uncle.

These are just some of the heartwarming stories shared at the inaugural Best of Sussex Awards.

Granny Rosie with L-R Susy Pitt, Kate Mosse (Author) and Granny's daughter in law and Trish Beldam (Picture: Liz Pearce)

Granny Rosie with L-R Susy Pitt, Kate Mosse (Author) and Granny's daughter in law and Trish Beldam (Picture: Liz Pearce)

Winners went home with an award, but all finalists were treated to a trip on the i360, provided by DMH Stallard, in recognition for their hard work.

The winners at the Best of Sussex Community Awards were:

999 Award

Crowborough Community First Responders

Personal Achievement

Natasha-Leigh Stewart

Charity of the Year

Sussex Cancer Fund

Fundraiser of the Year

Dan Brooks

Sporting Star

Kieran Green

Best Community Organisation (sponsored by The HR Dept)

Community Stuff, Eastbourne

Carer of the Year (Sponsored by Barracloughs Opticians)

Julie Masters and Tash Burrows

School of the Year

Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee School Horsham

Business in the Community

Oliver’s Brighton

Spirit of Youth Award

Ellie Mae Wile-Dunne

Volunteer of the Year

Shaun Lyndon-Smith, Dementia Support

Local Hero Award

Rosie Turner

Overall Achiever (Sponsored by the Sussex Masonic Foundation)

Jess Webb

Readers' Choice

Tangmere Primary School