UNSUNG heroes from across the Forest of Dean will be recognised for their dedicated efforts to improve the lives of people in the community.
A total of 16 people, from charity fundraisers to rugby coaches, have been nominated as worthy finalists in this year’s Pride of the Forest Awards.
Following weeks of anticipation, the winners in each of eight categories will be announced at a glittering ceremony at Whitemead Forest Park on Friday, May 16.
Among the finalists is Rebbecca Adams, 29, in the retailer category, who runs Framed Forget Me Nots in Cinderford. Her son Albie suffered breathing difficulties when he was born in 2012 but he was nursed back to health by medics at the specialist baby care unit at Nevill Hall hospital in Abergavenny.
“I had post-natal depression and vowed then I would do something for charity,” Rebecca said.
Last year, she raised £1,500 for the unit and since then has made more than £10,000 of donatiotions to charities in the Forest and beyond.
Fundraising auctions are held every week and she also donates ten per cent of business takings to local causes.
Nominations have been pouring in and Debbie Hutchinson, 50, a self-confessed “party animal”, is in the running for the Community Star Award.
Debbie has put her energy into hosting numerous fancy dress discos which have raised in excess of £10,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support, Great Oak Hospice, Coleford, and the Haven breast cancer charity among others.
She said: “I feel humbled – it is a great honour to be nominated and I do enjoy what I am doing.
“At the moment I am starting another charity ball for Help for Heroes, which will take over my life for the next few months. I am quite hyper and can’t sit down so I am doing something all of the time – whether that is exercising or organising a disco.”
For the first time, the Citizen is backing the annual Pride of the Forest Awards run by the district council which has prizes for eight categories; community star, young community, sports, young sports, carer, retailer, George Read and the Citizen award.
Jane Wallace, 54, has been a coach with Cinderford Swimming Club for 20 years and has been nominated for the sports award.
Although she said her colleagues deserve equal credit, Jane has taught thousands of people to swim and help them progress as they far as they can in the sport over the last two decades.
Jane, who works at Heywood Leisure Centre, said: “I am surprised and delighted that somebody has thought I am worthy for it, but there is a number of us who volunteer at the club.”