Five Lancaster and Morecambe community heroes among finalists for BBC Radio Lancashire awards

Unique Kidz and Co.
Unique Kidz and Co.

Five local community heroes have been named among the finalists in the BBC Radio Lancashire 2019 Community Heroes Awards.

The awards recognise the fantastic efforts of people from across Lancashire including everything from good neighbours to voluntary work.

Ken and Marie West.

Ken and Marie West.

Members of the public put forward nominees earlier in the year, from whom a judging panel chose a final shortlist of four in each category.

BBC Radio Lancashire Breakfast Show presenter Graham Liver said: “Hearing a truly inspiring story first thing every morning really makes a difference to your day.

“All of our finalists are simply amazing in their own way and I’m so pleased that BBC Radio Lancashire can help to get them some of the recognition they deserve”.

Brenda Matthews, who lives in Heysham, has been shortlisted for The Carer Award.

Lee Gott.

Lee Gott.

Along with service dog Christa, Brenda cares for her sister Lynn who lives with dystonia and epilepsy.

She said: “It was a big shock – I’ve never been nominated before. It was a very pleasant surprise – I thought they were pulling my leg at first!”

Lee Gott, who lives in Caton, has been shortlisted for The Good Neighbour Award after being nominated by her neighbour Brian Gibson.

Despite losing her home and business in the December 2015 floods, Lee looked after Brian in the aftermath following the loss of his wife.

Stanleys Community Centre.

Stanleys Community Centre.

Brian said: “Lee lost everything in the floods. To have that much worry on your mind yet to think about other people is unbelievable.”

Lee said: “I think it’s good to have nice, pleasant neighbours but I was not expecting anything like this - I’m totally shocked!”

Stanleys Community Centre in Morecambe’s West End has been shortlisted for The Community Project of the Year Award.

The organisation – which serves more than 250 people per week – puts on activity sessions including sport, music and cooking.

Brenda Matthews.

Brenda Matthews.

Anji Stokes, from University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I nominated Stanleys because they help support people, which makes people feel better and also helps reduce pressure on healthcare services.”

Centre manager Robyn Thomas said: “It’s a massive team of people who enable to the place to function and we’re all so proud to be shortlisted.”

Unique Kidz and Co, based in Morecambe, has been shortlisted for The Pride of Lancashire Award.

New for 2019, the award goes to an individual or group whose efforts locally, nationally or internationally have embodied the Lancastrian spirit and whose achievements have consistently made the judges proud to be from Lancashire.

Unique Kidz and Co was founded in 2009 by two mums who couldn’t find the right services to support their disabled children.

Co-founder Jane Halpin said: “I’m very humbled to be shortlisted. I was big surprise and we feel very, very lucky.”

Ken and Marie West, who live in Bolton-le-Sands, have also been shortlisted for The Pride of Lancashire Award.

The couple – who have been foster carers for more than 40 years – have looked after almost 500 children.

Marie said: “The best thing about it seeing the progression when a child comes to leave you.”

Ken said: “We love children. Marie works so hard, she’s the driving force behind what we do.”

The winner in each category will be announced at an awards ceremony at the King George’s Hall in Blackburn on September 14.