Awards sing praises of the borough’s unsung heroes

By Ian Dipple Friday 20 December 2013 Updated: 23/12 10:04

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Buy photos » Rebecca Blake presents Rafe Walker with his Pride of Redditch award. Picture by Ian Dipple (s)

A LOLLIPOP woman hit by a car, a teenage fund-raiser and a man providing sporting opportunities for young people were among those honoured at the first ever Pride of Redditch Awards.

In total three groups and 24 individuals were honoured for their efforts making Redditch a better place to live and work at the awards evening at South Redditch Social Club last Friday (December 13).

Organised by Rebecca Blake, Labour's Parliamentary spokeswoman for Redditch, and sponsored by The Redditch Standard, the awards aimed to find and reward the borough's unsung heroes.

More than 180 people turned out to see who had won the coveted Pride of Redditch medal out of the 67 individuals nominated for their commitment to the community and whittled down by a panel of independent judges.

Among the winners on the night was Ruby Urka, who despite being in her 80s still goes out in all weathers to help children cross the road and was even hit by a car on one occasion for her efforts.

Others included Ida Parkinson, the founder of Macmillan Nursing in Redditch and Bromsgrove, Liz Williams for her work with deprived communities in Redditch over the last two decades and Pauline Murrell, who started and runs the Widows and Friends Support Group.

There was also a standing ovation for Robert and Maggie Underwood who collected their award for their work installing defibrillators across Redditch in memory of their son Craig, who had lost his life to a cardiac arrest just three days earlier.

Rafe Walker, who since being diagnosed with a brain tumour aged eight has raised more than £50,000 for research at Birmingham Children's Hospital, also won but was unable to collect his award on the night. Instead Ms Blake surprised him by visiting his school to present him with his medal and certificate in front of his fellow pupils at St Augustine's.

Ms Blake said the awards had been 'incredibly inspiring'.

"If ever we wondered where to find the heart of our town, the Pride of Redditch Awards certainly revealed it," she said.

"While of course there is a lot more still to do, as a town we can be very proud of the strength of our communities and the fantastic work going on in them.

"Last week's celebration was only the tip of the iceberg and Pride of Redditch is just one way I can showcase the best of what Redditch has to offer. It must continue."

Visit for more information on all the winners.

The full list of winners:

Group Awards:

Redditch Mental Health Support Group for its work supporting people with mental health issues

Redditch Friends Together for its work making Redditch a dementia friendly town

Friday Fun Club for its work with young people with learning difficulties


Jordan Cooke for his volunteering work at Your Ideas Youth and Community Project

Rafe Walker for his fund-raising for Birmingham Children's Hospital

Neal Stote for leading the Save the Alex Campaign in 2005 and since June 2012.

Steph Edkins for her work as manager of Woodrow Library

Dave Tew for his work with Redditch Community First Responders

Ida Parkinson for founding Macmillan Nursing in Redditch and Bromsgrove

Pauline Murrell for creating the Widows and Friends Support Group

Diane Mowatt for her work with the Guiding movement and at Astwood Bank First School

Tanweer Dean for her work at the Sandycroft Centre and with ethnic communities

Robin Baker for his work at Oasis Christian Centre and founding Redditch Food Bank

Cathy Moss for her work with Indigo Arts

Lesley Spencer for her work with the beaver colony in Headless Cross, Redditch Deaf Club and Nightstop

Elsie Hayden for her work with the League of Friends at the Alexandra Hospital and The Dorothy Terry Nursing Home.

Harriet Ernstsons for founding Redditch Mental Health Action Group

Mary Birkett for her work with Redditch Blind Association

Darren Veness for his work with YMCA/Redditch United

Mick Fitzgerald for his work supporting young people through Your Ideas Youth and Community Project

Liz Williams for her work supporting deprived communities across Redditch

Sophie Williams for her work on youth homelessness issues through St Basils

Brenda Killigrew for her work founding Inkberrow Design Centre and The Old Needleworks

Ruby Urka for helping children safely cross the road for over 20 years.

Phil Williams for his community work in Matchborough

Diane Driscoll for raising £15,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support

Robert and Maggie Underwood for founding Redditch Heart Safe

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Buy photos» Mayor Wanda King congratulates Jordan Cooke on his award. (s)

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Buy photos» Ruby Urka was hit by a car on one occasion while helping children across the road. (s)

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Buy photos» Lesley Spencer with Mayor Wanda King. All pictures by Luke Berry unless otherwise stated. (s)

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Buy photos» Darren Veness was rewarded for his work with the YMCA and Redditch United. (s)

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Buy photos» Up and coming Redditch band Music Like Lemons performed at the awards ceremony. (s)

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