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Inspiring stories of courage, kindness and citizenship were shared with guests at the seventh annual Gazette and Uxbridge College Local Heroes Awards.

Friends and family of the short-listed finalists packed into the theatre at Uxbridge College's Hayes Community Campus, in College Way, Hayes, for the gala evening on Thursday 5 March.

Embodying everything the awards were designed to recognise was Nimira Patel who scooped a double by being named both the winner of the Community Hero category, as well as gaining the title Hero of Hillingdon.

Despite having to live with the effects of Multiple Sclerosis (MS), the newly crowned manager of Little Angels playgroup, at Harlington Baptist Church, Harlington, has always put others before herself.

This year there were five categories of award, with a final Hero of Hillingdon title given to the winner the judging panel of the Mayor of Hillingdon Councillor Brian Crowe, Editor-in-Chief of the Gazette, Adrian Seal, and Uxbridge College Principal, Laraine Smith, felt was most deserving of the overall accolade.

Once again the standard of nominations was extremely high and the judges had their work cut out selecting who should be the winners, runners-up and highly commended people.

Following the speeches and music from the Vyners Swing Band, led by Perry Parsons MBE, the results were finally revealed to the expectant crowd.

Among the other category winners were feisty Joan Thirkettle, who at 89 years of age, earnt her Citizen of Courage title by beating an intruder at her Harefield home with her walking stick.

John Jones (69) of Uxbridge, overcame prostate cancer to cycle across the Alps and raise £7,000 for the Royal Marsden Hospital and for this reason was top choice for the Fundraising Hero.

The title of Carer Hero was handed to Pierre Franck, who despite being 80 years old is devoted to looking after his wife June as well as his extended family.

Georgina Devine (12) became the Young Hero for giving up her spare time to be a companion to an elderly lady in Harefield and for her other good work in the village.

The winners received cheques for £250 each, while the runners-up got £50. There was also an additional £750 for the Hero of Hillingdon.

Full list of winners, runners-up and highly commended:

Fundraising Hero:

John Jones - overcame prostate cancer to cycle 100 miles across the Alps at heights of 8,000ft to raise £7,000 for the Royal Marsden Hospital.

Rebecca Pennells - an art teacher at Uxbridge High School who raises money for the Amasango Career School in South Africa.

Anne Robinson - who battled breast cancer to support charities including Maggie's Cancer Centre. She also runs U Can Ask Angels, a support group for children with communication difficulties.

Michael Wakeman - for helping Hillingdon Law Centre to stay open after its funding ran out.

Community Hero:

Nimira Patel - who runs Little Angels playgroup at the local Baptist Church in Harlington despite suffering from Multiple Sclerosis.

Becky Haggar - who led the project to refurbish Hill Lane Park in Ruislip, as well as running Sunday School classes and organising presents for the elderly at Christmas.

Rabbi Aaron Goldstein - who does so much in his role at Northwood and Pinner Liberal Synagogue, including visiting the sick, supporting carers and parents and campaigning for new blood donors.

Citizen of Courage:

Feisty Joan Thirkettle, who at 89 years of age, beat an intruder at her Harefield home with her walking stick.

Dean Steadman - acted swiftly to save his disabled neighbour from a fire at a block of flats near his home.

Ben Ambrose - kicked the door of his neighbour's flat down when the building caught fire, as well as evacuating other residents from the danger area.

Chris Egan - who also evacuated neighbours from a flat fire while on his lunch break.

Barry Hayes - who delivered his sister-in-law's baby in the bath and stepped in to help when a man collapsed in the supermarket.

Carer Hero:

Pierre Franck - who despite being 80 years old is devoted to looking after his wife June as well as his extended family.

Roy Warner - who cared for his son who had Down's Syndrome and has been on the committee of Mencap Hillingdon South for 35 years.

Brenda Whitby - who never stops helping people in Harefield.

Young Hero:

Georgina Devine (12) - who gives up her spare time to be a companion to an elderly lady in Harefield, as well as singing with the church choir and being a Girl Guide.

George Bowe (6) - who raised the alarm when his grandfather was in danger of drowning.

Jordan Price (15) - who resolved to help new pupils settle into his school and set up a football club.

Jack Cox (16) - who tried to defend a man in a road-rage incident.

Colin Daley (13) - who called 999 after seeing a pensioner run over.

Jaikishan Mahatma (13) - who plays Indian drums for charity.


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