Awards ceremony recognised the ‘lifeblood’ within the community

West Lindsey Community Awards - 23rd April 2018. All the winners from the night.
West Lindsey Community Awards - 23rd April 2018. All the winners from the night.

It was a night of celebration as West Lindsey District Council recognised residents for their outstanding contribution to the community.

Town and parish councillors, volunteers and community groups were invited to the 2018 Community Awards.

Categories included District Champion of the Year, Citizen of the Year and Community Group of the Year.

Chairman of the council, Coun Angela Lawrence, said: “These awards have been devised to find a way to honour the outstanding members of our district’s communities.

“Councillors have shaped and created this awards ceremony to give recognition to the numerous people who give up much of their free time to make West Lindsey a better place. They are the lifeblood of our communities.”

The District Champion of the Year Award was presented to Lizzie Jordan, 36, from Gainsborough.

Presenting the award, Coun David Cotton said: “For more than ten years Lizzie has gone into schools and shared her story of living with HIV with children and young people to educate them about healthy relationships and keeping themselves well and safe.

“She has also been an ambassador for national HIV campaigns for the Terrence Higgins Trust, NAM and Saving Lives and is one of three patient voices on the NHS England HIV clinical reference group.

“She volunteers her time as a peer mentor to other people living in the county and further afield who are also living with HIV, and writes on an award-winning blog about living with HIV.

“She also featured in the BBC One documentary The Truth About HIV which showed her delivering a HIV workshop to William Farr School, and has met with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at an event on World AIDS Day to talk to them about the HIV sessions she does in schools.”

Lizzie said: “I felt really honoured and very shocked. This is a huge privilege. I am really proud of where I come from and to talk about my situation is a major honour to help people understand what happens when people live with HIV as not many people talk about it.

“It’s also important to break down perceptions that it is not about people who take drugs. People want to hear what it is like for someone living with HIV and speak to young people is important.

“They could hear from a nurse practitioner or a teacher, but it’s more personal to hear from someone who has HIV and they are more inclined to ask questions.”

Paul Bagshaw, 43, from Gainsborough, was presented with the Citizen of the Year Award.

Coun Cotton said: “Paul Bagshaw has worked tirelessly over the last few years, raising money to help buy new bikes and accessories for disadvantaged children within West Lindsey. This year alone he has raised enough money to purchase over 90 bikes.

“He has also competed in triathlons and a marathon to raise money for Alzheimer’s and Cancer research and helped others in raising money for the same charities, for instance raising over £1,200 at a raffle.

“Paul is a genuine and caring person and will go above and beyond to help anyone in need. He is already planning what to do for this year’s toy appeal with the Salvation Army.”

Paul said: “I was really surprised to win the award. It is really nice to give something back to the community and hopefully inspire another generation of people like me to do the same in years to come.”

The West Lindsey Dementia Support Group scooped the Community Group of the Year Award, which was collected by Alan Robinson.

Mavis Wharton and Jean Male founded the group 18 years ago. They work together as a team for the benefit of people in the area who are affected by dementia.

The group meets every month in both Gainsborough and Market Rasen. They chat to the group and occasionally organise coach trips to garden centres or stately homes, or invite people to entertain the group, whether they are singers, musicians or someone with a particular skill or expertise. This bonds the group and helps them talk.

Other award winners were Alissa Stevens, Norman Palmer, Caistor Town Council, David and Louis King and Councillor Mike Spencer from Brattleby Parish Council.