On Tuesday 17 October, the borough’s unsung heroes were recognised at the annual Solihull Civic Honours awards ceremony.
Throughout the year, residents have been nominating Solihull residents who have made the borough a better place. The judging panel of councillors, officers and representatives from community groups were then left with the tough task of choosing this year’s winners.
The lucky winners were invited to receive their awards from the Mayor of Solihull, Councillor Stuart Davis, and to meet representatives from local business and organisations.
The Mayor said: ‘I am very lucky that I get to meet all these inspiring Solihull residents, the evening was truly one of the highlights of my mayoral year. I was delighted to be able to thank the winners for their dedication, hard work and enthusiasm into making Solihull a brilliant place to live. I am proud to be representing a place that is home to so many outstanding people who willingly contribute to make Solihull a strong and caring community.’
This year’s winners are:
THE MAYOR'S AWARD (Sponsored by Touchwood): Jason Turner
Jason is a former drug-addict and with the support of drug services, he has completely turned his life around. He has achieved a BA Honours first class degree and a Masters Degree in film-making and set up iSore Media. The company has helped over 100 people gain qualifications, and supported 40 people into work or further training.
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT(Sponsored by Birmingham Airport and XOServe respectively): Janet Talbot and Janet Taylor
Both Janets have been involved with the Solihull Stroke Club, a group that offers a break to carers, for over 40 years. The group is a warm and welcoming place thanks to the exceptional commitment they bring to it, making it a safe and supportive place for carers.
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT (Sponsored by St Johns Hotel): Sharon Gray
Sharon began her career at JLR 21 years ago and has since got involved with a number of charity and community engagement projects. She built up the JLR Charity Committee, which has supported 44 local community projects, volunteered 7,300 hours and donated £200,000 to 150 local charities.
CREATIVE ARTS (Sponsored by Genting Arena): Stella Aston
Stella is a founding member of Castle Bromwich Singers which has been around since 1967. Having first joined as a singer, she has been the Musical Director of the group for many years and has been at the helm, inspiring and working to promote the continuity of the group’s values.
INSPIRATIONAL YOUNG PERSON (Sponsored by Kate & Co): Imogen Rowe
As a baby, Imogen’s parents were told she may never be able to walk or talk, however, at 19, she has defied all the odds. At 13, Imogen decided to take up running and in April 2017, she entered the London Marathon raising £4730 for the sight loss charity Fight for Sight UK.
INSPIRATIONAL YOUNG PERSON(Sponsored by Specsavers): Ethan Griffin
Ethan became a young carer aged 9 for his younger brother with autism. In addition to his extensive caring role, he utilises his spare time as a Peer Mentor for Solihull Young Carers (SYP) through a Children in Need project. Ethan enhances the lives of young people, utilising his own challenging experiences to become an inspirational role model.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE (Sponsored by The NEC Group): The SOSage Team
The SOSage Team have voluntarily provided a Youth Musical Theatre Group for Solihull since 1994. Over 280 young people have been members of SOSage, allowing them to develop their confidence, team work and reliability through creative performance.
SPORT (Sponsored by BoB Club): Dave Sykes
Dave has been involved with Knowle Juniors Football Club for almost 30 years, encouraging players of all abilities to play football and inviting children to try out the game. He has devoted his time and effort for generations to this community facility and to youth football.
SPORT (Sponsored by DM & Co): Andy Warmington
Andy has played a key role in developing the interest of squash to the borough. He developed Chelmsley Squash Academy in 2010 and has since supported 4000 youngsters to engage with the sport. He has even coached young people from Solihull to reach the top ten players in the country.
Congratulations also to Margaret Argyle and Valerie Martin who won a Community Involvement Award for their dedication to the Meriden Magazine, however, were unable to attend the ceremony. They have recently been presented with their award by the Mayor.