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Points of Light: August 2015 winners

The Points of Light award recognises outstanding individuals - people who are making a change in their community and inspiring others.

The following people were given a Points of Light award in August 2015 (the numbering continues from July’s winners):

305. David Nicholls (Kent)

David set up the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation in 2003, when his son was paralysed in an accident – David promised he would find a cure for paralysis. With the help of celebrity chefs including Heston Blumenthal, David raised over £2.5 million. In October 2014 the Foundation helped to fund the first operation in the world to successfully reverse paralysis using stem cells.

306. Katie Sparkes (Bristol)

In 2013 Katie set up Flamingo Chicks, an inclusive dance school for children with disabilities. She wanted to give all children the chance to build the confidence, concentration and social skills that dance offers, regardless of their skills. With the team of volunteers she inspired, Katie has given hundreds of children with conditions including Down’s Syndrome and cerebral palsy the chance to dance alongside their friends.

307 & 308: Sally and Andy Hall (Abingdon)

Sally and Andy have continued the fundraising work started by their son Skye, 5, during his treatment for the side effects of treatment for a brain tumour in 2014. Whilst undergoing hours of treatment, Skye started to make a loom band long enough to reach to the moon. He inspired hundreds of other people around the country to make sections and give a donation. Sadly Skye passed away but Sally and Andy completed his challenge, set a world record and raised more than £120,000 for research into child brain tumours. Read more from Blue Skye Thinking.

309. Chris Wolley (Kent)

For over 40 years Chris has volunteered at the Rona Sailing Project which enables young disadvantaged people to sail for the first time. Chris introduced special trips for people with physical and mental disabilities, helping them to build teamwork and other skills. He is now the chief instructor and has led over 100 trips helping 1,000 young people.

310. Maureen Thomas (Seaforth)

Maureen lost her son in 1993 and decided to organise group holidays and days out for families with children who, like her son, need additional support. This developed into the charity Kids Konnect. Since 1994 she has helped over 3,000 children and their families enjoy trips together no matter how complex their needs.

311. Don Cameron (Bristol)

Don created Bristol Balloon Fiesta in 1978 as an event for the local community. It has grown into the biggest balloon event in Europe, entertaining half a million people over the weekend with balloon displays and fireworks. The Fiesta partners with a charity each year, giving them the chance to raise money and awareness during the weekend.

312. Lesley Anderson (Penicuik, Edinburgh)

Lesley lost her son Chris when he was stillborn at 29 weeks and set up ComforTED as a way to help other parents of stillborn babies through their bereavement. ComforTED provides a pair of handmade teddies – one to be buried with the baby and one for parents to keep. Lesley has now sent over 900 pairs of teddies around the world.

313. Dalton Brown (Bilston, Wolverhampton)

After Dalton suffered a stroke, he wanted to regain his independence. He asked his local Access 2 Business branch to help him learn how to use voice-recognition software. Dalton was so impressed by the difference it made to his life that he now volunteers for 3 days a week. He helps other disabled people regain their independence and increase their chance of employment.

314. Joy De Souza (Brighton)

Joy took over The House Project when it was a failing charity with just 7 volunteers, and turned it around. It’s now a thriving charity supporting local community projects, with more than 80 volunteers and 2 charity shops. Joy has also used her skills to mentor 2 other failing charities.

315 & 316: Marian Stringer and Neville Mizen (Hertfordshire)

Marian and Neville have raised over £450,000 for charity with Rainbow Puzzles. Every 6 months they set a new cryptic puzzle and most people donate £10 to enter. The puzzles are only available to enter by post and have grown a cult following through word of mouth, with over 1,100 people across the UK, Europe and even Australia now taking part. A wide variety of charities have benefited from their initiative – the latest quiz raised money for Heart Research UK.

317. John Smith (Croxteth)

John took up wheelchair football through Liverpool FC’s Respect 4 All programme. He benefitted so much from the scheme that he decided to train as a coach. Despite having physical disabilities and a severe speech impediment, John has achieved the Football Association Level 1 Coaching Award. He now coaches a group of 15 severely disabled people on a weekly basis.

318 & 319: Emma Sutherland and Jamie McIntosh (Edinburgh)

Teenagers Emma and Jamie have both written books telling the stories of their mothers’ cancer diagnoses. When Emma’s mother, Rosie, was diagnosed with breast cancer, Emma didn’t know where to look for answers. She wrote Eek! My Mummy Has Breast Cancer to help other teens in the same situation. Jamie met Emma after his mother, Monica, lost her 17-year battle with cancer. Emma inspired him to write My Mum Monica, a book about her life and the emotional rollercoaster of bereavement.

So far, Emma’s book has sold 1,800 copies and is available in Maggie’s Centres across the UK, as well as schools and libraries. Jamie’s book has sold 500 copies, raising £2,000 for the charity Fight Against Cancer Edinburgh.

320. Mike McGrother (Stockon-on-Tees)

Mike founded Matty’s Bistro with the help of local chef Matty Brown. Through the restaurant he organises 12-week training programmes for young people not in education, employment or training (NEETs). The course finishes with a pop-up event where local catering businesses are invited to see the young people show off their skills. As a result, 60% of trainees graduate from the course into apprenticeships or further employment.

321. Roger Henry (Nottingham)

In 2008, Roger set up the Real United Community Football Club, an organisation that uses football to steer young people away from gang culture, drugs and crime. Through the club he aims to increase their self-confidence and help them progress into education, work and training. Roger also helps to organize ‘Taken Too Soon’ – an annual charity event in Nottingham that remembers young people who lost their lives as a result of violence.

322. Maurice Vaughan (Etwall, Derbyshire)

Maurice has been involved with Etwall Cricket Club for the last 80 years. He began playing at the club as a 10-year-old in 1935 and still volunteers there today. During the 1970s he worked tirelessly to raise funds for the club’s pavilion and helped build it himself. At the age of 90, Maurice still mows the outfield and helps to maintain the grounds.

323. Edwin Tipper (Orgreave, Staffordshire)

Edwin began running the Lupin Farm Classic Car Show at his farm in 1985, with only a couple of cars and a small gathering of friends and family. By 2014 there were more than 800 classic vehicles at the annual event, including cars, tractors, motorbikes and even a steam driven engine. The event raised over £11,000 for charity, with proceeds going to St Giles Hospice and the Midlands Air Ambulance.

324. Clive Joyce (Kenilworth, Warwickshire)

Clive, a retired fireman, has devoted 30 years to beekeeping after seeing a bee-handling display at the Royal Show in Stoneleigh. Clive is a volunteer with the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA). He now cares for 780,000 bees of his own and has inspired hundreds of people to learn about beekeeping.

325. Sarah White (Buckinghamshire)

Sarah was inspired to launch Supershoes after learning about Henry Allen, a brave 4 year old battling brain cancer. To reach out to children affected by cancer, Sarah and her husband Ken asked ‘super artists’ to volunteer to design and hand-paint personalised shoes for them. Now over 130 volunteers spend at least 10 hours creating each pair of personalised shoes for children across the country who have cancer.

326. Maria Macnamara (Livingston)

Maria Macnamara was inspired to make a long-lasting and sustainable difference in Africa after returning from a volunteer trip to Ethiopia. She founded the charity Smalls for All to provide underwear for vulnerable women and girls. Since then the charity has collected and distributed nearly 98,000 items of underwear and 75,000 bras. Smalls for All has since branched out to helping those in orphanages and camps for displaced people.

327. Harry Mascall (Wilmslow)

Eight-year-old Harry set himself a challenge to visit every UK lifeboat station to raise awareness and funds for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). So far Harry has visited 74 of the over 230 stations around the UK in his school holidays, raising over £1,000. His visits have taken him to the four corners of Britain including Anstruther in Scotland, St David’s in Wales and the Lizard in Cornwall. He has even visited the Channel Islands.

328. Geoff Maddever (Looe, Cornwall)

Geoff raises thousands of pounds each year for local, national and international charities by organising Cornwall’s River Looe annual duck race. Five thousand yellow plastic ducks are set free down the river, entertaining visitors and locals for good causes.

The next Points of Light award winners can be found on the September 2015 page. All of the winners can be found via the Points of Light collection page, which brings together all the monthly lists of winners.