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Points of Light: March 2015 winners

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

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


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

234. Reverend Jan Gould (Cardiff)

Jan, a vicar from Cardiff, has set up a thriving community music group for children. The group, Making Music Changing Lives, gives local children from primary schools the chance to learn a musical instrument. Jan has brought together many volunteers, including students and teachers from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and professional musicians, to teach over 70 children in her church hall each week.

235. Trish Davidson (Bath)

Trish founded the charity Unchosen to raise public awareness of human trafficking through films and campaigns. Trish believes passionately that film can bring the human stories behind trafficking and exploitation to wide audiences. Under her leadership, Unchosen works closely with local authorities, non-governmental organisations and community volunteers.

236. Ras Fernando (Chiswick)

Ras has helped to transform the London music scene by volunteering with Sofar Sounds. This organisation puts on live gigs in unique places, giving local artists somewhere to hone their performance skills. A number of award-winning bands, including Bastille, Hozier and Stornoway, all began their careers with Sofar Sounds.

237. Sebastian Handley (Lewisham)

Sebastian has created London’s smallest library inside a disused phone box. Sebastian bought the iconic red K2 British phone box for £1 as part of a BT scheme. He spent £500 of his own money on extra lights in the ceiling, laid carpet and opened it up to the public. The library has 7 shelves and houses over 200 books from fiction and reference, with a whole shelf dedicated to children’s books. It is looked after by 2 librarians.

238. Danielle McGriskin (Lisburn)

In July 2011, 18-year-old Danielle was diagnosed with a brain tumour which also caused hydrocephalus (water on the brain). Since then she has been a committed fundraiser for The Brain Tumour Charity, raising over £100,000. Danielle is receiving her award on Bandanas for Brain Tumours Day when thousands of people across the country wear a bandana to show their support during Brain Tumour Awareness Month.

239 and 240: Lucy Field and Rachael Ross (Portsmouth)

Lucy and Rachael are the founders of the Portsmouth Down Syndrome Association, also known as Footprints. Lucy and Rachel are both mothers to children with Down’s Syndrome and set up Footprints to provide friendship, advice and specialist services for families. The charity offers training to schools and teachers and provides tailored education to support children with Down’s Syndrome. Over 800 professionals have attended training sessions and the association has helped more than 150 families so far.

241. Bill Marlow (Newtown)

Retired teacher Bill has spent 24 years inspiring thousands of young people from more than 40 schools in Powys to get involved in orienteering through the Mid Wales Orienteering Club.

242. Clive Weaver (Lancashire)

Clive is a retired teacher who runs ‘Older & Out’, a unique Age Concern Central Lancashire project for older lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. As well as offering one-on-one support, the project plays a crucial role in raising awareness of LGBT needs among care providers across the region.

243. Jen Wilson (Swansea)

Retired nurse Jen founded an archive project to chronicle the history of women in jazz. Jen started Jazz Heritage Wales in 1986 and the archive is now housed by the University of Wales Trinity St. David.

244. Ron Gibbs (Crawley)

Eighty-three-year-old Ron is a roller skating volunteer who has spent nearly 50 years coaching skaters to international standards. After 20 years as a roller dancer, Ron began coaching and judging in 1967, travelling the country in his free time to develop the sport and support its young talent. Ron has acted as President of the Federation of Artistic Roller Skating and of the European governing body of Artistic Roller Skating. He also pioneered a special fund to provide financial support to British roller dancers competing abroad.

245. Alan Richards (Gateshead)

Alan, a 77-year-old retired taxi driver, helped to develop HenPower – a project that gives care home residents the opportunity to care for and hatch chickens. The project reduces loneliness and depression, and staff in dementia care settings have reported a reduction in the use of anti-psychotic medication. Alan is actively involved in regular ‘hen roadshows’, where residents take their chickens to other care homes and primary schools and are visited in turn by pupils.

246. Harriette Pearson (London)

Harriette, a fourth-year medical student at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, has created Project Play. This sees 47 student doctors regularly visit The Royal London Hospital paediatric wards to socialise with patients – playing games and helping them to relax and chat. Project Play is popular with young patients who receive visitors and has also helped student doctors develop their patient communication skills.

247. Gordon Aikman (Edinburgh)

Gordon, 29, was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) in May 2014. Faced with a disease that kills half its sufferers within 14 months, Gordon was determined to use his remaining time to improve conditions for people with MND across Scotland. As a result of Gordon’s Fightback campaign, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon agreed in January to pay MND nurses from the public purse and double the number of MND specialist nurses. Gordon has also raised over £220,000 for MND research and has become a trustee for MND Scotland.

248. Allan Trinder (Glastonbury)

Allan, 64, is a founder of Glastonbury FM, community radio station for local people to make broadcasts for local people. As well as helping to manage the station, he presents a weekly ‘Community Hour’ programme. He has also set up a thriving volunteer programme which offers a wide range of opportunities for local people, some of whom have gone on to work in professional radio. Allan has secured funding worth tens of thousands of pounds to help keep the project on air and to fund a new home for the station with up to date equipment.

249 and 250: Andy and Zoe Clark-Coates

Andy and Zoe founded Saying Goodbye, a charity that supports people who have lost a child during pregnancy, at birth or during infancy. The couple lost 5 babies to miscarriages and wanted to provide practical help for others going through bereavement. They set up the charity in 2012, and it now supports tens of thousands of people. They have organised more than 46 remembrance services throughout the UK and US to commemorate and celebrate the lives of those lost.

251. John Shannon (Harrogate)

John, 98, has spent 80 years volunteering in his community. He first started volunteering at school and then moved to Winchester College where he set up a volunteer prison visiting service. In 1925 he volunteered with the League of Nations Union in 1925, an organisation that promoted international peace and justice between nations. During the Second World War John volunteered in the Royal Navy Reserves, before spending the next 50 years volunteering with a range of charities including the Red Cross and the FA. More recently, John has dedicated his time to the Harrogate Easier Living Project,, a charity that supported him after he lost his wife, and has volunteered as a befriender with Age UK.

252. Johnny Hayes (York)

Johnny, a retailer, has led efforts to transform York’s Bishopsthorpe Road from an ordinary street into a vibrant hub at the heart of local events, community action and fundraising. Under Johnny’s leadership the Bishopthorpe Road Traders Association have organised ‘Bishy Road’ summer and Christmas street parties as well as special events for the Olympics and Tour de France. Johnny has created a ‘Bishy in Bloom’ annual festival and is leading a campaign to get the local pub listed as a community asset.

253. Nicola Graham (Glossop)

Nicola turned a personal tragedy into a pioneering million pound charity project to help the families of seriously ill children. After her son died from a brain tumour, she raised £1.2 million for Reuben’s Retreat and is converting a building into a tranquil countryside retreat to provide respite breaks for families. The charity has already supported more than 100 families so far.

Published 2 March 2015
Last updated 25 March 2015 + show all updates
  1. Added recipient 253: Nicola Graham.

  2. Added recipient 252: Johnny Hayes.

  3. Added recipient 251: John Shannon.

  4. Added recipients 249 and 250: Andy and Zoe Clark-Coates.

  5. Added recipient 248: Allan Trinder.

  6. Added recipient 247: Gordon Aikman.

  7. Added recipient 246: Harriette Pearson.

  8. Added recipient 245: Alan Richards.

  9. Added recipient 244: Ron Gibbs

  10. Added recipient 243: Jen Wilson.

  11. Added recipient 242: Clive Weaver.

  12. Added recipient 241: Bill Marlow.

  13. Added recipients 239 and 240: Lucy Field and Rachael Ross.

  14. Added recipient 238: Danielle McGriskin.

  15. Added recipient 237: Sebastian Handley.

  16. Added recipient 236: Ras Fernando.

  17. Added recipient 235: Trish Davidson.

  18. First published.