News story

Points of Light: November 2014 winners

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

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 November 2014 (the numbering continues from October’s winners):

146. Michael Anderson (Falkirk)

Michael is a 73 year old deaf and blind man who has volunteered for over 20 years to support Deafblind Scotland. He raised over £10,000 by being the first fully blind and severely deaf person to climb Ben Nevis on his 70th birthday. Michael also acts as a representative to the Scottish government: he successfully persuaded them to fund Guide Communicators to help deafblind people live an independent life.

147. Jessica Cook (Stowmarket)

Jessica, 24, was born with Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2), an incurable condition that causes tumours to grow throughout the nervous system. She set up the social enterprise Can You Hear Us? to provide an online community forum, monthly support groups and social gatherings to bring people with NF2 together.

148. Aneeta Prem (London)

Aneeta, a magistrate who specialises in family and youth law, has campaigned tirelessly to end forced marriage. She set up Freedom Charity in 2010 and has reached more than 20,000 young people through this, working with schools and local authorities to educate people from all backgrounds about forced marriage.

149. George Rogers (Matlock)

George is a canal restoration volunteer and ‘canal camp’ leader for Waterway Recovery Group (WRG) who has worked on more than 500 miles of UK waterway restoration schemes. He was inspired to join WRG after taking part in a summer canal camp 5 years ago and now leads camps to help others gain skills and maintain our waterways.

150. Joan Clayton-Jones (Sussex)

The Tower of London recommended Joan as their most prolific volunteer in the creation of their iconic poppy installation. She has said that volunteering on the project has been her way of paying a personal tribute to her great uncle: he was killed on 19 September 1918 at Ephy just weeks before the end of the conflict, having survived the Gallipoli campaign.

151. Tony Wilson (Oxford)

Professor Wilson, from Oxford University, has donated hundreds of scientific kits and microscopes to primary schools to help get children excited about science and discovery. His programme now works with 150 primary schools around the UK each year and has reached more than 20,000 4 to 12 year old children so far.

152. Olive Cooke (Bristol)

Olive, 92, is thought to be the UK’s longest-serving poppy seller. She has sold more than 30,000 poppies during 76 years of service for the Royal British Legion. Olive was inspired to volunteer after her father returned from the First World War and even more so when she lost her husband in the Second World War after just 2 years of marriage.

153. Faye Shields (London)

After 10 years of volunteering with Sock Mob, a network helping the homeless, Faye set up Unseen Tours with fellow volunteer Lidija Mavra in 2010. This social enterprise gives homeless, ex-homeless and vulnerably-housed Londoners the opportunity to get into paid work by leading unique walking tours around the city.

154. Jennifer Drewer (Essex)

Jennifer is Chair of Southend Junior Phab Club and has volunteered here since she was 14. This club brings children with and without disabilities together on equal terms to learn new skills and have fun. Jennifer also set up the Phab Shop to give adults with learning disabilities work experience and help raise money for the club.

155. Shay Miah (Hartlepool)

Shay, an 18 year old student, volunteers as a Member of the Youth Parliament for his local area. This year, he dramatically increased the number of young people voting in Hartlepool - with an incredible 79% of 11 to 18-year-olds voting in the Make Your Mark ballot. This is proportionally a higher turnout than adults voting in Hartlepool at the last general election.

156. Douglas Silas (London)

Douglas has battled a rare nerve condition to raise £125,000 for the charity Norwood. Despite being confined to a wheelchair, Douglas has cycled thousands of miles using a specially adapted bike. As a result Norwood has been able to create a music garden for children with autism and provide equipment for a respite centre for children with disabilities in Hendon.

157. Jack Gregory (Maidstone)

15-year-old Jack was inspired to set up an anti-bullying programme in his school after enduring bullying himself. With the support of his head teacher, Jack organised assemblies about bullying and internet safety for younger students at local schools. He also set up a ‘sanctuary’ in his own school, which is open at lunch and break times.

158. Ruth Dass (Leeds)

Ruth, an academic historian and archaeologist with the University of Leeds, is the founder and chair of Connecting Enterprising Girls. This project gives teenage girls from schools and colleges in Leeds access to work placements and mentoring opportunities with senior women in business, to inspire them. She has also arranged for a number of MPs to give motivational talks to the girls.

159. Tori James (Cardiff)

Tori, the first Welsh woman to climb Everest, has completed endurance challenges to raise more than £50,000 for charities. These charities include Breakthrough Breast Cancer, The Prince’s Trust and BLESMA, the Limbless Veterans charity. Her challenges included Beeline Britain, kayaking, cycling and hiking from Land’s End to John O’Groats, and the Polar Challenge, a 360 mile race across the frozen Arctic Ocean.

160. Anthony Brooke (Bradford)

Anthony was born with cerebral palsy. As a rugby fanatic he had always wanted to play the sport, but when he approached clubs he was offered the position of water boy or encouraged to play tag rugby with other players with disabilities. With the support of the RFU (Rugby Football Union) and the Bradford and Bingley Rugby Club, Anthony set up Bumble Bee Barbarians RUFC, Britain’s first mixed ability team in 2009.

161. Mike Barratt (Norfolk)

Mike, a 90-year-old World War II veteran, has dedicated the last 49 years of his life to conservation and protecting wildlife. Volunteering with his local bird reserve, RSPB Titchwell Marsh, he takes people on guided walks, clears salt marshes, looks after reed beds and gives information to visitors. He also contributes to research on changes in bird populations.

162. Harry Heber (London)

Harry Heber is an 83-year-old retired optician who escaped the Holocaust, arriving in the UK on the Kindertransport in 1938. Determined to give back to the organisation that saved his life, Harry has volunteered for World Jewish Relief for the last 17 years. When Harry realised that thousands of people in communities in Eastern Europe could not afford spectacles, he created and now runs the World Jewish Relief Optical Programme. The Programme has sent over 50,000 pairs of prescription spectacles to people who desperately need them in over 15 countries.

163. Ben Goodwin (Manchester)

Ben is a bank manager who uses his professional skills to help thousands of people look after their finances and stay out of debt. He played a leading role in Cash Box Credit Union, a community savings and loan cooperative, after witnessing the financial problems people can face.

164. Leila Thomas (London)

After 26 teenagers were murdered in gang-related incidents in 2007, Leila was inspired to set up Urban Synergy. This charity mentors young people aged 11 to 18 to help them avoid gangs and reach their full potential. Under her leadership, the team runs a wide range of programmes, including mentoring, academic seminars, work experience and life skills training.

165. Derek McEwan (Glasgow)

After seeing his mother develop and die from Crohn’s disease, Derek set up the Catherine McEwan Fund in 2003. This has helped thousands of families cope with inflammatory bowel disease by funding family days for sick children, teenage focus days, research projects and specialist nurses. Derek has also raised over £500,000 through fundraising, and has organised an annual Santa bungee jump every year since 2012. This year’s bungee jump will see 60 Santas take the plunge on 29 November.

The next Points of Light award winners can be found on the December 2014 page. All of the winners can be found via the Points of Light collection page, which brings together all the monthly lists of winners.