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Points of Light: September 2015 winners

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

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

329. Rik Basra (Leicester)

Rik set up the Rik Basra Leukaemia Campaign with his wife after he was diagnosed with leukaemia and had difficulties finding a matching stem cell donor. The campaign, which supports the work of the Anthony Nolan charity, aims to prevent other families from having the same agonising wait to find a match. By holding registration drives throughout the year, the campaign has signed up more than 10,000 potential lifesaving donors.

330. Despo Pentara (London)

Despo realised that as a female web developer, she was in the minority, and set up codebar to help make the technology industry more diverse. The organisation runs workshops teaching programming skills to women, the LGBT community and ethnic minorities. She now has around 50 students each week, and has expanded the programme across the UK with the help of more volunteers.

331. Dave Thompson (Hull)

When Dave’s daughter Denise became deaf between the ages of 8 and 11, he saw how much hearing dogs helped her. As a result, he began running the Hull and District branch of Hearing Dogs for Deaf People in 1992. Since then, Dave has helped the charity create over 2,100 other life-changing partnerships between deaf people and hearing dogs, and has raised over £200,000 for them.

332. Valerie Wilson (Newcastle)

Valerie, a geography teacher, visited Kenya on a school exchange in 1999 and was inspired to help empower young people there, particularly girls. She left her job in 2008 to set up Team Kenya. The charity sponsors students through school as well as helping young people set up enterprise projects. So far Valerie has helped 125 girls complete primary school, 240 complete secondary school and 13 complete college and university studies.

333. Colin Stodel (Hertfordshire)

When Colin retired, he was keen to support causes he believed in. After getting involved in the London Olympics and helping at the Paralympics, he began volunteering with the Jewish Volunteering Network. Here he discovered a passion for helping others to find a volunteering role. Through weekly open-door sessions, Colin has volunteered hundreds of hours of his own time to generate thousands of hours of help for the Network.

334. Louise Russell (Glasgow)

Louise Russell stopped to chat with a neighbour one day and discovered how lonely some single people can be, especially in later life. She set up Give a Dog a Bone… and an animal a home, a unique charity that helps people over 60 to afford a rescue pet companion. In less than 2 years, the charity has helped give 70 animals a home, and give their owners companionship.

335. George Geraghty (Halstock, Somerset)

George set up Halstock’s Pot Luck Lunch club with his wife in 1988 to provide an affordable weekly meal in the local community hall for everyone, from toddlers to the elderly. Sadly his wife passed away in 1996, but George has continued to run the Halstock’s Pot Luck Lunch for 28 years. Around 40 volunteers work with George to provide a healthy meal every week during school term time, putting the lunch club at the heart of the community.

336 & 339: Dan Heighes and Brydon Gerus (London)

Advertising specialists Dan and Brydon set up the ADCAN awards in 2014 as a way of helping spread charity messages. This film competition invites aspiring filmmakers to choose a charity brief and create a 30-second film that champions its causes in an engaging way. The awards also help the filmmakers by giving them access to leading industry figures and organisations.

337 & 338: Anthony and John Hayes (Birmingham)

Anthony and John are the main organisers and race directors for the Pete Hayes Handsworth 10K Fun Run. The race was launched in memory of Anthony’s son (John’s brother), who tragically died after complications from a congenital heart condition in 2012. In 2013, the race’s first year, 129 runners raised over £8,000 for the British Heart Foundation. The second fun run is taking place on 13 September.

340. Ena Day (Swindon)

Ena, a 94-year-old World War 2 veteran, has volunteered for the Royal Air Forces Association for almost 70 years. Since leaving the RAF in 1946 she has devoted countless hours to providing pastoral and welfare care to serving and retired service personnel. Still an active fundraiser, Ena has raised thousands of pounds for the charity by organising raffles and jumble sales.

341. Rosie Cleave (Huddersfield)

Rosie, a retired teacher, started volunteering when she was just a child, helping her mother fundraise. Over the last 5 decades, she has spent thousands of hours raising money and volunteering with the NSPCC. As well as taking part in the charity’s ‘Hike Against Cruelty to Kids’ programme, Rosie climbed Mount Everest in 2001, raising more than £7,500. This year she also raised a further £9,000, trekking 26 miles through the Peruvian mountains.

342. Simon Cartmell (Teddington)

Simon wins the award for turning Teddington Rugby Club – formerly in decline, with a dilapidated clubhouse – into a thriving club for the whole community. He worked tirelessly to raise £430,000 to renovate the clubhouse, even taking 6 months off work. As Youth Chairman, he also oversaw the growth of the Mini rugby section from 60 to 500 players, developed a Junior rugby section and introduced girls rugby to the club.

343. Harvey McSloy (Suffolk)

When Harvey McSloy was just 19 he lost his mother to an aggressive cancer. Inspired by his mother’s tenacity and the care that St Elizabeth Hospice provided, Harvey set up the charity Trust Maria to raise money for local hospices. In the past 2 years the charity has raised around £47,000 to provide equipment and facilities for local hospices.

344. Rick Parker (Bolton)

Rick has been the chairman of Bolton Conservation Volunteers since 1988. A keen birdwatcher, he first became involved with the group when he noticed that bird numbers were diminishing. So far Rick has worked on more than 30 sites in the north-west, creating more than 300 new ponds and planting reedbeds to help local birds thrive.

345. Elizabeth Hutton (Surrey)

Elizabeth became involved with Count the Kicks after losing her second child, Toby, halfway through her pregnancy. She is now Chief Executive of the charity, which was set up in 2009 to help reduce stillbirths and neonatal deaths. Count the Kicks educates pregnant mums about monitoring their babies’ movements and helps them work with healthcare professionals to bring home a healthy baby.

346. Asma Mohamed Ali (London)

Asma has volunteered for more than 20 years with the Somali Bravanese Welfare Association (SBWA) in Barnet, North London. Working on initiatives to help women and young people, her education programme now supports 200 students and their families. Asma runs classes in English, maths and science and has seen many of her students become doctors and other professionals.

347 & 348: Frances Hunter & Julie Ritter (London)

Frances and Julie set up Floral Angels with co-founder Amanda Romaine after learning about wastage in the floral industry. Together with 40 volunteers, they make discarded flowers into bouquets and deliver them to people in need of a boost, like those in care centres and hospices. In 2 years the charity has delivered almost 7,000 bouquets to people at 35 sites across London.

349. Rhian Burke (Cardiff)

Tragedy struck when Rhian’s 1-year-old son was suddenly taken ill and died in 2011. Just 5 days later, Rhian also lost her husband Paul. Determined to help other grieving families, she set up 2 Wish Upon a Star to improve bereavement services in hospitals. So far she has raised over £700,000 to help hospitals offer bereavement suites, counselling and bereavement boxes to help parents remember their children.

350. Dr Johanna Harris (Exeter)

Johanna, an English lecturer at the University of Exeter, has seen first hand how literature can be a common link for people from different backgrounds. She set up the Care Homes Reading Project, where students volunteer to read to elderly people and vulnerable adults. This provides companionship for elderly people as well as building strong links between the generations.

351. Laura Collins (Carlisle)

Laura, a mental health nurse, experienced first hand the devastating effect of suicide when one of her patients took their own life. Determined to help prevent another tragedy, Laura came up with an idea to give all nursing students suicide prevention knowledge as part of their training. She pitched this to her university, the University of Cumbria, and it has now introduced suicide prevention training for all undergraduate nursing courses.

352. Daniel Payne (Nottingham)

Daniel was diagnosed with cancer in 2012. Although he made a swift recovery, he was inspired to help fellow patients who were not so fortunate. He joined CLIC Sargent, a charity that supports young people with cancer, and has mentored 5 young people so far. Daniel has also raised thousands of pounds for the charity, including through a sponsored skydive.

The next Points of Light award winners can be found on the October 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.

Published 1 September 2015
Last updated 30 September 2015 + show all updates
  1. Added Points of Light recipient 352: Daniel Payne.
  2. Added recipient 351: Laura Collins
  3. Added Points of Light winner 350: Dr Johanna Harris.
  4. Added Points of Light winner 349: Rhian Burke.
  5. Added today's Points of Light winners: Frances Hunter & Julie Ritter
  6. Added Points of Light winner 346: Asma Mohamed Ali.
  7. Added Points of Light winner 345: Elizabeth Hutton.
  8. Added Points of Light winner 344: Rick Parker.
  9. Added Points of Light winner 343: Harvey McSloy.
  10. Added today's winner: Simon Cartmell.
  11. Added Points of Light winner 341: Rosie Cleave.
  12. Added Points of Light winner 340: Ena Day.
  13. Added Points of Light winners Anthony and John Hayes.
  14. Added Points of Light winners 336 and 337: Dan Heighes and Brydon Gerus.
  15. Added Points of Light winner 335: George Geraghty.
  16. Added Points of Light 334: Louise Russell.
  17. Added Points of Light winner 333: Colin Stodel.
  18. Added Points of Light winner 332: Valerie Wilson.
  19. Added Points of Light winner 331: Dave Thompson.
  20. Added today's Points of Light winner: Despo Pentara
  21. First published.