The Isle of Wight Celebrates Local Heroes at Annual Awards Ceremony

John Phillips is the Wightfibre Overall Local Hero, revealed at Isle of Wight Radio’s annual award ceremony at Cowes Yacht Haven on Thursday. The WightFibre sponsored Awards celebrated volunteers, sports people, selfless members of the island community, those who have overcome huge challenges to change lives on the Isle of Wight, unveiled by Isle of Wight Radio’s Paul Topping and Georgie Carter.

John Phillips

The full list of winners:

Inspirational Young Person is the courageous and resilient Verity Baird. After a difficult childhood, Verity was fostered aged just seven. From being unable to read or write, Verity has transformed herself into an accomplished violinist and sailor. She has gained three A levels and a first-class honours degree in Fine Art. She has spoken at Parliament to children in care and is currently studying for a Masters degree. Verity is the first young person to have been in foster care to have studied at this level, across the whole of the Isle of Wight and Hampshire.

Best Neighbour Award has been won by Sandown’s Pauline Evans. She does everything and anything to help her neighbours, from their DIY to gardening. Pauline is described as a ‘truly amazing person’.

Emergency Services award has been given to an extraordinary team of people, available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Supporting the police with their life-saving searches for missing children, and people with mental health issues, learning disabilities and dementia, Wight SAR gets no central funding and relies on grants and fundraising.

Isle of Wight Tourism Ambassador celebrates Welcome To The Isle of Wight singer Derek Sandy. He captured the imagination of the British tv-viewing public – and the hearts of four celebrities – with his appearance on Britain’s Got Talent earlier this year.

Sporting Achievers competed on the international stage at the Island Games in Gibraltar. They returned with 34 medals, including 11 gold. The Island Games Association’s Deputy Chair Kevin Winchcombe and medal winners Danny Burns, Charlie Metcalfe and Abi Lacey, collected the award on behalf of Team Isle of Wight.

Customer Service Award has been won by the “most talented, kindest and hard-working” Vera Mircescu. She ensures people at Mountbatten enjoy their final meals, having created a bespoke ordering service – anything at any time. She has also transformed the customer experience in the Mountbatten café.

PC Consultants Fundraiser Award went to Kathryn Grimes. In 2015, her husband Mark was diagnosed with a brain tumour. There was no support for someone in his situation, so she set up the Wight Brainy Bunch. Juggling her day job, four children and Mark’s ongoing health needs, the charity has already raised more than £100,000 for Isle of Wight families.

Inspirational Leader  is beach soccer’s Luke Kerr, whose dedication brings Ryde beach alive in the summer.

Making a Difference in the Community award was given to Dot Perrett From knitting hats and scarves, to volunteering at homeless centres.

International Lifetime Achievement award has been handed to Liz Bell,  who set up the Isle of Wight Asthma Swim Group, transforming lives for 35 years.

Volunteer Award was a tough catorgory and Isle of Wight Radio could not choose between two amazing Islanders – so both have been handed a

86-year-old Jackie Ramage volunteers at St Mary’s Hospital cafe and Hugh Griffiths is involved in cricket and dedicates huge amounts of time to running and maintaining Newclose Cricket Ground.

The Carer award (sponsored by Charmes Care) has been handed to the team behind Care in the Garden, who used their own money to set up a community group in Wootton, working with people who have a range of needs through gardening and fruit, veg and plant sales.

The 2019 Winners

Isle of Wight Radio Managing Director Claire John said,

Our deserving and amazing Isle of Wight Radio Local Heroes are inspirational people who have transformed not only their own lives but those of Islanders too. We’re always inspired by their determination and dedication. They really do make the Isle of Wight the truly amazing community that we know and love.” 

John Irvine, CEO of headline sponsor WightFibre, said:

“This is the sixth year Wightfibre have sponsored Isle of Wight Radio’s Local Heroes Awards. Local Heroes is all about recognising people who care and do something exceptional. WightFibre really care about our customers and we are delighted to join Isle of Wight Radio once again, to celebrate Island people, who also care and go the extra mile in their contribution to the community. It reflects our company ethos of ‘going the extra mile’ for our customers.”