NOMINATIONS 2020 (page 2)

SCHOOL OF THE YEAR SPONSORED BY QWERTY

Birch Copse Primary School

From the nominator: 'I’ve nominated this school which I e been proud to be part of its community for almost 15 years because of the admirable way they have worked since March. Clear communication, amazing safety precautions and I felt my child was 100% safe when in their care. Head teacher and deputy outside school nearly every morning in all weather welcoming us each day. The most amazing staff and home learning was just the right level with regular phone calls from teachers at home to pupils. We don’t feel like just another number at BC, you really feel that they care about you as individuals. Mr Micklewhite and staff are amazing!'

BROOKFIELD SCHOOL

No details supplied.

local hero SPONSORED BY green park

bruno guerreiro

From the nominator: 'Bruno Guerreiro is the site controller at St Michael's Primary school. For a long time he has gone above and beyond what a normal site controller does. Through the current lockdown he has come in every day to open and close the school. Then through the day he has recycled old tires, wood, plastic and anything he can find to create so many amazing things to help our children. These are a few of them: a mud kitchen, maths shed, a well out of tires for role playing, outside reading area, benches, scooter park, play hut/shed, an angry birds catapult and many many more. He does all these things to such a high standard and never asks for a thank you at all. He quietly comes in, solves problems and mends broken things. Not only does he make the lives of the adults here so much easier but he make life at school so much fun and exciting for the children. He has made a big impact here and I would love for him to get the recognition he deserves. He is our unsung hero.'

KATE HODGES

From the nominator: 'Kate Hodges is the most unselfish you well ever meet , she put everyone first during the Coronavirus She collected For the Royal Berks Hospital, She collected people and took them to the doctor, Collecting donations and delivering the he Hospital she worked at a garden centre cleaning baskets and monitoring people in the shop She is a senior person in the Local Rotary club raising money for local charities, She is a single mum but still finds time for her charity work Apart from every thing above she is a very nice and kind person and she gos the extra mile So can I request that she be considered for a Pride of Reading Award.'

Shelly Mailer

From the nominator: 'Our children have been utter troupers through all of this virus and have missed out on huge pieces of their childhoods whether it be a hug from Grandma and Grandpa, a kick about in the park with friends not to mentioned their education and let’s face it when we all went into lockdown in March I believe most of us thought we would be back to normal by now but no it’s almost Halloween and now we are telling our kids quite rightly that we can’t take them trick or treating due to Covid and there lies our local hero.

Shelly Mailer has brought Tilehurst together with a pumpkin and scarecrow hunt and our children now have over 200 displays to go and look at in an around Tilehurst but this isn’t just it there are prizes that Shelly has had donated for best scarecrows. What started off as something small has become huge and brought our community together and made so many of us smile and Shelly has never said it’s too big or too much to organise. I thank you Shelly from the bottom of my heart as do so many families in Tilehurst we had so much fun making our scarecrow and going out as a family to look at all the others.'

Buddy (Mashiur Rahman Buddy) Owner of the Hatchgate /Burghfield Spices

From the nominator: 'Buddy has been amazing during this pandemic. He has continued to offer the most amazing food for delivery which also included a free toilet roll at the beginning! He has extended a 25% discount for locals for his own eat out to help out. He delivered 500 free meals to staff working at Prospect Park Hospital and Royal Berkshire Hospital. This month he has announced he will be offering a free lunch bag to any local school child entitled to free school dinners through this half term. He really does care about his community and deserves recognition for it :)'

CULTURAL CONTRIBUTION SPONSORED BY M&G REAL ESTATE

Paul Stacey of Reading Rep Theatre

From the nominator: 'Paul Stacey began dreaming of a new theatre for Reading many years ago. After a lot of hard work and persistence he finally raised enough money to convert a hall on the site of Reading College into a state-of-the-art theatre. Despite covid hitting heir plans, the company has carried on with the build, still maintaining links with the community and running online and socially distanced classes. Meanwhile they got together with a large group to stream small plays - these were also available down the phone for those with no access to online. It's this spirit that makes Reading Rep and Paul unique.'

CHILD OF COURAGE SPONSORED BY IQVIA

Katherine & Sam Ebrey

From the nominator: 'Katherine and Sam are two young people (9 and 6) who have work tiresomely throughout lockdown and beyond to make and sell Jam outside their home to raise money to buy food which is then donated to the local food bank. They source their fruits to make the jam locally and all of their profits go to the food bank. At such a young age it’s inspirational to see them so dedicated to their community and willingness to help others. Their selflessness has made such a difference to so many in what is such a troubling time.'

Charlie Kristensen

From the nominator: 'I think you just need to Google #cheerupcharlie youngest anti bullying ambassador working in the country with his own campaign. Works with Diana Award and now speaks all over plus just released a charity single. This comes after getting bullied for over 18 months for his love of musicals and dance. He decided to make a stand and start a campaign.'

FROM THE WOKINGHAM TIMES

An Arborfield schoolboy bullied for his love of musical theatre has won the hearts of the nation with his anti-bullying campaign, #CheerUpCharlie. 

Ten-year-old Charlie Kristensen, who was targeted for his love of singing and dancing, went viral last year as leading West End stars united to give him the boost he needed.

The online attention responded to a tweet from Charlie’s music teacher Jacqueline Hughes who used her platform to request help from her friends in the Arts. 

Ms Hughes wrote: “I know many people face bullies every day and many have in their lifetime. But I wondered if you wouldn’t mind, if you have time sending me a little video to cheer him up, maybe some advice, your own stories, how you didn’t let them stop you, what you are doing now.”

In the days following his teacher’s tweet, Charlie received heartfelt messages and videos of support from performers in shows including Wicked, The Lion King and Aladdin. 

And it was this new wave of love and encouragement that convinced Charlie to transform his experiences of bullying into a campaign which would help other children like him. 

Charlie said: “I was bullied really badly at school for doing something I love. I was called names and hurt just because I’m a boy and I like to dance. I didn’t fit the stereotype the bullies wanted me to.”

“I was very close to giving up on my dream but when I received the messages from the West End stars I realised that I was much more important than the bullies’ opinions of me.”

“One day I recorded a video of me performing in my shed and before I knew it I had 300,000 views. 

“From then on I fell back in love with performing and took my videos to the next level.”

Since creating his first video, Charlie has launched his own YouTube account which currently has 2.43K subscribers. 

And the latest addition to his channel is the Musical Chairs with #CheerUpCharlie show which the young star has been working on during lockdown with the help of London’s Theatre Café. 

Charlie explained: “In each video I interview a different actor, musician or artist about their lives, performing background and experiences of bullying.

“The aim of the show is to share unknown, unheard and unlistened to stories.

“I really enjoy the video calls because I get to dig deep into the stars’ pasts. 

“Before each interview I do my research and then ask them a big range of questions- some serious, some not so serious.”

“My favourite question to ask is what their most disgusting habit is. Nathan Wyburn finds picking his nose therapeutic.”

Guests in Charlie’s Musical Chairs line-up have included Kerry Ellis, Michael Xavier, Nathaniel Morrison and Will Poulter among others. 

The enthusiastic youngster has also performed a duet with Matt Lucas to the hugely popular Baked Potato Song and chatted with Michael Ball during an interview on BBC Breakfast. 

Charlie added: “The stars are like my family. The theatre is my tribe. It’s where I belong.”

And as well as performing to the camera, Charlie has taken to big stages to share his journey and encourage others to stand up to bullying. 

In November last year Charlie reduced an audience of 5,000 people to tears with a speech he performed at the Diana Awards held at London’s Alexandra Palace. 

Charlie, who is the youngest ambassador for the programme, said: “It was a nerve-racking but amazing experience. 

“I was shocked to discover that 75% of audience members had been victims of bullying so I was really determined to share my story and help them in any way that I could.”

The keen campaigner is also planning a West End charity concert in Convent Garden when gatherings of the type are allowed.  

And adding to his list of achievements, Charlie is now using his platform to request the Prime Minister’s help with saving UK theatres.

He said: “I wrote a letter to Boris Johnson because I can’t imagine a future without entertainment or theatres. 

“Going to the theatre makes me feel alive and I just love it too much to see it go.

“I could see six shows everyday for a week and I would never get bored. 

“Every time I see a show it is different and makes me see the story in a new way. 

“The feeling you get when watching a show live at the theatre is something you just don’t get with films or TV. 

“There’s no second take at the theatre. Once the actors are on stage it’s their chance to shine.”

And while the youngster’s stardom has seen his production crew grow behind the scenes, one member of his team has given him love and support from the start. 

Charlie’s mum Kat said: “I’m so unbelievably proud of Charlie. Looking back at the position he was in this time last year, I could never have predicted he would grow this much as a person, especially after all that he’s been through.”

“He has only just turned 10 yet is doing things not even adults would have the confidence to do.”

“Every speech and interview he does is 100% his own hard work. 

“I am amazed that such a little boy has so much spirit, determination and courage inside of him.

“Stars from across the country may have taken him under their wing, but I will always be his mum. I’m so proud of him and what he has achieved.”

Charlie’s future plans include performing on the West End and Broadway, presenting, and continuing his role as an anti-bullying campaigner. 

In the meantime, and until theatres open, Charlie will continue to host his YouTube shows and reply to emails from children, who like him, have been bullied and need some help. 

THE CHRIS TARRANT AWARD SPONSORED BY THE ORACLE

Rachel Greenwood

From the nominator: 'When we first went into lockdown it was a really uncertain time for expectant mums, with no idea how the virus might affect them or their unborn child, and all of a sudden most of their support networks vanished overnight. Rachel Greenwood, who was pregnant herself at the time, set up a group for mums to be in Reading, that has grown hugely to nearly 700 members and counting, and now includes those who have had their babies. It has been an invaluable source of peer support, with everyone sharing their knowledge, providing reassurance and comfort to those who need it, gifting maternity and baby items that are no longer needed and organising social events, both virtual and in person, over the year. I have made several friends through the group, and was inspired through it to volunteer for the NCT, and know that my pregnancy and now maternity leave would have been a much darker, lonelier experience if it wasn’t for the group that Rachel created and spends so much time managing. Thank you so much Rachel!'

JACQUELINE HUGHES

From the nominator: 'Jaxs is a musical performer before lock down. And back at the start of the year was doing signing lesson in her spare time. One day one of students Charlie came and Jaxs could see he was not him self. She asked if he was OK. He got very upset and said he was been bullied at school because of love for the signer and dancing. The bullying got to point where Charlie was been physically hurt. So Jaxs reached out on twitter for some of westend friends to send a little message of support for Charlie. Than the show ball happen as it went global. They now have a single out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKRI3k8AYxc Charlie is now part of the Diana awards and Jaxs has been there in side lines the whole way support Charlie and his parents. She has help but the vison and support out there to let children know it cool to sign and dance and there is family out there that support you. There is a #cheerupcharlie that jaxs set up. Jaxs has never asked for any thing and has always made sure that Charlie and all the kids she teaches come first. We are all very proud and hope the word spreads.'

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