HEREFORDSHIRE has more than its fair share of men, women and young people making life that bit better for others.

A measure of that strong sense of community and caring, found in a wide variety of ways and in a whole range of situations across the county, comes into focus this month when Herefordshire’s Community Champions stand up to take a bow.

They range in age from teenagers to pensioners, each with a firm commitment to help their neighbours, communities and the environment.

Herefordshire Council’s chairman Councillor Brian Wilcox has congratulated all the nominees in the five categories: community, volunteering, caring, environment and youth.

The overall champions will be announced next week, though Cllr Wilcox told them: “In our book you are all winners.”

In the community category, 80-year-old Edgar Whiteley, has been nominated for his staunch support in Bromyard for 55 years. A former chairman and president of Bromyard Town Football Club, helping secure playing and clubhouse facilities, he is now president of the junior section of Bromyard Football Club.

A founder member of the twinning association, Bromyard Gala committee member, former chairman of Bromyard Youth Club, a school governor, and sidesman at St Peter’s Church for 50 years. He is also a trustee of Bromyard Public Hall.

The main driving force behind the Yarkhill ‘Field to Fork’ festival, Helen Nenadich has been nominated for a community award. She organised the festival committee and persuaded many producers and sponsors to support the event which has raised over £15,000 for charity.

Jane Rigler’s Good Neighbour Scheme in Orcop brings support and friendship to many in this isolated community. The scheme provides transport, help with gardening, form-filling and laying on community lunches and teas. “People would be very isolated without the scheme,” says Jane.

Volunteering finalists include Simon Halling, for 13 years a Community First Responder at Bromyard, who receives on average 20 call outs per month. “I was called out to 36 medical emergencies in January,” says Simon, who is also a watch commander with Bromyard fire service. As a First Responder he is available night and day, attending 999 calls to deal with emergencies before an ambulance can get to the scene.

Karen Usher and David Sheppard received volunteering nominations for their determined efforts towards establishing a university for Hereford. “We didn’t want it to be a branch of Worcester or Gloucester, but to be a very good university,” says Mr Sheppard. With a UK shortage of engineers, Hereford will be filling that gap, and all students will graduate with a degree validated by the University of Warwick.

Teresa Jones has been a Girlguiding volunteer for almost 30 years. During that time she has also cared for her friend Annette who sadly died three years ago, and she moved to live with her elderly father in order to care for him.

From Kington, Lynn Rogers and her husband, Dave and Mrs Rogers have been nominated for their dedicated service in running the St Michael’s Hospice shop in Kington. Their efforts have enabled the shop to generate £250,000 in income over the past five years.

Environmental nominations include Mike Williams from Preston-on-Wye, a catchment officer with the Wye and Usk Foundation whose talks and educational programmes are aimed at young and old. He even takes farmers on wildlife forays. “I show them the bullheads and sticklebacks in water courses and they say they haven’t seen them for 50 years; that makes them think twice,” says Mike.

In the same category, KLEEN, Kington Environment & Energy Network is making waves with its focus on environmental issues. Led by Gordon Koppock, the group seeks to improve the area, their work leading to litter picks, allotments, home energy surveys, apple pressing and a ‘Kleen’ Repair Café.

Concerned about her home city, Emma Jones set up a Facebook page,, Herefordshire Community Clean Up Group last August and now has 1,000 followers. “We have organised weeding and litter-picking,” she says. “It has really taken off and lots of like-minded people are helping.”

Youth nominees include Strong Young Minds Champions, an active group from across Herefordshire who are making it their mission to raise awareness of mental health among their peers to make it easier for them to ask for help and support.

Another contender for the youth award, 16-year-old Amelia Corrick-Gough from Marden is making a difference to the lives of people with mobility problems. “I’ve been driven by a medical condition which would have meant being in a wheelchair,” says Amelia. Roller skating has helped her and now as a coach she encourages others. “I can help anyone from toddlers to pensioners,” she says.

Daisy Flood chairs the Herefordshire Y-Team, a group dedicated to helping young people faced with a family health crisis or bereavement. Having lost her own mother, Daisy can empathise with others going through the same heartache, particularly at a sensitive time such as Mother’s Day.

“You can go out and celebrate your Mum, but in a different way.”

In the caring category, Ade Ball has spent 30 years in childcare. She started at St Paul’s primary school in Hereford offering ‘Mum’s help’, eventually running after school and breakfast clubs at St Paul’s and Hampton Dene as well as running a nursery for two to 12-year-olds. More than 40 children attend the breakfast club and 80 enjoy the after school club.

Aysha Moffat and Coral Mann have been nominated by a mother moved by the level of caring they offer her daughter who has learning difficulties. For six years they have given support and friendship. “We are more than just carers,” says Aysha. “We’re friends, she calls us ‘her girls’!”

A company PA with Carghill, Julie Cartmell has been a Samaritan in Hereford for 25 years, and at work has become the “go to” person for anyone needing to talk. “I’m like a beacon for anyone with worries,” she says. “It’s part of my life, I couldn’t imagine not being there to help.