This week, the Advertiser can reveal the worthy community champions who have scooped our coveted New Year Honours awards. The popular prize-giving is our way of allowing you, the readers and residents of our towns, to nominate and commend those who go the extra mile. Those selfless Samaritans who step up when the going gets tough. Those much-loved residents who are always on hand.
You nominated your local heroes and made our job tough in selecting the winners.
But we managed to slim down the field to our top three.
They are Michael Phipps, a voluntary medical first responder with the ambulance service from Newthorpe; Peter Thornhill, a tireless fundraiser from Eastwood; and the Rumbletums community cafe in Kimberley.
It was at Rumbletums, off Newdigate Street, that Advertiser content editor Martin Hutton proudly presented certificates of commendation.
He said: “It is a real privilege to meet and reward some of those who genuinely have our communities at heart.
“They might not court the limelight, but they deserve our recognition nonetheless.”
Carry on reading to find out a bit more about our local heroes:
Michael, of Nottingham Road, Newthorpe, is a 46-year-old volunteer first responder with the East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS).
He is often one of the first on the scene at 999 emergencies, including suspected heart attacks.
His quick action has resulted in lives being saved.
Major incidents he has attended include a massive explosion at a house in Stockhill in Nottingham where residents were severely injured.
He was also formerly a volunteer police officer, working as a Special Constable. Michael has also been involved with St John Ambulance.
He is married to Sam, a midwife, and has a grown-up son and a grown-up daughter.
“I’m not a person who wants to be on TV every five minutes,” he said. “But it is nice to be recognised.
“I lost my mum suddenly last year and she would have been so proud.”
Peter has become a well-known member of the Eastwood community through his fundraising for the Rainbows Hospice for ill children and young people.
He is the main organiser and driving force behind an annual J26 Toy Steam Fair that raises funds for the crucial service.
Over the last three years, the initiative has collected in excess of £4,000.
It is backed by the Mamod forum and attracts enthusiasts from as far afield as Scotland and Wales.
This year’s renewal, at the Wellington Inn at Eastwood, is on May 25.
“The hospice is such a worthy cause,” said Peter, 54. “I was surprised to be nominated for this award. I really appreciate it but I was in two minds whether to accept it. I don’t do this for awards.”
Peter lives on Devonshire Drive and is married to Jane. He has three stepchildren and one grand-daughter.
Rumbletums Community Café is a supported training and work experience project for young people with learning disabilities, some of whom may also have an additional physical disability.
The project offers work experience opportunities to young people aged between 16 and 25. These opportunities are built around the operation of the café on Victoria Street and cover a range of catering, hospitality and customer services roles.
The venture was launched in July 2011 and was conceived and developed initially by parents who have children with learning disabilities.
However, since then many other organisations and individuals have become involved, offering everything from their time and expertise to financial support.
There are currently eight trustees who run the company and around 30 volunteers who do everything from administration and accounts through to cooking, making coffee and washing up.
All of these people give their time voluntarily because they are committed to what the project is trying to achieve.