Individuals and groups who give up time to help their local community have been recognised at the Berwick Voluntary Forum awards, with supermum Louise Wood collecting the top prize.
Winners were announced across six categories at an evening of celebration held at the Black and Gold in Tweedmouth.
Now in its third year, the annual Berwick Voluntary Forum awards recognise and celebrate the work done by voluntary groups and individuals across the old Berwick borough area. This includes, among others, the towns and villages of Seahouses, Belford, Wooler, Norham and Berwick.
The most prestigious award of the night was won by supermum Louise Wood, who was selected by the judges as the 2014 volunteer of the year.
Married with two young children aged five and six, she runs her own cleaning business and has been volunteering in the Berwick and Norham area for the past five years.
Secretary of Berwick Operatic Society, Louise also volunteers for Berwick Food Bank and runs a summer scheme in which she gives away excess eggs and produce from her vegetable plot to those in need.
She volunteered for Young Carers Berwick until funding ran out. She chaired Berwick Baby and Toddler Group and is involved with similar groups in East Ord and Spittal.
She is leader of First Norham Rainbows, Brownies and Guides and secretary for Norham First School Parents and Teachers Association.
Somehow, Louise also finds time to be involved with her local craft group.
Her extraordinary array of interests and dedication to community groups make Louise a standout winner.
“When you’re a volunteer, everything you do becomes normal,” said Louise when collecting her award. “Volunteering is part of life, people giving up time every day and every week for nothing because it what they want to do.
“That’s the difference between working and volunteering. We want to do these things and it benefits so many people, so many organisations in many different ways.”
There were other remarkable and inspirational stories to tell on the night.
Scout leader Paul Marshall received the lifetime achievement award for dedicating the past 44 years of his life to the organisation in Berwick and throughout Northumberland.
He is currently developing and improving the scout hall at Palace Green as well as running and organising Berwick Scouts.
“I wasn’t expecting this,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed my volunteering for the scouts. If you can make one person smile it spreads around. That’s what I tell the scouts.
The awards night, organised by forum administrator Fiona Calder and Christine Nicholls from Community Action Northumberland, was supported by General Mills Berwick Ltd. Lady Rose Crossman and Patti Lomax were the forum’s guests of honour.
George Scott, chairman of the Berwick Voluntary Forum, said: “It is really important to say thank you to all the wonderful people in our community who volunteer and week in, week out, do things for others. In our community, we would be lost without volunteers.”
BERWICK VOLUNTARY FORUM AWARDS 2014
Volunteer of the Year: Louise Wood
Runners-up: George Oliver & Jen Hall
Lifetime Achievement Award: Paul Marshall
Runners-up: Susan Grace Burston & Les Chappell
Grassroots Award: Spittal Variety Group
Runners-up: Berwick Amateur Rowing Club & Berwick Arts and Crafts
Organisation of the Year: Northumberland Handyperson Service
Runners-up: Berwick Animal Rescue Kennel & Bell View Care Ltd
Outstanding Project of the Year: Berwick Food Bank
Runners-up: Seton Car Befrienders, Here For You
Local Business Support Award: Asda, Tweedmouth
Runners-up: Berwick Advertiser & General Mills, Berwick