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Our heroes! North Norfolk District Council unveils winners at Big Society Awards

PUBLISHED: 00:00 24 March 2017 | UPDATED: 11:55 24 March 2017

North Norfolk District Council chairman John Lee with the winners of the local authority's Big Society Awards. Picture: Ally McGilvray

North Norfolk District Council chairman John Lee with the winners of the local authority's Big Society Awards. Picture: Ally McGilvray

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Three teenagers who risked their lives to save others while on holiday in north Norfolk have been given an award for heroism.

Abigail Bunn, left, and Holly Rumsby, right, both received an award for their Outstanding Contribution by a Young Person to their Community. Also pictured, centre, is David Castleman who received an award for his Outstanding Act of Heroism. Picture: Ally McGilvrayAbigail Bunn, left, and Holly Rumsby, right, both received an award for their Outstanding Contribution by a Young Person to their Community. Also pictured, centre, is David Castleman who received an award for his Outstanding Act of Heroism. Picture: Ally McGilvray

Fourteen-year-old David Castleman, from Essex, rescued a 26-year-old man from a rip tide while on holiday in Sea Palling in July last year.

And two courageous Scouts from Cambridgeshire, aged just 13 and 17 at the time, saved a boy’s life when strong winds blew his inflatable boat out to sea off the coast at Wells last month.

The teenage trio were among dozens of volunteers who dedicate their time to helping communities throughout North Norfolk to be recognised at the district council’s Big Society Awards at Sheringham Little Theatre on Thursday evening.

There was also special praise for all the people who helped protect lives with evacuations along the coast during the January storm surge and the mop-up operation which followed.

North Norfolk District Council chairman John Lee presents the Big Society Awards. Picture: Ally McGilvrayNorth Norfolk District Council chairman John Lee presents the Big Society Awards. Picture: Ally McGilvray

Those included council staff, emergency services, HM Coastguard, the crew of Mundesley inshore lifeboat, Norfolk Civil Protection Volunteers and community volunteer flood warden groups at Wells, Blakeney, Cley, Salthouse, Bacton and Walcott.

Councillor Tom FitzPatrick, Leader of North Norfolk District Council and chairman of the Big Society Fund Panel, said: “It has been a pleasure watching such deserving people come here tonight for recognition.

“The winners are of course hugely deserving, but so are the other finalists who may not have won, but should leave here full of pride at their efforts and achievements.”

Other awards were presented as follows: Outstanding Contribution by a Young Person to their Community - Abigail Bunn, for her dedication to North Walsham Gymnastics Club; Outstanding Contribution by a Young Person to their Community - Holly Rumsby, in recognition of her involvement and fundraising efforts for a number of organisations close to her heart including North Norfolk Surf Life Saving Club and St John’s Ambulance. Holly has raised several hundred pounds by making and selling key rings and coasters. She is a trained first aider and lifesaver and volunteers her skills at public events.

North Norfolk District Council leader Tom FitzPatrick said all the winners were truly deserving. Picture: Ally McGilvrayNorth Norfolk District Council leader Tom FitzPatrick said all the winners were truly deserving. Picture: Ally McGilvray

Voluntary Services to Young People - Hayley Allard, in recognition of her outstanding work to improve play facilities in Gresham.

Voluntary Services to Sport - William Wright, for his dedication to Bradfield Cricket Club.

Community Project 2017 - Erpingham Leisure Hub, for providing opportunities for all members of the community to participate in a variety of affordable and inclusive sporting activities.

Voluntary Services to a Neighbourhood - Dennis Rolfe, for his voluntary services to the community of Itteringham. He has been involved with Itteringham Community Shop for over 20 years and is the longest serving volunteer on its management committee.

William Wright receives the Voluntary Services to Sport award for his work with Bradfield Cricket Club from the council's Corporate Director Nick Baker. Picture: Ally McGilvrayWilliam Wright receives the Voluntary Services to Sport award for his work with Bradfield Cricket Club from the council's Corporate Director Nick Baker. Picture: Ally McGilvray

Outstanding Contribution to a Big Society Funded Project - Alexis Thurston, for her dedication to gymnastics in North Walsham through establishing the North Walsham Gymnastics Club for children aged 3 to 15.

Congratulating all the district’s volunteers, Councillor John Lee, chairman of North Norfolk District Council and master of ceremonies at the event, said: “The purpose of the evening was to celebrate, recognise and honour a type of work that so often goes unseen and unrecognised – volunteering.

“We say thank you to some of those innovative projects, but especially those people, that help to build a strong community spirit in the area, all for no payment.

“We have heard stories of determination and hard graft; long term planning and dynamic working. We have also heard stories of heart rending effort in the most difficult and dangerous of circumstances.”

Alexis Thurston received the Outstanding Contribution to a Big Society Funded Project for her dedication to gymnastics in North Walsham through establishing the North Walsham Gymnastics Club for children aged 3 to 15. Picture: Ally McGilvrayAlexis Thurston received the Outstanding Contribution to a Big Society Funded Project for her dedication to gymnastics in North Walsham through establishing the North Walsham Gymnastics Club for children aged 3 to 15. Picture: Ally McGilvray

Dennis Rolfe, second from right, was presented with an award for Voluntary Services to a Neighbourhood for his work in Itteringham. Picture: Ally McGilvrayDennis Rolfe, second from right, was presented with an award for Voluntary Services to a Neighbourhood for his work in Itteringham. Picture: Ally McGilvray

Hayley Allard was presented with the Voluntary Services to Young People award for her work to improve play facilities in Gresham. Picture: Ally McGilvrayHayley Allard was presented with the Voluntary Services to Young People award for her work to improve play facilities in Gresham. Picture: Ally McGilvray

Councillor John Lee, chairman of North Norfolk District Council and master of ceremonies at the event, said: “The purpose of the evening was to celebrate, recognise and honour a type of work that so often goes unseen and unrecognised – volunteering.Councillor John Lee, chairman of North Norfolk District Council and master of ceremonies at the event, said: “The purpose of the evening was to celebrate, recognise and honour a type of work that so often goes unseen and unrecognised – volunteering." Picture: Ally McGilvray

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