The 'Young Person' category: the stories behind Maldon's Community Service Recognition Awards

  Posted: 28.11.20 at 07:00 by The Editor

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In mid-December Maldon will find out who the winners are in community awards that recognise their work to help others during the pandemic crisis.

Each day (Monday to Saturday), Maldon Nub News will bring you the stories behind the community heroes and heroines who have been shortlisted for what they did for the people of the district in their hour of need.

There are 10 categories in the Maldon District Recognition of Service Awards, featuring individuals of all ages and backgrounds. The thing they have in common is their dedication to the local community.

The winners in each category will be announced on or after 12 December by leader of Maldon District Council, Councillor Wendy Stamp, with a short video featuring the winners produced.

Today (Saturday, 28 November) we start with a look at the stories of those nominated in the ‘Young Person’ category:

Emily Johnson

Emily’s Nomination: “Emily has been amazing during lock down. For one so young she has shown what a wonderful young lady she is. Both Emily’s parents are key workers and have worked throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Emily therefore has been one of our key worker children in school every day since schools closed on 23rd March 2020. Maylandsea School closed on March 30th and we shared a site with Purleigh school so not only did Emily have to be in school every day, she also had to be in a different school to her own with different children every day that she did not know.

“Over the time, Emily began to shine - she would organise games of bingo for all the children, she would read stories to the younger children, make up dance routines for them to learn and help out with whatever was asked of her. After school, she would take gifts to her friends, at Easter she gave sweets and around on VE day she made cakes and treats to share out.

Emily says: “I was delighted to be told that I had been recognised. My mum is the manager of a care home on the Dengie and my Dad is a courier driver. Therefore, I had to go to school throughout the pandemic.

“My normal school was Maylandsea Primary – it was closed on March 30th and started sharing a site with Purleigh School, so I had to go to another school with children I didn’t know. But this didn’t worry me. I was one of the older children and loved helping the other children. I would organise games of bingo for all the children, I would read stories to the younger children, make up dance routines for them to learn and help out with whatever I was asked to. After school I would make up treat hampers and get them dropped off to my friends to hopefully cheer them up.

“I also had a buddy in reception class who didn’t go school through lockdown. But I kept in contact with him, I would leave gifts on his doorstep and face time him. I hope I made the other children and teacher smile and have fun in these strange times we were going through.”

Saskia Openshaw

Saskia’s Nomination: “Saskia made wooden plaques for Fathers’ Day which she sold to raise money for the NHS. She has worked very hard to get all the plaques ready. Some were for Fathers’ Day but they could have anything written on them. She started with a very modest £35 target but ended up raising an amazing £348.”

Saskia says: “My name is Saskia, during the first lockdown I was eight years old (I’m 9 now!). I really wanted to do something to help the NHS and protect people from the coronavirus. I made plaques and sold them to raise money for the NHS. I worked really hard on them every afternoon after I’d finished my schoolwork. I was hoping to raise £30 but I actually sold enough plaques to raise £348! I was so happy! I hope that the money I raised has helped people who were poorly with the virus.”

Isabella & Luca Flain

Isabella & Luca’s Nomination: “I am nominating Isabella Flain age nine and Luca age five who felt truly sorry for a lonely, isolated man who had called and asked MDCVS for help during lockdown on one particular Friday afternoon.
“The man lives alone in Sheltered Housing (Salvation Army) housing in Heybridge and is very frail and vulnerable and limited to the use of a frame for walking. The one thing he asked for help with was to see if anyone would be able to collect him fish and chips from his local chip shop for his evening meal. Isabella, after hearing the gentleman’s request, said she would like to do this for him.

"For a nine-year-old girl to show such compassion for her elders I think is a true act of kindness from someone so young. Also at this time there was no warden present at his particular site that could have assisted him with his request."

Ethan Bonner

Ethan’s Nomination: “Ethan is four years old and at the start of lockdown he dressed up as Willy Wonka and delivered sweets to 60 households in Burnham-on-Crouch where children lived to cheer them up at a time when they weren’t able to go to school, see friends or visit family. He did this by walking round the town as part of his daily exercise with his Mum and all sweets were purchased by him and his Mum.”

Ethan says: “I wanted to make the children smile and have something to be excited about as we had to stay indoors and have no play time. Mummy said we can get sweeties for the children and I can be Willy Wonka and leave sweeties outside houses for them. Some children waited at their doors to see me and others looked out the windows with big smiles on their face waving at me! It was so nice to see after weeks of being inside with not much to do and all the parks were closed, too, so this was lots of fun and I loved giving children something to smile about.”

Caitlin Pease

Caitlin’s Nomination: “Caitlin, aged eight years, has been making bracelets and selling them within the local area. She has also helped deliver shopping to elderly neighbours and check they are okay.”

Caitlin says: “During lockdown, my brother & I went around to our neighbours’ houses delivering red and green cards. Red meant they needed help, shopping or someone to talk to from a distance. Green meant they were okay and we could carry on our walk around the block.

“But I also felt sorry for the nurses and doctors having to work so hard and I wanted to help them. That is when I got the idea of selling my bracelets and buying shower gel and hand sanitizer and handing them out to key workers. I then added some biscuits to the gift bag and with more money coming in I was able to buy different things.

“As I wasn’t in school I had homework to do online, but once that was done I started to make and sell bracelets for £1.50 using my own beads.

“Even before lockdown, I have always enjoyed making things, craft work and jewellery. The £1.50 from each bracelet I sold went to pay for treats, sweets and biscuits for keyworkers. But then I got really busy and have raised over £400 and bought a lot of treats and gift baskets for many keyworkers.

“I have sent tulips to a memory clinic, cakes and sweets to care homes, gift baskets to Broomfield Hospital, fire station, police stations, doctors surgery and many more. I even got my mum to try and get Rossi to send some ice cream to a care home in Southend (my granddad is in there, he has frontal lobe dementia) after seeing a post on Facebook - we only got it! All the residents were so pleased with their ice cream.

"I made gift baskets for the women’s refuge, sea patrol, RNLI, air ambulance, A&E, homeless and recently made up 14 care packages for the Café in St. Peters Hospital after seeing a United in Kind post.

“When my mum told me I had been nominated for a recognition of service award with Maldon District Council I was shocked and excited. I was only doing what I enjoy doing and makes me happy, but it is nice to know others like it and it may get another little girl or boy to do the same, so can’t be a bad thing.”

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