UPDATE: FABULOUS NEWS – We are delighted that Martin Denny has won a HIGHLY COMMENDED in the Bedford Independent Unsung Hero Award category. Well done, Martin!

On the 26th March, the Bedford Independent Everyday Heroes Awards, in partnership with The Harpur Trust, will celebrate those who make Bedford brilliant.

The awards were established to recognise and reward those individuals and organisations who go the extra mile to enhance our Borough and/or help those in need.

Nominees for the 12 categories have been made by fellow Bedfordians, with a highly commended and winner chosen from our panel of judges.

SMART CJS has nominated three local heroes who have made it to the final.

Meet Martin – Unsung Hero Category

On a hot Saturday night in 2019 Martin (pictured), alongside his fellow Bedford Street Angel bravely saw off a man who attacked one of our young female workers at SMART’s Somewhere Safe to Stay Homeless Hub in Harpur Street.

The attacker had been advised that, unfortunately, there were no more beds available and had walked off, only to turn back and viciously kick our Night Worker in the stomach. She was understandably very shaken up and upset, so Martin and his colleague stayed with her to ensure her safety and provide comfort and reassurance.

Thankfully, there was no lasting damage to our incredible member of the team physically or emotionally and she went back to work almost immediately after being offered support.

In Bedford, we are extremely grateful to all agencies that work in partnership. And especially, to unsung heroes like Martin from the Street Angels who are all volunteers and patrol the streets on a Saturday night in their own time.

“We did not know of Martin’s name until this award programme prompted me to ask about the identity of the Street Angel involved in this incident. It was an event that David Lambert (St John & St Leonard PCC, Bedford) was running in January where I met Martin and had the opportunity to thank him personally for his actions. I hope that he can be recognised for being a true Unsung Hero in the Bedford Independent’s awards….” SMART CJS CEO, Anita McCallum.

Katy and Joe – Fundraiser of the year Category

In October 2019 – Katy and Joe climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, to raise funds for the SMART Prebend Centre In Bedford.

Katy’s words on making it to the top: We made it!! Hardest summit on Kilimanjaro in a long time apparently but can believe it as weather conditions were very extreme!! I believe we’re all most at £3,000 so very happy.” In fact, the final total raised was a staggering £3,144 – one of the largest single donations made to the SMART Prebend Centre in 2019. And that’s why we want to nominate this courageous couple.

Taken from Katy & Joe’s SMART Fundraising Page, prior to the challenge: “My name’s Kate. Myself and my partner, Joe, are planning to conquer Kilimanjaro.  On the 17th of October our adventure begins. We will be taking on this huge challenge in memory of Joe’s mum, Gail. Gail sadly passed away in March last year after losing her battle with alcohol addiction. This wasn’t the family’s first time dealing with the awful heartache of alcohol abuse. Gail’s Brother, Richard, lost the same battle just the year before.

Mine and Joe’s aim is not just to raise the much-needed funds to support this amazing charity (SMART Prebend Centre) but it’s also to raise awareness on substance misuse. Everyone deserves a chance to make a positive change to theirs and their families lives with help and support.” 

Katy and Joe completed this momentous challenge on 26th October 2019, and local experts said it had been one of the most testing climbs ever on the mountain due to the extreme weather conditions. They also were both suffering from a nasty virus that had swept through the camp – making the climb very difficult and putting themselves at great physical discomfort.

“We feel that Katy and Joe’s inspiring fundraising efforts really helped kick-start our CRIB (Cold Relief in Bedford) Appeal and people reading about their extraordinary efforts dug deep into their pockets as a result. Without the support of amazing people like Katy and Joe we simply wouldn’t be able to do what we do!” SMART CJS CEO, Anita McCallum.

About the Awards

“The Bedford Independent Everyday Heroes Awards is not a popularity contest,” said Erica Roffe, managing editor of the Bedford Independent.

“Winners and those highly commended have been chosen on their own merit by our diverse panel of judges.

”It has been incredibly difficult to choose those winners and highly commended, every nominee is deserving of recognition and we are so proud to be able to highlight them all.”

David Steadman, chief executive of The Harpur Trust, who have partnered with us in the awards, said: “The more that people in Bedford give their energy and skills, the better everyone’s lives will be.

“The people nominated represent hundreds of other unsung heroes in our community, who do so much to help without reward or recognition. I would like to send a thank you to all of you for everything that you do to make our community the wonderful place it is.”

When the awards were launched, the original plan was to have a celebration event at The Quarry Theatre at St. Lukes, hosted by Bedford School.

Sadly due to lockdown restrictions, we are unable to do that but both the theatre and school have continued to add strength to these awards with guidance, advice and technical support.

“I have lived in many places, but in Bedford for only five years: this wonderful town is my favourite spot – and I am personally thrilled to play whatever part I can, too, said James Hodgson, headmaster at Bedford School.

“The Bedford Independent Awards: Everyday Heroes humble us all. They are a powerful reminder that we all have a part to play in the happiness and progress of our town, however large or small we individually feel that can be.”

Watch the Awards

You can find out who has been awarded a Bedford Independent Everyday Heroes Award on 25 March 2021 at 7:30 pm on our websiteFacebook Page and YouTube channel.


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