Five Towns’ community heroes bag awards

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Community champions from across the Five Towns have been honoured for making a difference in their neighbourhoods.

Three individuals and two community groups from the area scooped prizes at this year’s Wakefield and District Housing (WDH) Love Where You Live Awards.

Knottingley pensioner Hazel Richardson, youngster Zara McGuinness and Derek Westerman from Featherstone were all recognised at the glitzy awards ceremony last Thursday.

Ten-year-old Zara, from Featherstone, was voted winner of the young achiever for the second time in three years. She set up her own charity shop, Zara’s Foundation, in Castleford which provides grants to people in need.

Featherstone and District War Memorial Garden Group also bagged an award in the best neighbourhood category while Friends of Fryston Woods won both the working with young people and green hero categories.

The winners of each category were given a £500 grant to either spend on their project or put towards a similar scheme in their community.

Steve Wright, of Friends of Fryston Woods, said: “ We’re purely grant-funded so to win £1,000 of funding means a lot to us. I’d like to thank everyone who voted for us. We will use the money to fund more community and celebration events for the local community and everyone who works with us.”

Mrs Richardson won the working with older people award for her work as chairwoman of the Warwick Estate neighbourhood watch scheme. She said: “It’s nice to be appreciated by those who we are trying to help. It’s also great to know that you’ve got the support of local people.”

Mr Westerman, of Leatham Crescent, won the best garden category and Featherstone and District War Memorial Garden Group picked up the award for best neighbourhood for the second year running.

Gordon Barker, group treasurer, said: “Everyone works so hard and our group is so well supported locally. Winning this award is testament to the dedication of the whole team.”

Kevin Dodd, WDH chief executive, said: “A great deal of hard work has been going on across the district to make our communities better places to live and local people are at the heart of this. The Love Where You Live Awards become more successful every year and we are hoping for even greater things in 2015.”

For a full list of winners visit