Award-winning night for local volunteers

Leighton Buzzard businessman Graham Mountford (centre) who was highly commended in the Volunteer Section of the Cheering Volunteering Awards

Leighton Buzzard businessman Graham Mountford (centre) who was highly commended in the Volunteer Section of the Cheering Volunteering Awards

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There were plaudits for Leighton Buzzard’s community-minded champions at the annual Cheering Volunteering Awards.

Businessman Graham Mountford was highly commended in the Volunteer of the Year category and Leighton Buzzard Children’s Theatre picked up a similar accolade in the Fundraiser of the Year section.

Businessman Graham – our LBO Eye in the Sky - said he almost didn’t make it because of the sudden storm that flooded Dunstable as he was trying to get to the event.

He added: “I was humbled to receive it for my voluntary work with the Bedfordshire emergency volunteers, helping with floods, gas outages and other activities.”

The awards were held during National Volunteer’s Week and presented at a gala evening at the Grove Theatre on Tuesday, following last year’s successful inaugural event.

They were compered by Tom Jones impersonator Billy Lee whose dazzling dance moves went down well with the crowd. The Phoenix Chorus, singer songwriter Natasha Rowe, Bee’s Cheerleaders and magician Adrian Ward also provided music and entertainment.

The event was organised by Central Bedfordshire Council working in partnership with the Volunteer Centre to say thank you to those who give their time to help others.

The awards were divided into six categories with a special Panel’s Choice Award, which went to YAWN 16, a club for adults with learning difficulties.

The celebrations were introduced by Cllrs Carole Hegley and Caroline Maudlin who are both passionate supporters of volunteering.

Cllr Hegley, executive member for social care and housing, said: “After the success of the first Cheering Volunteering Awards, I was positive that this year’s would be even bigger and better - and that proved to be the case.”

Cllr Maudlin, deputy executive member for social care and housing, added: “It was a terrific evening and proved what a valuable and inspiring role volunteers play in helping make Central Bedfordshire such a great place to live.”

> Keen to volunteer? Visit http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/council/volunteering/overview.aspx