Have you nominated an unsung hero for the Pride of Gwent Awards? Sue Bradley meets inspirational winners from 2019.

HONOURING the unsung heroes who make our communities better places in which to live and work is what the Pride of Gwent Awards is all about.

The event, held by the South Wales Argus, is our chance to applaud the selfless individuals and groups who do so much for others, without expecting any glory in return.

People like Joyce Rogers and Margaret Hall, for whom the Pride of Gwent Carers Award was the icing on the cake in terms of their 20-plus years of dedication in running a community support group that gave a huge amount of pleasure to senior citizens.

South Wales Argus:

Cathy Parsons presents the Pride of Gwent Carers Award to  Margaret Hall (L) and Joyce Rogers from Choices at the Pride of Gwent 2019 awards. Picture: www.christinsleyphotography.co.uk

Choices in Newport provided a variety of activities, including talks, demonstrations, outings and meals out.

Ms Rogers served as secretary for some 25 years and Ms Hall spent more than two decades as treasurer. Both women, now in their 80s, decided it was time to step down shortly after receiving their Pride of Gwent award.

“Choices provided our members with companionship,” explained Ms Rogers. “When I took it on there were about 22 people attending and we ended up with 50. It was quite popular.

“We served the St Julian’s area but people came from Malpas and the Chepstow Road too because they wanted to get out of their homes and have an alternative to television.”

Ms Hall said Choices provided its members with stimulating entertainment.

“We described it as ‘Choices for the Discerning Seniors,” she said.

The Pride in Pill (PIP) group is no stranger to regular readers of the Argus and its fantastic work in keeping the streets of Pillgwenlly cleansed of litter, and was formally recognised with a ‘Community Hero’ award last year’s Pride of Gwent.

Paul Murphy founded the organisation in 2014 after being involved in raising a petition to keep buses running through the area and noticing how messy some of it had become. Since then he’s regularly organised teams of volunteers to clean up different parts of Pill, sometimes attracting as many as 30 to 35 public-spirited individuals.

South Wales Argus:

Karen Welch presents the Pride of Gwent Community Hero Award to Paul Murphy at the Pride of Gwent 2019 awards. Picture: www.christinsleyphotography.co.uk

Other initiatives include the first ‘Wrap Up Newport’, through which thousands of winter coats have been collected for the homeless. This work prompted Mr Murphy and other members of PIP to go onto the streets to offer hot drinks and food to those sleeping rough.

“I’m pleased to be part of Pride in Pill because Pillgwenlly has had a bad name for years,” explains Mr Murphy, whose group received the Queen’s Voluntary Medal for its work in 2017.

“I’m trying to bring the area up and give it a good name. It’s been harder to operate during the lockdown but we’ve carried on.

“Pride in Pill is a group, not just one person: without the volunteers to help we couldn’t do such a good job. We’re determined to keep up the good work: we won’t let anything stop us.”

Coleg Gwent is sponsoring our Local Hero award

COLEG Gwent is the sponsor of the ‘Local Hero’ accolade in the South Wales Argus Pride of Gwent Awards 2020.

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South Wales Argus:

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