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Chamber Champion awards are a big success

Shropshire Chamber of Commerce celebrated the incredible support shown by the county during the Covid-19 pandemic with a live streamed awards competition - which has been declared a huge success.

The 90-minute Chamber Champion Awards were broadcast from a specially constructed TV studio at Yarrington in Shrewsbury on Friday night, and attracted viewers from across international borders..

The big winner was Wrekin View primary school in Wellington, which won a public vote to beat other category winners to be crowned Champion of Champions. The school has set up a 'community kitchen' inviting people to take what they want, and give what they can.

Headteacher Adrian Pembleton, who joined the stream by Zoom, punched the air in delight when the result was announced.

He said: "Winning this award proves that anyone can be a good neighbour.  As a large primary school, we believe that everyone is our neighbour and we want to help and support as many people as possible.  We are really proud to have won this award, because it confirms to us that what we do is appreciated and recognised by many people and organisations, and not just the families that access the service. 

"In times of crisis we know there is an even greater need to support one another and be a good neighbour.  In response to lockdown measures, we realised that many families were struggling to get some of the basic provisions they needed. By setting up the community kitchen, we are able to help many families in the local area.

"Winning this award will hopefully help us to reach out to more families.  We have already had tremendous support from All Saints Church,  Morrisons, Tesco’s, Co-op, Dodd Group, Muller and all the community members who regularly donate items to our community fridge.  We would like to thank everyone for their continued support.

"To be named Champion of Champions just goes to prove that lots of people appreciate what we do, and it is not about the awards, it is make a difference to people’s lives." 

The award competition – the first of its kind in the county – was created to salute and celebrate the Shropshire spirit during these challenging times, while also raising funds for local charities.

Category winners were:

Charity Champion: A business, or individual, going above and beyond to raise money for charity, outside the NHS. Nick Jones Wealth Planning

Entrepreneurial Spirit: Celebrating a business which has recognised the need to create a ‘new normal’ in challenging times, and plant seeds of growth. Shoothill, Shrewsbury

Good Neighbour: Celebrating a business or individual going out of their way to help those most in need. Wrekin View Primary School.

Service to the Community: Celebrating a business or individual making a drastic impact on their community during the Covid-19 crisis. Energize Shropshire Telford & Wrekin

Valiant Volunteer: Celebrating a business or individual putting others before themselves and being generous with their time. Elaine Colley, Telford College

Unsung Hero: For a person or individual going above and beyond, without seeking recognition or reward: Pam Howell, Bluebird Care

Entries were shortlisted and judged by a panel selected by the organisers, with the overall champion of champions decided by a public vote during the live stream, using the Menti online voting syste,. All finalists will receive a certificate, with trophies for category winners.

The event, hosted by Shropshire Business magazine editor Carl Jones, also raised hundreds of pounds for Shropshire Mind and Shropshire Domestic Abuse Service. - and included some surprise celebrity appearances from the likes of Dom Joly, sports stars Joe Hart and Richie Woodhall, Only Fools and Horses legend John 'Boycie' Challis, and T'Pau lead singer Carol Decker.

Richard Sheehan, Shropshire Chamber’s chief executive, said: “It is disappointing that our original plans for a giant summer celebration to mark the 20th anniversary of our annual awards had to be postponed.

“But having seen and heard of all the amazing work going on among our business community to support those most in need during the Covid-19 crisis, we felt it deserved recognition.

“These challenging times have certainly bought about so many amazing stories of how organisations and individuals have got involved and made a real difference, and who deserve the recognition of the entire business community.”


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