Efforts of city’s unsung heroes recognised in Pride in Sheffield awards

Introducing the Pride of Sheffield …

Here are the next three winners in The Moor Pride in Sheffield Community Champion Awards.

Maxwell Ayamba, who runs Sheffield Environmental Movement to educate children on environmental issues is one of the latest Moor Pride in Sheffield Community Champions. Maxwell with The Moor's Grant Boyle and Zizzi's Lindsay Thornton. Picture: Scott Merrylees

Maxwell Ayamba, who runs Sheffield Environmental Movement to educate children on environmental issues is one of the latest Moor Pride in Sheffield Community Champions. Maxwell with The Moor's Grant Boyle and Zizzi's Lindsay Thornton. Picture: Scott Merrylees

The fatal shooting of a young man in Upperthorpe, a short walk from Sheffield city centre, shook the neighbourhood in February 2017.

But the response to Aseel Al-Essaie's death showed the diverse community's true colours as it pulled together in grief.

And the unity was so strong that it saw the community hub – Zest recognised in the VAS Make A Difference Awards.

The centre won the Communities Resilience award in recognition of its reponse to the shooting.

Gloria Stewart, who organises a Christmas dinner every year for around 400 people who would otherwise be alone is one of the latest Moor Pride in Sheffield Community Champions. Gloria with The Moor's Grant Boyle and The Light's Ashley Inman. Picture: Scott Merrylees

Gloria Stewart, who organises a Christmas dinner every year for around 400 people who would otherwise be alone is one of the latest Moor Pride in Sheffield Community Champions. Gloria with The Moor's Grant Boyle and The Light's Ashley Inman. Picture: Scott Merrylees

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Matt Dean, chief executive, said: "The donation is great and very welcome. It will go directly towards helping young people in our area."

Mr Dean was also presented with a voucher for a meal for two at Pizza Express.

Our second winner is Maxwell Ayamba, who runs Sheffield Environemtal Movement to educate children on environmental issues.

Matt Dean, chief executive of Zest community centre, Woodthorpe is one of the latest Moor Pride in Sheffield Community Champion. Matt with The Moor's Grant Boyle and Rob Clarke from Pizza Express. Picture:Scott Merrylees

Matt Dean, chief executive of Zest community centre, Woodthorpe is one of the latest Moor Pride in Sheffield Community Champion. Matt with The Moor's Grant Boyle and Rob Clarke from Pizza Express. Picture:Scott Merrylees

He was born in Ghana but has lived in Sheffield for 20 years.

Two decades later, he now works with black and ethnic minority communities to reconnect them with nature.

He hopes that by helping these communities understand the natural world they will be able to use that knowledge to change their lives – and the city – for the better. 

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Maxwell said: "I am delighted to have won this award for the Sheffield Environmental Movement. We started as the 100 Black Men Walk for Health Group and have grown in numbers and recognition.

“We have become a movement which not only enables many people to gain access to the outdoors, but is also ready to campaign for the wild places we need for our refreshment and relaxation.”

Mr Ayamba was also presented with a meal for two voucher for Zizzi's and he said the money would be used to promote the group to potential new members.

When it comes to the season of goodwill and spreading joy over the festive season, there can't be many people more generous than Gloria Stewart.

Back in 2007, Gloria, known as Mrs Christmas, had a chance meeting with an elderly woman in hospital.

The pair started talking about Christmas, which was just around the corner, and the older lady revealed she would be spending the day in bed with a packet of biscuits and a flask of tea.

A few days later, she made a decision; she would host a special festive lunch especially for older people in Sheffield who were on their own at this time of year.

Over a decade later, Gloria's festive ‘Home Alone’ luncheons are still going strong, and have become rather famous in the region, with over 400 people attending last year’s event.

This year’s event will take place on Wednesday, December 19 at Niagara Sports and Conference Centre, from noon until 5pm.

Gloria, who has been labelled ‘Mrs Christmas’ said around 400 guests would once again enjoy a tasty festive lunch, with all the trimmings.

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She has also just published her life story, thanks to the help of freelance writer Michelle Rawlins and she said she was hoping to register the Home Alone lunches as a charity.

Gloria said: “We’ve had a good response again this year, with the book coming out and we are trying to get it all registered as a charity.

“What I am trying to do is look for sponsors because it’s going to cost in solicitor fees so the £250 is very welcome.”

Gloria also received two tickets for The Light Cinema.

Winners of Pride in Sheffield awards have been highlighted in The Star and will all go on a special display on The Moor, where thousands will see their story.

The campaign has been run alongside Aberdeen Standard Investment, which owns the revamped shopping street and is giving each champion £250 to put towards their cause, plus gifts from the development's shops and attractions.

Previous winners include Tessa Lupton, who was nominated for her campaign to get new play equipment installed at Wolfe Road Park, which had been targeted by vandals.

Then Liz Godfrey, of Endcliffe in Sheffield Central, was revealed as the second winner. She was picked for her role as a co-ordinator of the local Heritage Open Days, an annual programme that has rapidly grown in popularity since she took the helm with fellow volunteers.

The third champion was Richard Hay, development manager of the Double Six Youth Club in Woodseats, in Sheffield Heeley.

Graham Bell, a Royal Navy D-Day veteran from Handsworth, was fourth in line. He fundraises tirelessly for charities around the city, and visits schools to talk to pupils about his experiences in World War Two.

Robert Riley, who helped set up a boxing gym, which is open to all, is also a winner along with litter pickers Julie Gay and Iren Wadworth.