The Yorkshire Post today salutes the people who have made a difference to communities during 2013 in the YP Christmas Honours. The newspaper has selected 12 winners from a host of different backgrounds but with one common bond – their work has led to immense benefit across the region.
Maureen Greaves: Bravery of Sheffield widow who forgave her husband’s killers
At 20 minutes past 11 tonight, standing on the spot near her home where her husband’s life ebbed away exactly one year ago, Maureen Greaves will lay down a wreath with five roses, one for each member of her family.
In the past year the devout Christian has been trying to come to terms with the loss of her husband, who was attacked in the street as he walked to play the organ at his church in Sheffield, in the most shocking of circumstances.
Mrs Greaves, 64, was praised by the chief executive of the Church Army, where she has worked since 2008, for her “courage and faith” and her decision to forgive her husband’s killers.
After the tribulations of an emotionally taxing trial before 22-year-olds Jonathan Bowling and Ashley Foster were jailed over his death, she expects the one-year anniversary of the fatal attack today to be “full of great sadness”.
In the morning she will visit the chapel at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, where Alan died from his horrific head injuries, before spending time visiting friends, sending out food parcels and making sure her presents are ready.
The usual Christmas Eve church service at her local St Saviour’s Church will this year be held out on the street where the attack took place.
The five roses on the wreath, laid a year on from the attack at 11.20pm on December 24, are an echo of the flowers placed by Mrs Greaves and the couple’s four children at the funeral.
She said: “Christmas Eve will be a heavy day for me, it will be full of great sadness because of the memory of what I have lost. But Christmas Day will be full of great joy. It will be a week when we are preparing for a new year and this year will have passed.”
Andrew Dixon: Helped Hull win the City of Culture 2017 title.
“ALWAYS think that something wonderful is about to happen.”
A few words on postcards which he handed to the team about to make their winning presentation to City of Culture judges sums up Andrew Dixon’s approach. Mr Dixon, the man behind Hull’s bid for City of Culture 2017, not only has “huge experience in the area of arts management, but an openness to other peoples’ ideas”, said Graham Chesters, who was part of the bid presentation team. The city was the choice of judges in November, and can now look forward to an estimated £184m of extra economic spend between 2015 and 2020.
PC Jodie Dunsmore: Persistence uncovered mummified child
BRADFORD police community support officer Jodie Dunsmore won praise from a judge after her “diligence and persistence” led to the discovery of the body of tragic four-year-old Hamzah Khan.
The PCSO, who has since become a police officer, persuaded Hamzah’s mother to let her in after threatening to break the door down in 2011 following complaints from residents. The mummified body of Hamzah, who had starved to death nearly two years earlier, was found in a cot in his mother Amanda Hutton’s bedroom later that day when police officers arrived. Hutton was later jailed for 15 years.
Alice Halstead: Diabetes sufferer who is an inspiring fundraiser.
ALICE Halstead, 22, spent most of her teenage years in hospital as doctors struggled to treat an extremely rare form of Type 1 diabetes.
While in hospital she launched Alice’s Sunshine Appeal which has raised around £50,000 to help sick children’s dreams come true.
Her selfless work for others has already won her admirers. Earlier this year she was named most Aspirational Women in the Inspiration Awards for Women for her work with Rays of Sunshine, for which she is an ambassador.
Her charity work has included organising a ball which is now an annual event.
Jonny Mitchell: Star of the acclaimed Educating Yorkshire TV series
WHEN head teacher Jonny Mitchell took the decision to allow television cameras into his school he hoped it would show his home town of Dewsbury in a good light.
The success of the Educating Yorkshire TV series achieved this and more as it highlighted the passion and commitment teachers have to see their pupils succeed. More than three million viewers tuned in to watch life inside Thornhill Community Academy during the series which culminated in an emotional final episode in which pupil Musharaf Asghar overcame a stammer with the help of his teacher Matthew Burton to achieve exam success.
Gordon Sibbald: The retiring king of rhubarb who nurtured top talent
After 34 years training the region’s up and coming restaurateurs, butchers, bakers and even chocolate makers, chef-turned-author Gordon Sibbald has been an inspiration to many.
The 66-year-old from Wakefield stepped back from the kitchen and retired this year having headed catering and hospitality departments at Wakefield College and Leeds City College.
Credited with reinventing rhubarb as a key part of meals, Gordon’s catering skills spawned the annual Wakefield Rhubarb Festival – a red letter day on the calendar of most foodies.
Matthew Stroh: Has transformed historic railway society.
IT MAY be every boy’s dream to drive a steam engine but Matthew Stroh took his love of railways a stage further.
The chartered accountant devotes his spare time to his voluntary role as Keighley and Worth Valley Railway Society’s chairman. And his involvement in the landmark attraction has been recognised in the Yorkshire Post’s Christmas honours.
In the last three years, Mr Stroh has turned around the finances of the volunteer-run and managed railway, which sees more than 120,000 visitors a year. It has gone from making a loss of £50,000-£100,000 a year to a surplus of £200,000.
Lawrence Tomlinson: Chairman of LNT Group and Government adviser
Yorkshire entrepreneur Lawrence Tomlinson produced a report for the Government alleging that a division of RBS bank deliberately forced some small businesses to go bust in order to make bigger profits.
Business Secretary Vince Cable has passed on the findings to the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. RBS has appointed law firm Clifford Chance to examine the allegations.
Mr Tomlinson was previously best known as the entrepreneur behind Leeds-based LNT Group which spans diverse sectors including sports cars and care homes.
James Wainhouse: Founder of St Leonard’s Farm Park in Esholt
Few have pioneered outdoor education – and with such a wide array of animals – quite like James Wainhouse.
He transformed a former dairy farm into St Leonard’s Farm Park in Esholt and has welcomed more than a million guests to it over the past 18 years.
Until September it was a daily visitor attraction but visits have been scaled back to organised groups to give James and his wife Denise more time with their family.
James maintains that there is no way he could have achieved the same success without his wife’s input behind the scenes.
Jan Winter: Charity boss getting inner-city children to love reading
UNIVERSITY lecturer Jan Winter has launched a charity which has gifted more than 1,500 books to children in deprived parts of Bradford to help promote a love of reading.
Canterbury Imagine sends out one book a month to children up to the age of five on the Canterbury Estate. The scheme has also been extended to include children in care across the Bradford district. The charity is linked to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, which seeks to boost childhood literacy by sending books out to children. Canterbury Imagine’s two other trustees are businessman Stuart Hicks and former mayor Dale Smith.
Tour de France team: Led by tourism agency Welcome to Yorkshire
2014 is shaping up to be a momentous sporting year for Yorkshire as the region hosts the start of the Tour de France.
Led by tourism agency Welcome to Yorkshire, the region shrugged off domestic scepticism and international competition to secure one of the biggest prizes in world sport this year.
A Welcome to Yorkshire spokesman said: “The team at Welcome to Yorkshire feel very honoured to be mentioned in the Yorkshire Post’s list and successfully bidding for the Tour de France couldn’t have happened without the support of our partners – it’s one for the whole of Yorkshire.”
The Arctic Convoys: Yorkshire veterans who waited 70 years for medal
AS YOUNG men they risked their lives on a mission which Winston Churchill called the worst journey in the world.
But veterans from the West Riding branch of the Russian Convoy Club had to wait almost 70 years for their service to their country to be recognised.
This year the Government finally agreed to give service medals to the men who took part in the Arctic Convoys, travelling in sub-zero temperatures under attack from Nazi Germany, delivering supplies to Russia. The decision owed much to the dignified campaign of members of the Russian Convoy Club and veterans like them elsewhere.