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Celebrating your superstars

Oh what a night!

Friday evening saw the BBC Radio Somerset 'Make a Difference' Superstars Awards take place.

I hosted the awards show with Luke Knight and we were honoured to share some of the stories of the people you nominated - people who have gone above and beyond in your communities over the past six months.

From Glastonbury to Taunton, to Frome and back again, it was brilliant speaking to the incredible people you nominated from all across the county.

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Saying thank you to superstars from all over the county

We spoke to 7-year-old Ellis Rankin, who raised £2,731 for Parkinsons UK because he didn't want people to "miss out on their medicine" due to Covid - and if you ever need a zoom quiz hosted for 50 people or more, Ellis is definitely your guy!

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7-year-old zoom quizmaster Ellis, raising money for Parkinsons UK

11-year-old Flynn Hedges achieved amazing things on his bike too, raising over £1,300 to help Love Musgrove.

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Fantastic Flynn, a real Somerset Superstar

We learned more about dedicated volunteer Andrew Newland who has done so much for his local community, super fundraiser Christian Coates and his triathlon challenge for We Hear You, and the story that had me in tears more than once was told by Delores Osbourne. Her son, Mike, has muscular dystrophy and as Delores said, Mike would have certainly died had he contracted Covid. That was why it was so critical for carers Becki Ratcliffe and Julie Duffy to move in and care for him. They did that with no thought for themselves, without seeing their families during that time and it "literally meant life" to Mike.

We also congratulated Chris Dando and Evette Chapmen on getting a GWR train named after them - an actual, real life train. Oh yes!

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Chris was surprised by his family and BBC Somerset, with a picture of the train... for now!

What can you say about Chris? He moved into Court House Retirement Home in Cheddar to care for the residents 24/7. He was separated from his wife and daughter for over 80 days and this selfless act of protection and all Chris' hard work and positivity during that time and beyond, definitely needed recognising. His team were all absolute stars too.

Super postie Evette, encouraged her Royal Mail colleagues to get out the fancy dress to deliver the post - putting smiles on everyones faces and raising money for the Love Musgrove Covid-19 Response Fund at the same time. She also arranged for a fleet of postal vans to deliver a very special surprise for a little girl about to have a major heart operation.

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Delivering a special surprise to Ella before her heart surgery

And there were more surprises in store on the night too, as Mary-Clare Rodwell, the High Sherriff of Somerset, created some very special recognition awards to give out to people who have really made a difference. Tanya Moore, Ginny Adams, Karma McKenzie, Amanda Young and Paul Banwell were the first recipients of this new recognition... and the line of the night for me, was when Ginny (AKA the awesome Cheryl Sprinkler) said she was:

"as nervous now as I was when I met Morten Harkett in 1982!"

Love it, Ms Sprinklerl! ;)

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Cheryl received High Sherrif recognition for making people laugh, whilst helping to keep minds and bodies healthy

The one thing that united every nominee wasn't their love of AHA though (believe it or not ;)) it's that none of them did these incredible things for any recognition whatsoever and that's what made Friday so special - thanking the real unsung heroes of Somerset.

Well, if you missed it, never fear because you can hear all these stories and many more by listening back to the two hour awards show right here.

Just head one hour into the show, as it begins at 7pm/at the 60 minute mark.

Grab a cuppa, sit back and listen to a very special starry night.

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Jenna and Luke celebrating at a social distance ;) on BBC Radio Somerset

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Discover more about Biscuit bear's antics in his Castle Cary front garden, before he heads off into space!


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