We were inundated with entries for this year’s awards scheme and now announce the individuals and groups who have impressed the most in the categories of Champion Person, Young Person, Team, Volunteer and Sporting Champion in the Chester area.

On Friday, November 14, all of these winners have been invited to attend the Your Champions gala awards ceremony at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Chester when the overall winners in each of the categories will be announced.  Guest of honour is England goalkeeping legend Peter Shilton.

These overall champions will be chosen from the local winners in Chester, Flintshire, South Cheshire, Ellesmere Port, Runcorn & Widnes, Wirral and Wrexham.

Volunteer of the Year - Lee Challinor

Lee Challinor of Blacon Defibrillator Fund with vice chair Claire Nicholson-Reynolds, Bob Williams NWAS chief executive, and the group's secretary Melanie Lloyd, who is also Lee's partner
Lee Challinor of Blacon Defibrillator Fund with vice chair Claire Nicholson-Reynolds, Bob Williams NWAS chief executive, and the group's secretary Melanie Lloyd, who is also Lee's partner

A community-spirited family man’s tireless fundraising has made his neighbourhood a much safer place to be.

Lee Challinor, of Melbourne Road, Blacon , has raised thousands upon thousands of pounds to install 11 defibrillators across Blacon and Saughall.

The 34-year-old joiner spearheads Blacon Defibrillator Fund, which launched last year and was inspired by his own family’s experiences of heart conditions.

His eldest three children have pulmonary stenosis and his grandfather passed away from cardiac arrest in June.

Lee, who is backed by cardiac charity SADS UK, said: “Credit to Blacon, people have been absolutely fantastic in supporting us.

“I can honestly say that Blacon is a very safe place to have a cardiac arrest.”

Thanks to Blacon Defibrillator Fund, these £1,000 life-saving devices are now located at Blacon High School , Dee Point Primary School , Highfield Community Primary School , The Arches Community Primary School , J H Godwin Primary School , St Theresa’s Catholic Primary School , Blacon Children’s Centre, Blacon Youth Football Club, Saughall All Saints CE Primary School , Carlton Shopping Centre and Blacon Community Trust’s Kids Community Club.

The North West Ambulance Service awarded Lee, along with others from Blacon Defibrillator Fund, the Cardiac Smart Gold Award.

He has also won a Blacon Community Award for his work.

Lee, who said he was ‘overwhelmed and surprised’ to be nominated, added: “I’m the driving force but I have a team of people who work really hard too.”

Team of the Year - Chester Boughton Hall Cricket Club

Chester Boughton Hall players

Having already taken home four pieces of silverware this season, Chester Boughton Hall Cricket Club may be adding to their packed trophy cabinet soon thanks to their nomination for Team of the Year in the 2014 Trinity Mirror/ScottishPower Your Champions awards.

The team’s phenomenal performance over the past five months has seen it secure the Liverpool Echo Knockout Trophy, the National T20 Club cup, the Cheshire Cup and the Cheshire T20 trophy.

Arguably their biggest triumph was being crowned the kings of club T20 cricket in a competition which more than 800 teams entered at the beginning of the season.

It was the club’s first ever success at a national competition, which skipper Lee Dixon described as ‘probably the greatest achievement in the club’s proud history’.

The Filkins Lane side very nearly made it a clean sweep but were narrowly pipped to the county Premier League title by Hyde, in a battle that went down to the final day.

Lee added: “It has been superb, probably one of the most successful seasons we’ve had.

“To win four trophies in one year is amazing and the lads have been absolutely phenomenal all season.

“To do it with this group of guys has been extra special.

“What we have achieved has been miraculous and it has been a magical journey for all of us.

“For a club like ours if there was ever a time to be recognised over the whole of Chester, it’s now.

“The cricketing community have really got behind us.”

Young Champion - Maisy Versey

Jessica Versey and her sister Maisie

A courageous 10-year-old who donated bone marrow to save her beloved older sister’s life has won Chester Young Person of the Year.

Blacon youngster Maisy Versey underwent the procedure to help her 19-year-old sibling Jessica, who was diagnosed with the blood cancer acute myeloid leukaemia earlier this year.

When Jessica failed to respond to chemotherapy, a rare stem cell tranplant became her only chance of a cure and so in stepped Maisy - the only family member who was a match.

Jessica said her little sister had wanted to be the donor from ‘day one’.

“She always used to say how exciting it would be to be able to help me and when we found out, I was in hospital so I rang Maisy and told her the news. I honestly wish I could have recorded it, as she squealed down the phone and kept shouting and screaming with excitement,” she said.

“Then she started crying and my dad had to take the phone off her; it was a very special moment. Once she settled down she sent me a beautiful text saying how happy she was to be a match and how much she loved me.

“She’s honestly the most amazing girl I’ve ever met; her understanding of the situation and how she takes it in her stride is amazing - I couldn’t be more proud,” she added.

The girls’ mum Jane said: “My husband Dave and I are so proud of both Jess and Maisy - this is such a big thing for Maisy to do but she understands. We are incredibly proud.”

Person of the Year - Helen Rimmer MBE

Helen Rimmer MBE celebrates 30 years of service at Ashton Hayes Post Office #
 

An Ashton Hayes woman who set up the village post office in her own home in 1984 and celebrated 30 years of serving her community earlier this year has been nominated for a Your Champions award 2014.

Helen Rimmer MBE even had her garage converted to provide a larger and more secure location for the Post Office branch in 2002. The community stalwart was made an MBE in 2011 in the Queen’s Birthday Honours and received her long service award from the Post Office in February this year. Now she has been nominated for the Champion Person category in this year’s awards.

Over the years, she has overseen the launch of the Ashton Hayes Timebank, which allows villagers to swap time to help each other out.

If a neighbour needs help mowing their lawn, for example, they can offer to do someone else’s ironing.

And during the winter, the service also provides Snow Angels who are happy to clear paths and driveways of snow.

Helen said: “Having this help to hand means that elderly and vulnerable members of our community are better able to stay in their homes rather than having to move into residential care.

“For me, this community service is the best part of the job.”

Sporting Champion - Amy Truesdale

Amy Truesdale
Amy Truesdale

Para tae kwon-do champion Amy Truesdale is rounding off a phenomenal year – in which she’s claimed world and European titles – by winning Chester Sporting Champion of the Year.

Amy, who lives in Hoole and trains at Stoke United Tae Kwon-Do Association, won gold at the World Para Tae Kwon-Do Championships in Moscow in July, adding to her European crown.

The 25-year-old was born with the lower part of her left arm missing and took up the Korean martial art aged eight, encouraged by her parents who felt it was important for her to keep fit and build confidence.

Inspiring youngsters to learn tae kwon-do has earned her a certificate from the World Tae Kwon-Do Federation (WTF) for her role in the progression of the sport.

“It makes me very proud to have my efforts in trying to raise the awareness and the profile of the sport recognised by the WTF,” Amy said.

Fully-qualified instructor Amy, who holds tae kwon-do classes at Hoole Community Centre on Friday evenings, added: “I think it’s been a really good year and I’m really happy with my fighting.

“It’s great that I can show people that just because they have arms missing doesn’t mean they can’t achieve anything.”

When she’s not fighting to add to her medal collection, she’s fighting to have tae kwon-do included in the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

“I definitely think it has a great chance of being included as a lot of work has been done in the past few months,” Amy said.