HERE we reveal the five Ellesmere Port winners in this year's Trinity Mirror/ScottishPower Your Champions awards.
On Friday they will go up against their counterparts in the Chester, Flintshire, Wirral, Runcorn & Widnes and South Cheshire areas to be named overall champions in the categories of Person, Team, Sporting, Volunteer and Young Person.
CATEGORY: CHAMPION OF THE YEAR WINNER: CAPTAIN DAVE O'BRIEN
AN ELLESMERE Port community stalwart who set up a regular lunch club for the elderly and disabled has won the Person of the Year award. It’s been almost 17 years since Captain Dave O’Brien, 64, started the Food For Thought lunch clubs through St Thomas’ Church, Ellesmere Port, and back then there were just 16 volunteers. Nowadays there are almost 90 people helping out with cooking two course lunches each week and organising day trips across the country. Dave, a Church Army Captain, is also the driving force behind the Community Transport Scheme, which offers a minibus service for residents with mobility problems, which picks them up and brings them to the church for lunch.
CATEGORY: SPORTING CHAMPION OF THE YEAR WINNER: LIZ TUNNA
ONE of Ellesmere Port’s brightest sporting stars has been named Sporting Champion of the Year. At just 25, sprinter Liz Tunna is the youngest female in the UK to complete more than 100 marathons. Liz’s running achievements include the Chester, Malvern Hills Ultra, Grand Union Canal Ultra and the Brathay Windermere marathons – the latter of which she ran a record 10 times in just 10 days. The former Whitby High School student, of Little Sutton, only started running five years ago, and in that time has raised thousands of pounds for charities, including The Brathay Trust and Claire House. Liz was nominated in the Sporting Champion of the Year category by her grandmother Lilian Tunna, who said her granddaughter was ‘amazing in her running ability’.
CATEGORY: CHAMPION TEAM OF THE YEAR WINNER: NORTHERN LIGHTS
BRINGING joy to seriously ill children is the driving force for a charity which is the winner of the Team of the Year award. Neston-based children’s charity was formed 25 years ago to give youngsters with a life-threatening illness the chance to go on holiday to a luxury resort in Lapland and meet Father Christmas. It was set up in memory of Alan Johnson’s five-year-old son Christopher, who developed a brain tumour and sadly passed away, and the charity continued from there. The annual trip is made in December and the team takes 12 children aged six-11, along with two nurses and four adults. An average trip costs £20,000 so funds are raised throughout the year by supporters of the charity.
CATEGORY: YOUNG CHAMPION OF THE YEAR WINNER: FINN KINSELLA
A SCHOOLBOY from Ellesmere Port who has spent the last year battling a life-threatening brain tumour is our Young Champion of the Year. Seven-year-old Finn Kinsella, of Stoke Gardens, Ellesmere Port, is now on the road to recovery after undergoing specialist radiotherapy in America earlier this year. The treatment is a form of radiotherapy only available in the USA, which was hoped to give Finn an 80% survival chance. Happily, his parents say the treatment went well and Finn’s tumour has not grown any bigger. The Our Lady’s Star of the Sea Catholic Primary School pupil returned to school before term ended and, although still has to have regular scans every three months, is slowly getting back to normal. Earlier this year Finn’s friends and family rallied together through various charity fundraising events, raising £8,000 to support his family throughout the gruelling treatment. His mother Anna said: “He really is such a little hero – a superstar who just gets on with everything. He’s so brave.”
CATEGORY: CHAMPION VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR WINNER: OLIVE MINORS
COMMUNITY stalwart Olive Minors is the winner of this year’s Volunteer of the Year. The vice president of the Hospice of the Good Shepherd is also chairwoman of Chester Guide Dogs for the Blind and has played significant roles in Chester Flower Club and the Mollington Support Group. Mrs Minors, who lives in Mollington, has already received a prestigious accolade for her tireless community efforts this year, when she was made an MBE in the New Year Honours list.