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Winners of Pride of Stratford Awards announced

Escape Arts group who won Educator of the Year.
Escape Arts group who won Educator of the Year.

The winners for this year’s Pride of Stratford District Awards supported by Sitel were announced last weekend with Escape Arts as Educator of the Year among the winners.

While the Stratford District Pride Award went to the Hedgehog Friendly Town the Community Impact Award with Stratford Town Trust went to the Stratford Foodbank.

The awards were held at the Stratford’s Crowne Plaza on Friday 9th February at a glittering ceremony hosted by Touch FM’s Breakfast Show, presenters Si Alexander and Ollie Gallant.

The awards, organised by local radio station 102 Touch FM, celebrated the best businesses, individuals and community organisations across the district and their achievements and was attended by over 350 people.

Steve Orchard, Chief Executive of Touch FM, and one of the judges said: “this year we celebrated the seventh Pride of Stratford Awards and all sectors of our area; community, business and public have supported us magnificently. These prestigious awards have grown to become the “must attend” highlights of the district’s calendar. They provide a platform for what would otherwise remain untold stories. These stories are about achievement, citizenship, teamwork, excellence and community spirit."

2018 Winners

Business of the Year with Stratford Business Forum

Winner: Dallas Burston Polo Club

Small Business of the Year with Wasps

Winner: Warwick Events

Business Person of the Year with the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce

Winner: Paul and Rhiain Foster- Salt

Hospitality Business with Crowne Plaza

Winner: The One Elm

Town Centre with Stratforward

Winner: Gemini

Team of the Year with Touch FM

Winners: Sitel and & Shakespeare’s Schoolroom and Guildhall

Customer Care Award with Shakespeare’s England

Winners: Marcus Roofing and Welcombe Care

Artisan Award with Table Art

Winner: Hooray’s British Gelato Kitchen

Arts Organisation of the Year with The RSC

Winner: In2Cultures

Tourism Initiative

Winner: Stratford River Festival


Winner: ILEAP


Winner: Matt Beacham

Long Service Volunteer with Stratford District Council

Winner: Mike Strophair

Educator of the Year

Winner: Escape Arts

Young Achiever of the Year

Winners: Jack Sumners and Sophie Evans-Lee

Community Impact Award with Stratford Town Trust

Winners: The Stratford Foodbank

Stratford District Pride Award with Sitel

Winner: Hedgehog Friendly Town

Four Special Awards were presented to:

David Beacham Citation:

At 83 years young, he is working in the same town centre business he set up 60 years ago. There have been times you would have forgiven him for giving up. His family home of some fifty years burnt to the ground in 2013….just at the precise moment his wife was diagnosed with cancer

After moving to temporary accommodation, they were flooded out twice; once on Christmas Eve. The following February his wife passed away.

Throughout this time, this remarkable gentleman continued to serve his customers at his business and the shop continues to be open today.

He is well respected in the town for his strong work ethic and loved dearly by his family who he has supported throughout.

Janice Heritage Citation:

The next Special Award is for an individual that has been working in a volunteering capacity since 1976 with the Stratford Cubs and Scouts. For over 40 years she has supported and given guidance to literally hundreds of young people. Her dedication and commitment have enabled generations of youngsters throughout the area to continue to make new friends and develop valuable life skills. Some of whom are probably now adults in this room tonight.

This individual continues to be involved in fund raising and group social events, she is always available to help, and ensures that the children learn new things in both a correct and safe way. She’s also been instrumental in the development of the Group, including fundraising for a new kitchen and creating disabled access.

Jo Wheelwright Horn Citation:

The recipient of our next award lost her mother a few years ago to a brain tumour. The family was devastated, and this individual was left with a huge void in her life. In such circumstances, many of us would struggle to cope but this remarkable lady decided that she would help others by fundraising for Brain Tumour support.

She also created a monthly Sunday lunch support group because she is a strong believer in the foundation of a family and that nobody should eat Sunday lunch alone.

In less than 12 months the group has grown from 23 to over 250 members. It offers friendship and companionship to members of all ages from all walks of life and each event also raises funds for Brain Tumour Support.

Her endless hard work and enthusiasm has helped bring together an amazing and ever-growing network of friends in the Stratford area and has enhanced the lives of many.

Citation: Dr Diana Owen

Our final special award is for an individual who has offered outstanding leadership in the development of the most important cultural icon of our town. Through her leadership, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has achieved incredible results and an astounding transformation of the organisation over the last 10 years. Her term with SBT is at an end and she has left the team with what has been described as a “legacy of an engaged, strong and optimistic organisation.”

This individual has transformed the Trust into an inclusive charity that has put Shakespeare and his home town of Stratford-upon-Avon on the world stage. She has forged successful partnerships and created new opportunities for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to enjoy Shakespeare.

Her involvement in the 400th Birthday Celebrations played its part in bringing over 10,000 visitors to our town and attracted a host of celebrities and royalty to take part in the celebrations. With the creation of resources such as Shakespeare Documented- an online source for primary school children and Shakespeare Lives - a global programme celebrating Shakespeare’s works, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust ensures an ongoing library of his works for generations to come.

Most recently she has led the successful completion of the Trust’s biggest project for 50 years, the re-presentation of Shakespeare’s New Place, the most enduring celebration of Shakespeare’s legacy created anywhere in the world to mark the 400th anniversary of his death in 2016.

Her clear vision and commitment towards The Birthplace Trust has been paramount in creating the successful and thriving charity that we see here today.

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