SIGN UP for our newsletter ✉️ :

Get the latest stories delivered straight to you

BBC Make a Difference winners toast community contribution

All the winners of MAD awards
The winners celebrated at a special event staged at West Midlands Safari Park

Eight winners have been presented with BBC Hereford and Worcester Make a Difference awards.

They have been recognised for the contribution they have made to their local community in a range of categories.

BBC Make a Difference started during the coronavirus pandemic to highlight good work being done by people in their communities.

Categories include carers, volunteers, community groups and environmentalists.

The finalists across the eight categories were invited to celebrate with the winners at West Midland Safari Park.

Sophie Walker
Sophie Walker has epilepsy and autism and was bullied growing up

The Bravery award went to Sophie Walker.

Ms Walker has epilepsy and autism and was bullied as she was growing up, but has qualified to become a staff nurse on a vascular ward, after completing a course at the University of Worcester.

She also helps her mother who is receiving palliative care, her veteran father who has PTSD, her brother who also has autism and her grandmother.


The people who nominated her said she always put others before herself.

Ms Walker, who has just graduated from university, said: "I am speechless, I can't believe I've won. This means the world to me... everything I can do for my family means the world to me.

"It's been one hell of a week."

Roger Gurney
Roger Gurney won the volunteer award for serving in his local parish hall for 50 years

Roger Gurney, from Powick, was declared the winner in the Volunteer category.

He has served as secretary to the local parish hall for 50 years and has helped thousands of local people.

Mr Gurney was described as "an unsung, unpaid hero - no cape, but just a laptop, diary, printer, and a solid steadfast to the community".

Worcester Street Cafe.
Community group Worcester Street Cafe was set up by a couple of friends six years ago

The winner in the Community Group category was Worcester Street Cafe.

It was set up by a couple of friends six years ago, originally working from the back of a van in Copenhagen Street.

The cafe now has a permanent base in Trinity Street, providing hot meals, along with "goodie bags" for healthy breakfast meals and also food on Christmas Day.

Colin Barrett
Colin Barrett's grandson was born with half a heart

The Fundraiser of the year was Colin Barrett, from Droitwich, who has been supporting the charity Little Hearts Matter for nearly 20 years, after his grandson was born with half a working heart.

Mr Barrett has not only helped raise awareness for the heart condition, but has raised more than £20,000 with his more recent initiatives.

That includes recruiting a team of grandparents to complete a half marathon together with him.

Mr Barrett said winning the award was "very humbling".

Vicky Tramontana
Vicky Tramontana said life is hard at home and she puts everything into her work

The Carer award was presented to Vicky Tramontana, from Rock near Abberley.

As well as working as a full-time carer for people with Alzheimer's and dementia in her village, she also cares for a family member at home.

"She loves her job and really connects with the individuals in her care, organising meals, trips, walks, dancing and singing sessions," awards ceremony guests were told.

"The village describes her as 'our Queen of Hearts'."

Allison Spink
Allison Spink said she was very humbled to have won

Allison Spink, from Worcester, was chosen as the Great Neighbour of the Year.

She was described as her community's local Womble for several years, organising the annual street party and assisting neighbours with young families during the school holidays.

Those who know her say she continuously improves everyone's day, even whilst undergoing treatment for cancer.

She said she was very humbled to have won the award.

Green award winners
Worcester Community Garden as more than 100 volunteers

The Green award went to Worcester Community Garden.

It has more than 100 volunteers and they have transformed a strip of land that is frequently hit by floods, growing fruit and veg alongside a medicinal garden, polytunnels and beehives.

The group then donate produce to good causes and also run seed swap events and various gardening courses.

Stephanie Phillips
Stephanie Phillips founded World Childless Week in 2017

Stephanie Phillips, from Worcester, won the Together award for supporting thousands of people all over the world who are unable to have children.

She founded World Childless Week in 2017, and it now involves people from more than 100 countries.

They share their own stories with each other, to give them a community and show them they are not alone.

Follow BBC West Midlands on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Send your story ideas to: