Pride of Jersey 2020 finalists revealed!

A staggering 36,887 votes were cast – easily topping the 27,397 lodged last year – for the 153 people who were nominated across 14 categories.

The three individuals who received the most votes in each category will now be judged by a panel comprising a previous winner, a representative of the award’s sponsor and a JEP staff member.

All three finalists will be invited to an awards ceremony early next year where the winner will receive a prize worth £1,000 from their category sponsor.

The finalists in each category are:

AMBASSADOR OF THE YEAR

  • Becky Houzé, of Lodge Farm in St Saviour, was nominated by John Garton for promoting dairy farming in Jersey and further afield. Becky educates her online audience about real farm life through her large following on her Instagram page, jerseycowgirl. She also starred in Visit Jersey’s 2019 festive public relations campaign to promote the Island and is an active supporter of the Royal Jersey Agricultural and Horticultural Society’s Cultivate Young Minds initiative.

  • Consultant Neil MacLachlan has worked in Jersey’s Assisted Reproductive Unit for over 30 years, and is due to retire this January. He was put forward by Tracey Somerville, one of Mr MacLachlan’s former patients, for the high level of care she received from him while undergoing IVF treatment 19 times.

  • Hugo De Castro, who has worked as the concierge at the Grand Jersey Hotel & Spa for nearly 40 years, was nominated by Lyn McGovern for providing an outstanding service to the visitors of Jersey. She said Hugo worked tirelessly to look after hotel guests, remembering all of their names and even keeping a bucket and spade in the back for young visitors.

ANGEL OF THE YEAR

  • Eighty-year-old Mo (Maurice) Marquer was nominated by Stephen McGrath for his volunteering at Jersey Hospice Care. Mo comforts residents by telling tales, reading stories and playing cards and board games with them. Mo has also been involved in the Jersey Hospice Care Dragon Boat Festival, completed a volunteering trip to Uganda and raised money by completing the Around the Island Walk ten times.

  • Janni Boon, who was nominated by his mother, Samantha Boon, works full-time at Skills Jersey, helping young Islanders to find a sense of purpose. Janni also works in the evenings and weekends for Autism Jersey, helps young adults through working with Children’s Services, and has given up time on Christmas Day to work as a volunteer for the Samaritans.

  • Marge McFarlane works for Mencap, helping people with learning disabilities, autism and complex needs. She is a support worker to Alicia Mead, who nominated her for going above and beyond to listen and give advice. Marge has also helped other charities such as Healing Waves, which runs sea-based activities for disabled people, and Tommy’s the Baby Charity.

CHILD OF THE YEAR

  • Fourteen-year-old Hamish Brodie was nominated by his music teacher, Claire Harvey, for his remarkable achievements in music. Hamish began writing songs after the loss of his mother. He had never taken a music exam before but used lockdown to practise every day and then passed his Grade 8 piano exam with top marks – after just four weeks of preparation.

  • Amelia Gent, daughter of Danny and Lynda Gent, was born at 28 weeks, weighing just 600 grams. Amelia was nominated by Emma Jane Griffiths, who explained that Amelia was truly a miracle and continued to strive and get stronger each and every day.

  • Fourteen-year-old Ocean Brown, nominated by her mother, Nicola Brown, raised £2,500 for Jersey Hospice by swimming 21 miles in memory of her friend, the late long-distance swimmer Charlie Gravett. She also took part in the Junior Round Island Relay, swimming with five other teenagers last month, raising a further £2,200 for Healing Waves on the day.

COMMUNITY CHAMPION OF THE YEAR

  • Cheyenne O’Connor works to track down sexual predators by posing as a child online and is a dedicated fundraiser for Jersey Action Against Rape. She also supported her nominator, Daisy Gordon, when Daisy’s sexual attacker was being sentenced a year and a half ago.

  • Journalist and broadcaster Gary Burgess was nominated by Caroline Spencer for the part he played in the local media during the coronavirus crisis. Gary reported on the pandemic for ITV Channel Television, commented in the JEP and had a continual presence on social media.

  • Brighter Futures was nominated by Sharon Betts for the work it carries out supporting over 1,600 families. The organisation supports parents, families and young people in Jersey with issues including poverty, disadvantage, social isolation, wellbeing, postnatal depression, stress, anxiety, domestic abuse and substance abuse.

CUSTOMER SERVICE EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR

  • Veterinary duo Ben Benander and Peter Howarth were nominated by Paul Holt for saving the life of his very sick Jack Russell, Jessie. Jessie was diagnosed with a high-grade cancer and given very little chance of survival but, through treatment from vets Mr Benander and Mr Howarth, she was able to make a good recovery.

  • Daniele Di Pietro is the manager at Chordz Coffee shop at West’s Centre. He is described as giving ‘the best customer service in the whole of Jersey’ by his nominator, 13-year-old Thomas Pearce. Daniele is always so happy to greet all his customers and knows nearly all of them by their first name.

  • Magda Bochen teaches pilates at Jersey Active. Her nominator, Jane Le Quesne, said that Magda was so popular that her classes at Springfield were usually full within seven seconds. At Christmas Magda writes a card for each person,which she attaches with ribbon to a Christmas-tree decoration.

DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION CHAMPION

  • Beresford Street Kitchen was nominated by Adelina d’Orleans for providing opportunities for young people and adults with learning disabilities. The café provides pre-employment work placements, traineeships and an apprenticeship scheme to offer people with learning disabilities and autism the chance to develop workplace skills.

  • Journalist Gary Burgess, who is also nominated in the Community Champion category, was put forward for this award by Abi Harris, who said she knew how strongly he felt about diversity and inclusion in society. Gary and his husband were the first gay couple to convert their civil partnership to marriage. He is a vocal campaigner both in his personal and professional life.

  • Abigail Atkinson teaches English at Jersey College for Girls and has been nominated by Jade Ecobichon-Gray for creating awareness of the Black Lives Matter Movement. Abigail engages students and teachers in inclusive discussions about black history and she also spoke at Jersey’s Black Lives Matter demonstration in the People’s Park earlier this year.

ENVIRONMENTALIST(S) OF THE YEAR

  • Roberta Ross dedicates her spare time and uses her own salary to run Jersey Wildlife Rescue, which she founded to help rehabilitate local wildlife. She was nominated by Kim Koester from Action for Wildlife Jersey, which made a donation to Roberta’s rescue centre after hearing she was running an overdraft in an effort keep the sanctuary running.

  • Jersey Mencap, a charity which supports children and adults with learning difficulties, has been nominated by Robert Kelly following its Pond Project at La Ferme. The pond has provided an opportunity for individuals with learning difficulties to undertake some meaningful work experience and gain skills in conservation.

  • Jersey Dairy (the Jersey Milk Marketing Board) has become the first dairy industry in the world to achieve the LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) accreditation. Piers Sangan, who nominated the group, explained that all the Jersey Dairy farms now had biodiversity enhancement plans to monitor, improve and protect the biodiversity found on their farms.

GRANDPARENT(S) OF THE YEAR

  • Gwen and Barry Blampied, aged 82 and 86, have three children, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. They were nominated by their daughter Tina Palmer, who described them as the backbone of the family. Gwen worked as a lunchtime monitor at Bel Royal Nursery for 13 years, and Barry was a milkman for 35 years.

  • Jean Wilson was nominated by her daughter, Michelle Barker, who emphasised that Jean holds their family together. Jean has nine grandchildren, who she takes on adventures exploring woods and looking for animals. Jean also supports her four children and their partners, helping with the child care, delivering hot meals and always being there to chat.

  • Elena Faiz and her husband, Farouq Faiz, contracted Covid-19 at the same time earlier this year. The pair were nominated by her granddaughter Zara Faiz. Elena spent five weeks in hospital. Farouq sadly passed away, but while he was in a nursing home Elena would call him every day and go to see him at least twice a day to make sure he was not lonely.

INSPIRATIONAL LEADER OF THE YEAR

  • Mark Baker is a motivational speaker who mentors both children and adults. He was nominated by Richard O’Connor for his unwavering leadership within the Jersey community. Richard’s father passed away when he was 17 and he emphasised that had it not been for Mark, he would not have known about the personal development material he has used and relied upon for years.

  • Dr Ivan Muscat, Jersey’s deputy medical officer of health, was nominated by Louise Journeaux for his outstanding leadership since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Louise said that Dr Muscat displayed great knowledge, willingness to work all hours and the ability to seek views from others, which enabled him to lead in a way that had directly benefited every Islander.

  • Husband-and-wife Mick and Christine Marett were nominated by Terry, Angela and Andrew Journeaux for their work with the Jersey Scout Band. Mick is a founding member of the band, having marched in its first public outing on Liberation Day in 1970. Christine joined soon after. The couple now run the band together and have led youngsters to perform in Jersey, France and the UK.

MENTAL HEALTH CHAMPION OF THE YEAR

  • Andy Le Seelleur founded the charity Thrive Jersey – which works to tackle mental illness – after his wife, Monika, took her own life in 2016. He was nominated by Matt Claxton for his fearless campaigning and raising awareness of the scale of mental-health problems in Jersey.

  • Mental-health nurse John Clark was nominated by Eóin and Katy Brennan for working tirelessly and under tough conditions to help those in the community with mental-health problems. Over the course of the pandemic, John’s workload increased, but he continued to work on the frontline, visiting his out-patients – at great personal risk – to keep up to date with them and check how they were coping.

  • Amy Hall, a youth participation worker at Mind Jersey, was nominated by April Langlois for working to support young people across the Island. During lockdown Amy would go out of her way – visiting, phoning, and setting up Zoom calls – to ensure that young people, along with their families, were getting the support they needed. Amy also helps run a group called Youthful Minds, working with young volunteers to improve mental-health services in Jersey.

NEIGHBOUR OF THE YEAR

  • Kayleigh Carson was nominated for the support she gave to her nominator, Mandi Corley-Harris, and her family, during lockdown. Mandi and her family had to go into isolation for nearly 12 weeks and Kayleigh supported them by doing their shopping, picking up any medication they needed and giving them gifts to cheer them up, all while working full-time at Beresford Street Kitchen and at another job at Café Spice.

  • Lorraine Bizouarn was nominated by Carol Sellars for providing help to the elderly residents where she lives. Lorraine suffers from rheumatoid arthritis but still cooks meals and distributes them to residents. At Christmas, she put up a tree and helped to do up the communal garden. Lorraine is also an a former nurse, so will go with residents to hospital appointments to help them understand the information they are given.

  • Lesley Daniell was put forward by her neighbour Teresa Crocker, who has lived next door to her for over 30 years. When Teresa is away on trips, Ms Daniell looks after Teresa’s house, collects the post, feeds the fish, waters the plants and takes her to the Airport. During lockdown, Ms Daniell also made face masks for any neighbours who needed them.

TEACHER OF THE YEAR

  • Ali Russell, a wellbeing worker at Rouge Bouillon School, was nominated by Jade Burt, whose daughter Amelia (7) is in Year 3 at the school. Jade explained that Amelia was receiving professional help, as on some days she would refuse to go into school, but that Ali had been supporting her through this. Jade added that Ali goes the extra mile and was always on hand whenever Jade rang the school for a quick chat.

  • Lisa Paul – the head teacher at Mont Nicolle primary school – was nominated by Glenda Budworth and her daughter Dolly-Rae (5), who is in Year 1 at the school. During lockdown, Lisa created live ‘story times’ that she shared each day on Facebook. Lisa was also not afraid to try new initiatives, one of which involved the Reception class attending a local nursing home during winter to sing Christmas carols to the residents, prior to Covid-19.

  • JCG Prep teacher Katerina Byrne was nominated by Karin Lynch – whose son, George, was in Mrs Byrne’s class last year – for her innovative teaching methods and patience during lockdown. Katerina went to the effort of recording stories for her class to listen to at night time. She also gave feedback online via a platform called Seesaw, and was always thinking of imaginative things for the pupils to do – all while looking after her own children at home.

VOLUNTEER/FUNDRAISER OF THE YEAR

  • Will Highfield works five days a week at Jersey Zoo but also volunteers to help with the gorillas in the evenings and on his days off. He was nominated by Natacha Pallot, who explained that Will has run various races, dressed in a full gorilla suit, to raise money for the Zoo. He has also engaged in numerous fundraising activities – from organising quiz nights, to training on a running machine – with the aim of raising money for a new gorilla enclosure, and more recently to help keep Jersey Zoo open following the disruption caused by Covid-19.

  • Rachel Scott-Renouf was nominated by Jane Simpson for raising money for local charities while battling a terminal illness. Rachel has cancer, but has continued to paint rocks for her fundraising Facebook page, ‘Rachel’s Painted Rocks’. By auctioning her creations she has raised over £9,000, which she has distributed to local charities, including the JSPCA, Macmillan Jersey, Jersey Cheshire Homes and many more.

  • Pete Wright was nominated by Pam Aubert for completing a series of adventurous challenges to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support Jersey. Pete first became involved with Macmillan when his mother was diagnosed with cancer of the gallbladder. His fundraising efforts have included pulling a one-ton car 26.2 miles, two back-to-back indoor rowathons covering 60km, and a calendar running challenge that involved him running one mile on 1 May, two miles on the 2nd, and so on, culminating with a 31-mile run on 31 May.

YOUNG AMBASSADOR OF THE YEAR

  • Eighteen-year-old Jay Cracknell was nominated by Richard Heaven for supporting the staff of St Clement’s school when it closed in March by helping to run its provision for children of essential workers and vulnerable families. Jay worked with children from nursery age up to Year 6, providing innovative PE sessions, which ranged from traditional sports to a ten-pin bowling competition using recycled and painted ukulele boxes.

  • Jack Rondel (18) was nominated by his brother, James Rondel, for going above and beyond, despite losing his father – the late Deputy Richard Rondel – to cancer. Jack began speaking to the Jersey Youth Service when his father became ill, and is now encouraging others to speak up if they feel they need to and not to keep their feelings to themselves. Jack also organised a walk in 2018, along with his brothers, which raised £20,000 for cancer charities Friends of Jersey Oncology and Cancer Research UK.

  • Luke du Val (21), who was nominated by Carmel Butel, has a disability which leaves him wheelchair bound, but he has not let this interfere with the completion of a three-year degree at Plymouth University. He recently graduated with first-class honours and also wrote a blog during his time at university that was designed to inspire other young disabled people. Luke is a member of the Jersey Youth Service senior drama club, but also helps with the group’s junior sessions.