ACHIEVEMENT, determination, positivity, success and heroism were the main themes of the night at the 2019 Pride of Sedgemoor Awards.

The McMillan Theatre in Bridgwater was the venue for the annual presentation evening, which saw 12 of the district's finest collect awards.

Host and editor of the Bridgwater Mercury and Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News, Paul Jones, said: "It was a brilliant night - it's a pleasure to be able to recognise just some of the amazing work that goes on in Sedgemoor.

"All of our winners bring something special to the district and long may it continue.

"I can't thank everyone who took part enough, from everyone who submitted a nomination, to the winners and our sponsors, particularly our main sponsor, Bridgwater & Taunton College, who also hosted us at the amazing McMillan.

"Here's to many more years of recognising the very best of Sedgemoor."

Below is a round-up of the winners - and details of their awards...

Outstanding Award, sponsored by LocalIQ
Winner: Aymeric Huguerre

This is The West Country:

WINNER: Aymeric Huguerre, right, with Richard Brooks, from LocalIQ

AYMERIC is the head gardener at the Cannington Walled Gardens, and on March 29, he was morning the lawn as normal when something happened.

Little known to Aymeric, 82-year-old Brian Cable was in the tea rooms, and he had suffered a massive heart attack.

Staff rushed to find Aymeric – the site’s first aider – and he rushed to the scene.

He battled for what he said felt like hours to save Brian’s life.

Several times, he thought he’d lost the battle.

But he kept going, giving CPR and hoping for signs that Brian would make it.

The air ambulance arrived to find Brian alive. Aymeric had saved his life.

He went on holiday the next day, still not knowing whether Brian had pulled through…

He did, and both parties were at the awards evening.

The family says they will be forever linked through Aymeric’s brave and determined efforts that day.

It’s an emotional story – and Brian and Aymeric met again for the first time recently…


Community Hero Award, sponsored by Amicus Law
Winner: Diogo Rodrigues

This is The West Country:
WINNER: Diogo Rodrigues, right, with Stephen Forsey of Amicus Law

When discussing anything going on in the community, the name of Diogo Rodrigues – or ‘the mayor’ as he will forever be known to many, always comes up.

He’s recently passed on his chains to the next mayor of Bridgwater, so it’s only right that the awards paid tribute to his great community work…


Education Award, sponsored by Bridgwater & Taunton College
Winner: Michelle Boddington

This is The West Country:

WINNER: Michelle Boddington with Bridgwater & Taunton College Principle, Andy Berry

When asked who would be likely to win an Education award, many would immediately think of teachers, or school officials.

But our winner has a rather different role to play in the education system – one many people don’t even know exists, but that plays a huge part in making sure young people get precisely to where they need to be…


Carnival Hero Award, sponsored by Keepmoat Homes
Winner: Malcolm Cattle

This is The West Country:

WINNER: Malcolm Cattle, right, with Richard Young of Keepmoat Homes

It’s the greatest show on Earth, a spectacle like no other...

And so we thought it only fair to create our Carnival Hero Award, sponsored by Keepmoat Homes.

With so many people doing such fantastic work to put on Bridgwater Carnival each year, it really was a difficult choice when selecting the winner of our award.

But looking back through the archives and listening to people in the know, one name did keep coming up.

Malcolm Cattle.


Business of the Year Award, sponsored by Bridgwater Town Team
Winner: Cow n Bun

This is The West Country:

WINNER: Mark Studley of Cow n Bun with Rose Stacey from Bridgwater Town Team

The outlook for business at the moment is uncertain. Brexit, business rates, the budget, they all seem to bring bad news for so many of our small - and not-so-small - firms.

But there are, right on our doorstep, some stories of success – and that is what our Business of the Year Award, sponsored by the Bridgwater Town Team, aimed to recognise.

Our winner – Cow n Bun – as with so many success stories, started with someone at home, with a passion.

Mark Studley loves what he calls ‘dirty burgers’. He loved them so much, he started making his own.

And others like them too, so he started making them for his friends.

Then he started getting orders, so started making them for more people and delivering them…

It all led to Cow n Bun being born…


Young Person of the Year Award, sponsored by Tamlyns
Winner: Uwyn Llewelyn & family

This is The West Country:

WINNER: Uwyn Llewelyn with Mark Franklin from Tamlyns

Young people often get a bad press. From anti-social behaviour, to anti-social social media, we are forever presented with images of young people behaving badly.

But our Young Person of the Year Award, sponsored by Tamlyns, aims to redress tat balance somewhat, giving praise to a deserving young person.

When Uywn Llewelyn asked his mum if he could use his pocket money to buy a homeless person in Bridgwater something to eat, little did the family know where that would lead.

Uwyn’s kind gesture has since seen the family become dedicated volunteers working tirelessly to help those in need. Not just homeless people, but families in need of a helping hand.

From Christmas lunches to Easter eggs and an amazingly-popular shoebox appeal, the Llewelyns have set sail on a journey of kindness, powered by a desire to help others.

And it all started with Uwyn, our winner…


Volunteer Award, sponsored by McDonald's (Somerset)
Winner: Julie Murphy

This is The West Country:

WINNER: Julie Murphy with Tim Lamb, of McDonald's (Somerset)

As we go about our daily lives, just beneath the surface, rumbling away, is an army of volunteers.

From litter picks like we’ve just heard about, to staff in charity shops, the countless people who give their time and effort freely really do make our community tick.

And our winner of this award, Julie Murphy, is no different.

After her father suffered a stroke, Julie decided to dedicate her time in a bid to help others facing the same tragedy as her family.

She vowed to raise £10,000 in just one year for the Stroke Association.

She’s currently on around £7,000, continuing on her mission to that magical £10,000…


Environmental Award, sponsored by the Bridgwater Mercury and Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News
Winner: Rage Against Rubbish

This is The West Country:

WINNERS: Rage Against Rubbish with Mercury reporter, Steven Salter

The environment has certainly hit the headlines in recent months, from the Extinction Rebellion to David Attenborough.

And here in Sedgemoor, we have our own hub of activism, spearheaded by the winners of our Environment Award.

After seeing first-hand the problem of litter in the Bridgwater and Taunton Canal, a group of keen kayakers decided to take action.

Rage Against Rubbish was born – and has gone from strength to strength…


Charity of the Year, sponsored by The Walnut Tree
Winner: Bridgwater Talking News

This is The West Country:

WINNER: Richard Culverhouse, left, with Daniel Partridge and Chelsea Dummer

The Bridgwater Talking News group is celebrating its tenth year providing news to the blind and partially sighted in Bridgwater and in Burnham.

We caught up with them to find out more about the work they do keeping people informed across Sedgemoor...


Charity Hero Award, sponsored by Angel Place Shopping Centre
Winner: Lorna Edwards

This is The West Country:

WINNER: Lorna Edwards, right, with representatives from the Angel Place Shopping Centre

When most of us come up against a public area that’s not being utilised as well as it should be, we might grumble, maybe even write a letter to the Mercury, or the council, and move on.

But not Lorna Edwards.

When she struggled to use the Wembdon Parklands due to her own physical problems, and encountered others who were experiencing difficulties, she decided to act.

Lorna got on to her parish council – eventually becoming a councillor herself – and set up the Wembdon Parklands and Community Together Group – Wembdon PACT – and set off on a journey to transform the area.

After raising countless thousands, the group is now looking forward to a July start on a scheme which will see the area transformed into a multi-use recreational facility accessible to ALL…


The Care Award, sponsored by the Somerset Care Group
Winner: Jo Clement

This is The West Country:

WINNER: Jo Clement, with Andrew Needham from Somerset Care Group

In 2014, Jo Clement suffered the tragedy all parents dread when her son, Charley, took his own life after suffering with mental health problems throughout his adolescence.

After that tragedy, Jo vowed that she would do all she could to help those suffering the same pain she had.

With the support of friends and family, she founded In Charley’s Memory, offering support to young people with mental health and other problems.

Now, the charity is continuing to chase Jo’s dream to open Charley’s Haven, a safe place where young people can stay and receive the help and support they need in difficult times…

That dream is becoming a reality – and it is all down to the care Jo wanted to show others after her own hour of need.


Sporting Achievement Award, sponsored by Maxwells Chartered Accountants
Winner: Isla Macrae

This is The West Country:

WINNER: Isla Macrae with Mike Berry from Maxwells Chartered Accountants

Having taken up table tennis for fun at primary school, Isla Macrae has continued to indulge what has become a real passion.

Not only has she become the best player in Somerset for her age group – she’s also gone on to perform with real credit in national tournaments.

She is already a star on the Sedgemoor sporting scene…