Best of Broxtowe Borough Awards: Tireless fundraiser Sharon is a local hero
For kind-hearted Sharon Hands, raising money for the good folk of Stapleford has become part and parcel of her life.
The 50-year-old, who works as a night shift manager for a food company, devotes hours of her spare time to organising raffles, pub collections, stalls, auctions and events to raise money for those in need.
Now, Sharon, of Copeland Avenue, has been nominated for the Best of Broxtowe Borough Awards, recognising her tireless efforts on behalf of the local community.
She’s received numerous nominations in the “local hero” category, designed to honour individuals who have made a tangible difference to life in the borough.
Sharon said: “I suppose I first got interested in raising money for charity about 15 years ago, when I did a parachute jump for Barncroft Day Services Centre, in Chilwell.
“I enjoyed it so much and I just got the bug for fundraising then. I love doing things for other people.”
Making a real difference to individuals is a huge inspiration for Sharon.
“I always prefer to raise money for smaller groups and individuals,” she explained. “Lots of people do sponsored walks for bigger organisations like Cancer Research and so on, and that’s great. But I find it rewarding to help people in my own community who others might not hear about.
“I’ve just done some fund-raising for an elderly gentleman who’d moved into a new place and didn’t have much furniture. Big charities don’t really hear about people like him but I like to help wherever I can.”
Sharon’s efforts are all the more impressive as she’s recently been treated for a rare form of rheumatoid arthritis using chemotherapy drugs.
“It has been difficult, as it makes me really tired,” she said. “But the good news is, I’ve been given the all-clear by the doctor now, so I can drop all my medication. It’s great.”
Among Sharon’s most recent projects has been helping Amelia Richardson, a four-year-old Stapleford girl who has cerebral palsy.
Sharon made it her mission to raise money to buy new equipment and bedding to spruce up Amelia’s bedroom, raising more than £1,500 following a fancy-dress pub crawl and other collections.
Sharon added: “We had so much given to us, we were able to go out and buy extra Christmas presents and we handed hampers out to old folks’ homes and in the street. It was brilliant.”
Amelia’s mother, Elaine Richardson, of Albert Avenue, Stapleford, is among those who nominated Sharon for the award.
She said: “She’s been absolutely fantastic – what a star.
“I didn’t know her at all, I just got a call out of the blue one day from Sharon to say that she’d decided to do some fundraising for Amelia. I was a bit surprised, but thought, ‘OK, I’ll let you get on with it’.
“I couldn’t believe how well she did, though.”
And Sharon’s proud husband, Trevor, said: “She’s done all of this whilst being ill herself.
“She is a pillar to people who regularly call on her for advice.”
Nominations for the Best of Broxtowe Borough Awards are open now and can be made by filling in the short online form at www.nottinghampost.com/bestofbroxtoweborough. Closing date is Friday, April 8.
Three finalists will be shortlisted in each category and invited to an awards ceremony consisting of a red-carpet drinks reception with a two-course dinner at The Walled Garden, Beeston Fields, on Thursday, May 12.
For more information, contact Richard Edwards at the Nottingham Post on 0115 905 1913.
By Oonagh Robinson, Nottingham Post