Indies awards: Husband's moving tribute to Person of Courage winner Tracey Pinnington
Indies Person of Courage winner Tracey Pinnington is a talented artist with a smile that lights up a room. But beneath her bubbly disposition, she carries a burden - she has to deal with great pain every day of her life.
Mother-of-two Tracey has stage 4 endometriosis and adenomyosis, both debilitating diseases which cause agonising cramps.
She was nominated for the award by husband Martin, an advertising agency boss and coach of Bishop’s Stortford Swifts under-16s. They live with their son Adam, 16, and daughter Abbie, 13.
“Tracey is in immense pain on a near daily basis, but she hides it so well because she doesn’t want to bring others around her down,” Martin said in his nomination.
“She’s had more surgeries than I can count but is still battling to be able to live a normal life.
“She raises money for research into endometriosis and is part of the local endo support group… she’s also raised thousands for local charity Edie’s Butterfly Appeal.
“Despite her daily struggles she still manages to run her art business and help people out whenever she can, whether that’s picking up friends’ kids from school, supporting friends with illnesses, watching out for several elderly people who live near us, and offering advice and support to inspire fellow sufferers to get the help they need.
“She will do anything she can to help people and never puts herself first – she amazes me every day.
“She hides it so well that if you asked anyone who knows her they would say she is always smiling and happy… but I see her everyday struggle, and she is a true inspiration and my hero.”
Martin wiped away tears of joy as Tracey took to the stage to be presented with her trophy by Graham McAndrew, East Herts Council’s executive member for environment and the public realm. She was also presented with membership of the UK Coloured Pencil Society and a place on an art workshop in Colchester.
Tracey attended the Indies wearing an elegant black pencil dress and a morphine patch on her arm. “It gives me slow pain relief throughout the day,” she explained.
She said that she was overwhelmed to receive the award. “I’ve got such a wonderful family and so many supportive friends,” she grinned. “No-one wants to be around anyone who’s always miserable.”
Highly Commended in Person of Courage was David Perry, 44. Following the death of his mother two years ago, his life fell apart and he found himself without a home or a job.
Cllr Patricia Moore, who nominated him, said: “He was living in a hostel, his only friend was his addiction and ultimately he was admitted to hospital. He had reached rock bottom.
“However, with tough love from his family he accepted his addiction and reached out for support. David worked hard and, with the help and support from mental health charity MIND, he fulfilled all aspects of his recovery programme and transformed his life.”
Now, David is the manager of the Bishop’s Stortford Winter Night Shelter and a mentor for MIND.
Cllr Moore said: “David is a great role model and a truly inspirational man who has overcome personal life struggles to now champion those who struggle with their daily lives.”