The Indies: Nominate your local heroes for the 2019 Bishop's Stortford Independent Community, Sport and Business Awards
In the past year, the Indie has gone from strength to strength. Our print sales are up 36.6%, we have extended our news coverage to Stansted and Sawbridgeworth, in June our website had a record 383,000 page views and 160,000 unique visitors, and on Facebook our army of followers has swelled to almost 7,500.
This success has been possible only with the support of our community, and so once again we want to say thank you and make good on our publisher Iliffe Media's pledge to be "Here to listen, here because we care".
Last year we launched The Indies – The Bishop's Stortford Independent Community, Sport and Business Awards, recognising the very best in the town for their selfless actions, unsung endeavours and outstanding achievements, and we were overwhelmed with the breadth and depth of the nominations we received.
It was an almost impossible task to pick winners from such a worthy bunch, but in the end, and with the help of our generous sponsors, we were able to reward Stortford's true local heroes.
The Indies awards are back for 2019 – in a new home here in the town – and we are anticipating an even more difficult judging task as the past 12 months have served only to emphasise the extraordinary work carried out by people leading ordinary lives, sometimes seven days a week, 52 weeks of the year.
We know we will have our work cut out to select the winners and 'highly commended' before a glittering gala evening at the Rhodes Arts Complex on Thursday, November 7.
After last year's heart-warming celebration, businesses were lining up to show their support once again and we are delighted to welcome back Stansted Airport as the main sponsor, with other individual awards underwritten once again by East Herts Council, Genmar IT, MJ Warner Volkswagen, Nockolds, Park Lane, Stort Chemicals and Tees.
We are determined to make the awards bigger and better every year, so we are also thrilled to welcome on board estate agent Mullucks, the Rotary Club of Bishop's Stortford, funeral directors Daniel Robinson & Sons and the Bishop's Stortford Business Improvement District, who all share our passion for the town and its people.
So now all we need is for YOU, our loyal band of readers, to nominate those modest souls who hide their light under a bushel in our town and ensure they get the recognition they deserve.
Each week the pages of the Independent are packed with prime examples of charity champions, community stalwarts, sporting stars and home-grown entrepreneurs. We just need you to pick your favourite and tell us why they deserve an evening in the spotlight at the Indies.
Of course, we may have missed some obvious examples of those who make extraordinary efforts, so now is your chance to tell us about the unsung heroes who go out of their way to help others.
The categories are comprehensive and readers are welcome to nominate a winner for one or more if they wish.
The Indies categories – what we're looking for
PERSON OF COURAGE (sponsored by East Herts Council) – an accolade for someone who has overcome adversity and inspired others with their fortitude in the most trying of circumstances, whether that be illness, disability or other personal difficulties.
CHILD OF COURAGE (sponsored by estate agent Park Lane) – this recognises the inspirational young people in our town who battle illness, disability and disadvantage and who, by their bravery, make life better for everyone. We anticipate a truly difficult choice among a number of very worthy contenders.
COMMUNITY CHAMPION (sponsored by Stansted Airport) – this is likely to be the most difficult decision of all in a town where the voluntary sector supplements services in countless ways, civic responsibility is a defining characteristic and our public servants go above and beyond the call of duty.
CHARITY CHAMPION (sponsored by estate agent Mullucks) – this could be presented a thousand times over. Week in, week out we feature countless selfless souls raising thousands of pounds for deserving causes or giving up their time to make a difference to those less fortunate. We need your help to make an almost impossible choice.
YOUNG CARER (sponsored by Rotary Club of Bishop's Stortford) – a forgotten army of children and young people take on the adult burden of caring for a family member with little or no support or recognition. This is your chance to lighten their burden and reward their selflessness.
UNSUNG HERO (sponsored by Genmar IT) – this will be a tough nut to crack. The town is supported by a silent army of selfless individuals, working away behind the scenes to make life better for everyone. These modest stalwarts do not seek recognition, but it is time they got the thanks they deserve.
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT (sponsored by Daniel Robinson & Sons) – this award will recognise a pillar of the community who commands respect and deserves praise for decades of devotion to the town and its people.
BUSINESS PERSONALITY (sponsored by MJ Warner Volkswagen) – this will reflect on the people who enthusiastically add energy to the town's economy, bringing employment and prosperity to its people.
YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR (sponsored by Nockolds solicitors) – this award looks to the next generation and the innovators and inventors who will be Bishop's Stortford's lifeblood for decades to come.
CUSTOMER SERVICE CHAMPION (sponsored by Bishop's Stortford Business Improvement District) – in a town where independent traders and trusted chains work together to keep the high street alive, this is a chance to recognise the friendly, efficient and professional staff who are the key to customer satisfaction.
SPORTS PERSONALITY (sponsored by Tees Law) – a chance for fans to name the team player who always excels or the individual sportsman or woman setting the gold standard and inspiring others to aim for the top.
YOUNG SPORTS PERSONALITY (sponsored by Stort Chemicals) – a chance for the sporting stars of the future to score today. From golf to motor racing and snowboarding to boxing, there is no shortage of raw talent to nominate.
We will also be presenting the John Turner Memorial Award, which we announced on the night at last year's Indies ceremony in memory of the loyal servant and vice-chairman of Bishop's Stortford Football Club who died suddenly, just six weeks before the awards night.
* With special thanks to HNE Media for their Indies awards videos and to wine sponsor Hanbury Wealth.
HOW TO NOMINATE SOMEONE FOR THE INDIES
There are two ways to nominate a person for one of our 12 awards.
You can pick up a paper nomination form from our office at 12 North Street (CM23 2LQ) or complete the form below.
The deadline for nominations is Monday September 30. We look forward to receiving your nominations and to giving our local community heroes a night to remember.