Kent’s most exceptional community stars announced at awards ceremony
Kent’s most exceptional community stars were unveiled at a glittering awards ceremony at Leeds Castle in Maidstone on Thursday 10th November.
Following a search that spanned eight months, the county’s most outstanding charities, individuals, businesses and services came together to celebrate the winners of the Perrys Exceptional Awards during a three course banquet hosted by the Kent based chartered accountants, Perrys.
Following a nomination process to decide the shortlisted finalists, the residents of Kent voted to decide who would be chosen as the winner of each category.
Over 100 guests were in attendance, including representatives from each of the 27 finalists, along with charities and business leaders from across the county.
Throughout the evening there was laughter, and at times tears, as each finalist’s inspiring story was showcased to the audience via a large screen during their own individual video clip.
The winners were announced as:
Perrys Exceptional Charity Winner – Kent MS Therapy Centre, Canterbury
For 31 years, the Kent Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre has been providing a range of non-intrusive therapies and support to help improve the quality of life of those with MS, their families and carers.
Jill Tompkins, who is a sufferer of MS and accepted the award along with Helen Wathen, Fundraising Manager at Kent MS Therapy Centre, said:
“It’s incredible to be accepting this award. I never thought I’d be in the position where I’d need to use the facilities of a charity like Kent MS Therapy Centre, but I’m blessed to live in Kent and have the opportunity to access these amazing facilities. I’m very thankful for everything they’ve done.”
Perrys Exceptional Individual Winner – Fred & Fran Long
Since retiring a couple of years ago, Fred and Fran have put their time and energies into a wide range of community groups and charity projects around Tonbridge. They support dementia sufferers, refugees and Tonbridge community gardens, as well as volunteering at a local homeless shelter.
Fred Long said:
“Everyone in this category is a worthy winner but we’re absolutely overjoyed to be receiving this award. We love to get involved in whatever we can and giving back as much as possible, and we’ll carry on doing what we’re doing.”
Perrys Exceptional Business – St. John’s Pharmacy, Sidcup
St John’s Pharmacy, which was nominated by Mel Foreman, is a fundamental service to the Sidcup community.
“St John’s Pharmacy have been my chemist for 14 years and always go above and beyond for the patients they serve. They are the epitome of what it means to be an entrepreneur and are always willing to participate in philanthropic ventures when asked. The work they put into making sure every customer is happy and healthy is far above the remit of a ‘normal’ business.”
Farhad Ismail, owner of St. John’s Pharmacy, said:
“I was absolutely shocked to have won this award – everyone in the category was so deserving! Working at St. John’s Pharmacy and helping the local people in the community comes naturally to me, and the whole team work so hard to provide a great service, so it’s lovely to be recognised.”
Perrys Exceptional Service Winner – The Fitness Link
The Fitness Link, which was nominated by Dawn Blake, is an online and mobile fitness platform delivering exercises and workouts anywhere, anytime. Along with a fitness app and a library of workouts and articles, the team helps people to achieve the results they desire.
“The team sacrifice everything for the sake of their clients and business. They are such lovely people and always utterly professional. They have personally changed my body and mind set – I really couldn’t be happier and I would love to see their efforts recognised.”
JP West, who co-owns The Fitness Link with his wife, Lucy West, said:
“It’s amazing to be receiving this award. Health and fitness is something that my wife and I are extremely passionate about so we’re very lucky to be pursuing what we love. Our aim is to help people get the best out of themselves and seeing their fantastic results is what keeps The Fitness Link going.”
CEO at Perrys Chartered Accountants Stewart Pope said:
“Over the past eight months we have had the pleasure of receiving some of the most uplifting examples of outstanding contributions to the Kent community.
“I have always known there were a large number of fantastic people in Kent having spent my working life in the county and being born and bred in Canterbury. I was truly humbled and staggered by the quality of those nominated, and the passion and compassion they have all shown. It was a pleasure to celebrate their achievements with them and I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to our winners.”