Greatfield mum Rachel Appleyard has been named the winner of East Hull’s Christmas Spirit Award for 2011.
The prize, worth £200, is given by local charity EMS Yorkshire to someone who embodies community spirit and who deserves a special thank-you for the help they give to local people.
Rachel, 34, was nominated by friend Katie Heseltine, who works for the charity KIDS, in recognition of the commitment by Rachel and her husband Mark to set up Freddie’s Friends in memory of Rachel’s son who was born with a rare brain disorder and died three years ago. The charity, Freddie’s Friends, raises money for families with handicapped children.
The award was presented at the Freedom Centre, close to EMS Yorkshire’s headquarters at the Preston Road Village Centre, on Thursday 22 December.
Rachel said: “It’s a lovely surprise and honour to win this award. Mark and I are so dedicated to our charity work in Freddie’s memory, and we never think about awards or publicity, but to be recognised for the good we do makes us feel so proud. Thank you to EMS for organising the award, to the Co-op for the lovely gifts, and to Katie Heseltine for nominating me. Also to all who have supported and helped us this year.”
Katie says: “Rachel did this work as she knows what families go through on a daily basis and wanted to make a difference in Freddie’s name. I don’t know where she finds the strength but, through her fund-raising, she has provided so many children in the area with the specialist equipment which has changed their lives.
“She provided me with funding to create a sensory garden for my son, one of nine-year-old twins who has Autism and Hydrocephalus. Rachel is one in a million.”
EMS Neighbourhood Manager Andy Rees says: “We had a lot of nominations this year and it was difficult to decide on a winner, but hearing about Rachel’s commitment, in the face of the tragedy of losing a child, convinced us that this dedicated lady deserved a special thank-you from the East Hull community.”
The prize has been sponsored by the Preston Road Neighbourhood Development Company, The Freedom Centre, St Aidan’s Church, Chevin Ltd and the Co-operative food store at Preston Road. EMS, which delivers neighbourhood management services in the Southcoates East area and runs the annual Park Area in Bloom competition, set up the Christmas Spirit award last year.
Details of Rachel’s charity can be found at http://www.freddiesfriends.org/