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After over 15,000 votes, the winners of Festival Leisure Park’s Community Awards have been revealed, following the presentation evening at Unit 7 on Monday 18th March.

The awards, served to showcase the best in the local community and Festival Leisure itself saw The Mayor of Basildon Cllr David Dadds, Radio Essex presenter Chris Brooks and Festival Leisure Park’s Centre Manager, Matthew Chambers present the awards to the winners.

We all know individuals and organisations that go that extra mile and the Community Awards have been set up to recognise those who are the best in Essex. Early in the new year, Festival Leisure opened up their nominations for the awards, asking people across Essex to nominate people or organisations that represent what’s best in Essex.

Following nominations, a panel shortlisted the nominees seeing the general public have the deciding vote, seeing 30 people shortlisted for the awards evening.

The evening was a great success, seeing a total of 10 winners collect their trophy, certificate, goody bag and £100.

Harry Powell, picked up the first award of the night for Inspiring Young Person, which regognises an amazing young person aged 17 and under who inspires those around them. Harry who is aged just 6 recently received the all clear from cancer in December, having spent three months in Great Ormond Street Hospital. His mum describes him as, “The most inspiring, caring, loving and strongest warrior we have ever known.”

Festival Leisure then awarded ‘Young Fundraiser of the Year’, with nominees in this category aged 17 and under. The winner of this category was Millie Wiseman, aged 10 years old. Millie helped to organise a fundraiser for Chess Homeless Shelter by hosting a giant sleepover to help raise over £500.

Businesses located at Festival Leisure Park were also awarded for their services, seeing Anneliese Hawkes from Nandos win ‘Employee of the Year’. The ‘Customer Care’ award was presented to Cineworld, with Phil Peirce – Cineworld’s General Manager collecting this award for the second year running.

Hollywood Bowl was voted to win ‘Business of the Year’ for the second consecutive year, seeing Tony Parker Centre Manager collect the award.

Phyl Mclaren, who set up and runs the Basildon emergency night shelter with over 170 volunteers was voted to win

‘Volunteer of the Year’. Phyl also runs the Monday project which feeds the street homeless in Basildon.

Every single member of Emergency Services deserves recognition, and the ‘Emergency Services Award’ winner was presented to Steve Jones, a dedicated paramedic.

Other winners include, Nicky Fearon from Woodlands school who was awarded ‘Best Teacher in Essex’. Nicky is in charge of over 80 young carers in the school and puts her heart and soul into supporting every single one of them.

Joanne Dilly, who spends her time fundraising for special needs families and runs discounted events and activities, alongside raising thousands of pounds was presented for the ‘Fundraiser of the Year’ award.

The ‘Activities Leadership’ award, which recognises those who are sporting coaches and arts group leaders was won by Rebecca Crane. Rebecca who has run Beavers and Cubs in Wickford for years was delighted to win, commented: “I was delighted to hear I was nominated for this award and I can’t believe I’ve won! I would like to thank Festival Leisure for putting on such a great event and for recognising the hard work from the people of Essex.”

Matthew Chambers, Centre Manager of Festival Leisure Park said: “We were delighted to welcome back our Community Awards and it was a real privilege to meet such inspiring people. It’s important to celebrate the unsung heroes from our community, with many of these people working tirelessly without recognition.”

Matthew continued: “The awards evening was a great success and it was great to be able to show appreciation for the fantastic work they carry out. We’d also like to thank Basildon’s Mayor for attending the event and presenting the awards. We’re looking forward to launching the Community Awards again next year!”


• Festival Leisure Volunteer of the Year – Phyl Mclaren

• Festival Leisure Fundraiser of the Year – Joanne Dilly

• Festival Leisure Young Fundraiser of the Year – Millie Wiseman

• Festival Leisure Emergency Services Award – Steve Jones

• Festival Leisure Inspiring Young Person – Harry Powell

• Festival Leisure Best Teacher Award – Nicky Fearon

• Festival Leisure Activities Leader Achievement Award – Rebecca Crane

• Festival Leisure Employee of the Year – Annalise Hawkes

• Festival Leisure Customer Care Award – Cineworld

• Festival Leisure Business of the Year – Hollywood Bowl

For the full list of this year’s winners and shortlisted finalists, as well as news and events going on at Festival Leisure Park visit or find them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.