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An 11-year-old who raises hundreds through charity walks, a 68-year-old who cooks breakfasts for the homeless and the volunteers who keep the Kenneth More Theatre running were among the winners at last nights’ Mayor’s Awards in Redbridge.

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At Redbridge Town Hall in High Road, Ilford, Mayor Muhammed Javed and Mayoress Shamim Ali recognised those who give up their time for others by presenting a series of awards in front of a packed audience.

Click on the link to view the winners from the night.

After 10 months in which we showcased the best that the borough’s youth has to offer, the overall winner of the Recorder/Redbridge Rotary Club Young Citizen Award sponsored by the Exchange Ilford shopping centre was announced.

Tarun Odedra, 11, of Ramsgill Drive, Newbury Park, was picked by a panel for raising hundreds of pounds for good causes through his family’s Hindu temple.

Tarun, who has completed a 20km fundraising walk and who will tackle another challenge in April, was the youngest of the 10 nominees.

He said: “I was quite surprised. The people who were nominated were much older than me. I thought I had no chance, they all did a great job. I’d like to thank them.”

In his opening remarks, the Mayor said: “The awards are a very small token of appreciation on behalf of the people of Redbridge.

Sheila Nisbet, 68, of Green Lane, Goodmayes, picked up the individual Caring Redbridge award for her voluntary work with the Redbridge Night Shelter in York Road, Ilford.

She has volunteered at the shelter, which provides a bed for the homeless, since 1994 and for the last 10 years has stayed on at the end of the night to cook breakfasts.

After picking up her award on stage, she said: “It’s lovely, it’s for all the volunteers, there’s about 50.

“I get to know the shelter’s users. I only know them as a person, I don’t know their circumstances.”

The group award went to The Salvation Army Ilford Corps and Church Without Walls for their contribution to the cold weather shelter at the Salvation Army church in Clements Road, Ilford.

The Redbridge Best Business award was won by Barbara Hills and the volunteers at Ilford’s Kenneth More Theatre.

Barbara, who has helped to run the theatre for 38 years, said: “I felt deeply honoured to be nominated but even more honoured to receive it. I must accept it on behalf of all the volunteers.

“A lot have been with me for 38 years. It’s the only way the theatre can function.”

The award was shared with Redbridge’s ambassadors at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Despite not being a business, the panel felt they should be recognised for their “enormous contribution to Redbridge”.

Danny O’Brien, who runs the Anti-Knife UK group from Seven Kings, was the individual winner of the Safer Redbridge award.

Danny, who warns young people about the dangers of carrying a knife through a poster campaign, said: “I’m quite shocked. There’s no funding for myself but if I can help anyone, I would do.

“A knife is a tool until used by a fool and then it becomes a weapon. Don’t let it be one of our kids.”

The group award was presented to the Bogus Caller Partnership.

The Contribution to Young People award was individually won by Andre Thomas, who runs a music studio at The Frenford Clubs for Young People in Ilford, and the group award went to the ELHAP adventure playground for disabled people in Roding Lane North, Woodford Bridge.

And Ros Southern and Olcay Aniker shared the individual Green Redbridge award for running the Redbridge Green Fair while the group award went to the Al Noor Foundation.

Click on to www.ilfordrecorder.co.uk tomorrow to view a gallery from the gala night and pick up a copy of the Recorder on Thursday for more reaction and news on the winners and nominees.

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