WITH the stoicism demonstrated by so many of our soldiers, Sergeant Major Clive Clahar walked off with the top prize at the Pride in Our People awards 2013, with simply a broad smile.
The man, who has already been honoured by the Reserve Forces and Cadets Association for Greater London (RFCA GL) by being awarded the Lord Lieutenant’s Certificate for Meritorious Service was virtually speechless. He said: "I'm absolutely amazed. The cadets and their parents kept it a secret, I had no idea.
"I'm honoured to come here today and that the cadets and parents have shown their gratitude in this way. Ex-cadets come and see me so I know they are grateful but I didn't expect this."
The inspirational cadet leader, from the 202 Acton Cadet Detachment, has spent decades mentoring youngsters,teaching them discipline, leadership and responsibility and in many cases keeping them off the streets. He was nominated by his whole team of 12-18-year olds and their grateful parents, one of whom said: "He is a positive black, role model and for someone like my son, who has no father figure, that's so important. Many of the parents attended the cadets when they were young. Some say, if it wasn't for him they would probably be in jail by now or have a drug habit."
Clive won the My Hero award (sponsored by St George plc) as well as the overall award, the Star of West London, in the Pride in our People awards 2013, run by the Gazette and University of West London. for the tenth year running.
Tension mounted as the five-month campaign to find West London's unsung heroes finally came to an end.There were gasps of surprise and disbelief by all the winners who all said they were simply delighted to be invited to the glittering awards ceremony,held at the University of West London's restaurant, Pillars in central Ealing on Thursday last week. (30) They were each presented with £500 and a stunning glass trophy, presented for the second year running by celebrity chef Brian Turner CBE.
The winners of the four other categories were:
Joan Edwards (community champion - sponsored by Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre) a 90-year-old who serviced spitfires during the war and began an informal social club in her home when the local disabled club closed down.
Rania Seddik (young person- sponsored by dunnhumby)) a student with severe hearing loss, who helps others with similar problems, starting a club at her school teaching students sign language.
Tim Wilkinson (key worker-sponsored by Bluebird Care) a paramedic, who has gone beyond the call of duty to teach his community to save lives.
A Cut Above (business- sponsored by Sodexo)) a salon which has lived up to its name by giving special care to its most vulnerable customers.
The finalists, their families and friends and VIPs, including Ealing Mayor, Cllr Kamaljit Dhindsa, MPs Steve Pound and Angie Bray and Ealing Council leader Cllr Julian Bell gathered in their finery for what has become a pivotal event in the Gazette calendar.
The guests were welcomed by Professor Kathryn Mitchell, the university's deputy vice-chanceller, who said: "We are proud to be honouring the local community champions who make a difference in the lives of others and those who go the extra mile. We would like to thank the judges who who had to make some extremely difficult decisions this year as there were so many outstanding nominees as well as the sponsors of these awards."
Professor Anthony Woodman, pro-vice chancellor, who co-presented the awards with Ealing Gazette editor Adrian Seal, also welcomed and thanked celebrity guest Brian Turner for his commitment to the university and the awards.
Ealing Gazete editor Adrian Seal said: "This is a very special year for the Pride in our People Awards as its marks the 10th anniversary since they were first conceived. The Gazette is proud to have been involved in the awards since their inception and have formed a rich partnership with the University of West London, who generously sponsored and supported.
"I would also like to thank all the other companies who have supported Pride in our People over the past 10 years, you are all part of the success story.
"Pride in our People has always been all about focusing on the unsung heroes in the community who otherwise would not receive the recognition they so richly deserve for some truly remarkable feats and achievements.Once again we have been overwhelmed and deeply touched by the number of entries we have received – it has been truly amazing, making the task for our panel of judges as hard as ever.
"Finally, the Gazette sees itself as the voice of the community; dedicated to delivering the news and views which matter to our readers each week. We have a firm commitment to build and maintain strong links with the communities we serve and see ourselves very much at the heart of community life throughout the area."
Brian Turner praised all the finalists for their devotion and commitment. He said: "Everyone should be proud of the selfless work they have done for others without looking for thanks. Ealing should be very proud of the people who make this community. These awards are fantastic as they are all about recognising people who help each other and get on well together. We live in a world where that doesn't happen too often."
The lucky nominator, drawn from a hat, was Prof Alan Gillett who said he would donate the £150 to Ealing Rotary charities. A superb meal was served by the university's London School of Hospitality and Tourism lead by Professor David Foskett MBE CMA and the pianist was Alex Cawley. A stunning pair of silver cufflinks were presented to Brian Turner by Adrian Seal.
The durability of the Pride in our People awards is highlighted not only by reaching its first decade, but by the smiles on the faces of all the finalists who never expected any recognition or reward for their efforts. They all said they were delighted to be invited to such a positive and worthy event and thanked the Gazete and university for giving them a chance to shine.
The Gazette and University of West London would like to thank our readers for giving Pride nominees and winners a chance to have their turn in the spotlight.