BRENT'S heroes and heroines were recognised at the borough's annual community awards, last week.

Observer reporter JAMES WHITE attended the annual town hall ceremony to interview some of the inspirational winners and discuss the good work going on across the borough.

OUTSTANDING individuals who work tirelessly for their communities have been officially recognised with awards.

A record 45 certificates were handed to winners or their representatives for wide-ranging voluntary and public-spirited efforts at the Brent Community Champions Awards held at Brent Town Hall.

Recipients included a church warden, school governors, resident association members and charity workers.

Councillor Paul Lorber, (Liberal Democrat), leader of Brent Council, paid tribute to award winners.

He said: "All the volunteers do a fantastic job and as a community and a council we need people to contribute to the well-being of their area.

"We had young people winning awards for helping other youngsters at their school, we had school governors and even a chess teacher but what they all had in common is they give up their time to help other people.

"We have to say a big thank you to all of them because they make a big contribution to life in Brent."

Award winner Karin Jaegar, 58, lives on the Brentfield Estate and holds a number of community positions including vice chairman of Brent Housing Partnership, secretary of the Brentfield Tenants and Residents' Association and secretary of the Friends of Gibbons Recreation Ground.

She said: "Because of the positions I hold and the fact I live in the area makes it easier for me to reach people that others can't get to.

"The younger people aren't keen to get involved with things because they feel they can't change it but it's up to people like me to make sure they feel they can improve their lives.

"It's nice to feel you have actually achieved something for your community and I enjoy it. I'm in a position where I can help and it's important to me that I do."

Umesh Raichada, of Byron Road, North Wembley, received an award for his work as a school governor at Byron Court Primary School.

Both his children, Karishma, aged nine and Kareena, aged six, attend the school.

He said: "It was an honour and a privilege to receive this award in recognition of community service and I would also like to congratulate the others who were nominated."

Mr Raichada has been described by teachers and governors at the school as dedicated and willing to help at all times.

What they said

ALTHEA GRIFFITH, 48, who lives in Neasden Lane, was rewarded for nine years' voluntary service to Homestart, a family support charity that helps parents with young children in all aspects of life.She said: "I love working with children and I'm very proud to get the award."

Her manager,Heather Thomas, who nominated Althea for the award said: "This lady works so hard for the community.She really deserves this award."

RAY STANNERS, 64, from Harlesden, was honoured for his contribution over the past 20 years to the Sea Urchin's Swimming Club.

Ray, formerly an ambulance driver, organises and supervises swimming classes for children with disabilities. He said: "Helping the kids keeps me busy now that I've retired. It's nice to be recognised." NIRMALA PATEL, 53, from Wembley, has worked with the Hindu Council of Brent for 20 years.

The organisation provides support to members of the Hindu community on a wide variety of issues. She said: "We do whatever we can to help. We care for the elderly, but also offer advice to young people who have problems with drugs and are too scared to confide in their parents."

SHEILA PERRY, 53, who lives in the Groves Estate, Kingsbury, received an award for running the Groves Residents' Association, which has set up a group to look after elderly people.

She said she wanted to get all her neighbours talking to each and looking out for one another.

Ms Perry said: "I'm very pleased.

"Before we set up the group, some older people never left their homes."

Full list of winners and their organisations

Alec Sexton (Brent Mencap), Althea Griffiths (Homestart Brent) Ashokkumar Patel (Shree Sattavis Gam Patidar Samaj, Brent Indian Association, Federation of Patidar Association), Bhavika Mukeshkumar (Alperton School, Brent Millennium Volunteers), Brigid Neal (Fortunegate Housing), Caroline Lenkiewicz (Preston Amenities Protection Association), Chandni Chitre (Alperton School), Dhirubhai Vadera (Brent Indian Association),Eileen Varley (Our Lady of Willesden Church), Enid Jackson (Friends of African Caribbean Carers and Sufferers of Dementia), Harry Quainoo (Our Lady of Grace Infant and Junior Schools), Heather La Frenais (Cricklewood Homeless Concern, Victim Support Brent), Herman Martyn (Michael Sobell Sinai Primary School), Jean Forbes (Age Concern Brent), Joanna Gordon (Daniel's Den), the late John Bowerman (Preston Manor High School), John Conduit (St Catherine's Church Neasden), Joyce Grey (Brent Housing Partnership), Karin Jaeger (Brentfield Estate Residents' Association, St Raphael's Safer Neighbourhood Panel), Ken Morjaria (Brent Association for Voluntary Action), Kiritkumar Patel (Shree Sattavis Gam Patidar Samaj), Manubhai Makwana (Hindu Council Brent, Asian Foundation for Help), Mukesh Patel (Shree Sattavis Gam Patidar Samaj), Neil Brookwick (Chalkhill Primary School, Middlesex Association for the Blind), Nirmala Patel (Hindu Council Brent), Param Sandhu (Barham Primary School), Pauline Pompilis (Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School), Peter Bickers (Gateway Club), Philip Moleman (Preston Amenities Protection Association), Rameshchandra Patel (Federation of Patidar Associations, Shree Sattavis Gam Patidar Samaj), Ray Frost (Brent Mencap), Ray Stanners (Sea Urchins Swimming Club), Reiner Thoelke (Preston Manor High School), Roshan Iwaram (Alperton Community School), Rupa Vara (Alperton Community School), Sarah Alkhezeli (Alperton Community School), Sarosh Vandrewela (Alperton Community School), Seamus Harvey (Clochar Court Residents' Association), Shameem Yousaf (Asian Peoples with Disabilities Alliance), Shelia Perry (Groves Residents' Association), Shirley Bickers (Gateway Club), Stephen Greene (Salusbury Primary School), Sujan Rawtani (Strathcona Centre), Umesh Raichada (Byron Court Primary School), Zoe Ryle (Manor Special School).