Meet the 2018 Judges

A warm welcome to our judging panel for the Ely Hero Awards 2018.

Jo Evans, Emerald Frog Marketing

Jo Evans is Chair of Ely Chamber of Commerce and also runs her own company, Emerald Frog Marketing.  As a former Ely Hero Award winner, Jo has experience of the judging process from both sides!

When not working with local businesses, Jo is a keen community volunteer and wildlife enthusiast. For the past eleven years she has worked as a Wildlife Trust Watch Leader running Ely Wildlife Watch, a monthly group giving children opportunities to discover local wildlife and take part in practical activities including environmental artwork, waste recycling, insect surveys, pond dipping and wildflower fun days.

Jo is also a longstanding member of Littleport and Ely Timebank,  a  sscheme that encourages community members to help each other out through earning and using “time credits” including taking part in litterpicks and social events. East Cambs Police recently asked for Jo’s help to work on a community project in Littleport converting an area of waste ground into a wildlife garden in the centre of the village.

Jo also assists Hebbard’s Hedgehog Hotel in Little Downham rehabilitating hedgehogs and is working with them on a hedgehog rescue and release program in conjunction with Little Downham Conservation Group.

Lis Every, Councillor and Ex-Mayor

I am absolutely delighted to be one of the judges in this new celebration of local heroes.  We have been delighted with the number of entries but it has been a really difficult task to narrow these down to the finalists and then the winner.

Ely is such a fantastic place to live, work and shop so it has been particularly rewarding to work together with the other judges on what will be an annual event which recognises the talents, care and commitment of local people.

Before retiring, I worked for over 30 year in secondary education as a teacher of business and was a Secondary Head Teacher in Peterborough.  My family has run a business locally since we arrived in the area over 40 years ago.  After retiring I became a local Councillor sitting on the City of Ely Council and East Cambridgeshire District Council and was Mayor for two years. I was recently elected to the Cambridgeshire County Council.

I am absolutely committed to supporting skill development and helping young people in the area to achieve their career potential through my work as Chair of the Learning and Skills Sector of the Chamber of Commerce.

Married with two children and two grandchildren, my hobbies include theatre and singing and I am a Trustee of Pos+Ability, VCAEC, Ely Museum and the Ely Choral Society, working on their Steering Committee for the Ely Youth Choir.  I am a governor for Ely St Johns Primary School and Ely College.

Madeleine Funnell, Elyi Magazine

In 1985 Madeleine moved to Ely during her teenage years. Apart from a few years living in Cambridge, Ely has been her home for the past 33 years.

She lives in the City with her partner who is a Primary School Teacher and her son, who is now embracing university life in Nottingham. They enjoy the strong sense of community in Ely both within their work and socially through the many friends and colleagues they have made in the local area over the years.

Madeleine currently co-owns the Elyi Magazine with her Business Partner Bridget. Performing an Account Management and Business Development Advertising role; She enjoys working in the community and meets lots of lovely, interesting people. They are always busy gathering information and finding new advertising investors and local editorial, cultivating an important printed resource for the Community of Ely that reaches everyone.

Madeleine is also a trained therapist, specialising in Psychotherapy, Counselling, Hypnotherapy and Reiki Healing. She has a particular interest in the methodology of PNI (Psycho Neuro Immunology), which is simply the connection between the mind and body. She focuses her work around this connection and offers group work and individual sessions.

She spent a number of years working in Healthcare, training and selling lung function equipment within the NHS and Occupational Health Services. She travelled the East of England with her job until deciding to re-train, spend more time with her son and give something back that makes a difference to individuals.

Prior to this she worked for a number of years with a consulting company based in Histon, responsible for the Facilities Management of the IT Systems for the NHS at the former East Anglian Regional Health Authority.

Madeleine has always had an interest in people, their behaviour, what makes them happy and celebrated their achievements.

Anthony Sigrist, Talking FreEly

Tony is an acupuncturist and mental health campaigner who works in a variety of roles locally within the health and wellbeing sector.

After many years serving with the Metropolitan police, Tony decided to pursue a career in health and studied a BSc in Acupuncture.  After graduating, he established  a general practice at Ely Complementary Health Centre where he works with a combination of scientific knowledge and established philosophical concepts to treat a broad range of physical and emotional problems.  He promotes the benefits of acupuncture and the importance of high professional standards on behalf of the profession as a director of the British Acupuncture Council, the UK’s largest voluntary regulatory body for traditional acupuncturists.  He also teaches at the Northern College of Acupuncture.

Although his interests include all aspects of health and well being, Tony is especially passionate about mental health, particularly in tackling the stigma that surrounds it.  In 2017, after noticing a gap in the provision of mental health services locally, he founded the charity Talking FreEly.  As its CEO he oversees the increasing range of local activities the charity is undertaking to increase awareness of mental illness and reduce the impact of stigma.  He also campaigns and advocates on behalf of the community with decision makers in local mental health services and third sector organisations.

When he’s not working, Tony is kept busy with his 5 children.  As well as enjoying the outdoors and everything the Fenland countryside has to offer he is also studying Karate with his children and hopes they will achieve their shared dream of reaching black belt in the not too distant future!

Gill Prangnell, Cambridgeshire Chamber of Commerce

Gill recently retired after an interesting and varied career that included ten years teaching in secondary schools and a similar period of time at the County Council in roles as diverse as travellers’ liaison and policy.  Gill also worked for the careers service and for a short time as a researcher for a Cambridge University project that involved interviewing people in the Ely area.

Most recently she worked for Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce where her role included supporting the Ely Chamber of Commerce and acting as an independent judge for the Ely Standard Business Awards.  Through this work Gill gained the opportunity to meet many fantastic local people.

Gill is now a Chamber member and is helping to develop the Chamber’s 5th ‘Ely Grow Your Business’ event being held at the Maltings, Ely on 12th July.  For information about this event email

Otherwise, Gill is thoroughly enjoying spending time with her 18 month old grandson.

Zoe Davison, Ely SOUP

Zoe Davison has lived in Ely for 9 years and her day job is with Cambridgeshire County Council as a Community Engagement Officer. She gets to work with many wonderful community organisations across our county, including our own Littleport and Ely Timebank.

Before this she worked for Babylon Arts and delivered many community arts projects in Ely and beyond. From beat boxing to belly dancing to heritage projects her role was always diverse!

In 2016 Zoe founded Ely SOUP, a community crowd funding dinner. With a team of SOUPer volunteers they’ve hosted 6 soups, and have provided a platform for over 20 organisations to share their inspiring work over a bowl soup.

Zoe is currently undertaking an Adult Education course in pottery at Ely College and has dreams of being on the Great British Throw Down, however she thinks her pots may have other ideas as she is now creating a great range in wonky plant pots!

In 2017 she was shortlisted in the Community Champion category of the Ely Hero Awards. Zoe is delighted and honoured to join this year’s panel of judges and is looking forward to meeting many inspiring people doing great work in our community.

Kate Patterson, Thrive Programme

Kate is originally from the North East and has travelled the globe living in Europe and the Far East before settling in Cambridgeshire in 1988. Kate moved into Ely in the millennium year 2000 and really enjoys living in the city. 

All Kate’s professional career is in education as a teacher and subsequently as a Headteacher for 15 years in Special Education.  She has also been a governor of a local Special School and worked for a local charity.

Kate has had many years of experience enabling people to significantly improve the quality of their lives, having had her own business since 2007 and now working in the mental health and wellbeing sector taking clients through a very specific learning experience called the Thrive Programme. This programme helps people to achieve their goals and to be the best version of themselves.

Kate is very much look forward to meeting some really interesting people who have been nominated for the Ely Hero Awards 2018. 

Cathy Wright, Ely Foodbank

Cathy knows first-hand of how vital volunteers are to a community, whether that is quietly helping a neighbour, or a community or within a structured organisation, the extended hand of help to others is a precious asset.  As  the Project Director of Ely Foodbank Partnership and a member of the Countess Church she sees many people who go the extra mile without little recognition.

With a husband working away most of the time, and three young adults at home,  Cathy escapes the family and busy life by meeting him in Basel for a few days of rewind and recently has picked up her tennis racket again,  although strength in the serve needs some working on!

Cathy first came into contact with Ely Heroes when the Foodbank benefitted from a reward and so now to be welcomed as a judge, is a way of returning the favour, and also an opportunity to meet some wonderful people who will think they are only doing a small act of kindness and will not seek reward, but without such people, our communities would be very different places.

Jeff Hide, Ely Hereward & Rotary Club

Jeff Hide settled in Ely in 2008 having retired from a career in law which included equestrian show jumping cases in the Olympic Court in Lausanne, Switzerland. For five years, he was in charge of a divisional police prosecutions office in West Sussex. For over twenty years he was an instructor and examiner for the British Horse Society and had also competed in target pistol and rifle shooting at national level. He is presently Chairman of the Electric Boat Association in the UK, Vice Chairman of the Great Ouse Boating Association and takes over as President of the Ely Hereward Rotary Club on 1st July.

He says, “I found the job of Judge of the Sporting Hero Award enlightening. There is so much talent around in Ely and district not realised by the local population and it was not an easy job to compare such diverse sports, ages and skills.”

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