Meet the 2019 Judges

A warm welcome to our judging panel for the Ely Hero Awards 2019.

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.

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

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.

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.


Tim Smith, Blazetech Fire Protection

Tim Smith, although originally from the West Midlands, has lived in the area for approximately 20 years.
For over a decade he has been the owner of a local fire protection business, Blazetech Fire.

He shares his home life with his partner, Helen and their two dogs (Joe and Otto).

Tim has many interests; clay-pigeon shooting and motorbikes being just two of them.

Along with running his business, he is actively involved in several community projects; such as sitting on the committee of a local community hall and performing concerts and festivals with the Rock Vox Choir, based in Prickwillow.

Whenever possible, Tim likes to lend his hand to charity fundraising events.

One of the major projects he is currently organising and taking part in, with a small group of friends, is a motorbike tour in support of Alport Disease sufferers.

As a previous sponsor of The Ely Hero Awards, Tim was honoured when invited to join the judging panel for 2019.

He looks forward to seeing and promoting all the good work being carried out in the area and he wishes all of the nominees good luck in their ventures.

Tracey Harding, Tourism, Town Centres and Events Manager, Visit Ely

Tracey Harding is the Tourism, Town Centre and Events Manager for Visit Ely, the body responsible for the delivery of tourism and town centres services in Ely and the surrounding area. Tracey is also a board member of Association of Town and City Management (ATCM) as well as the Chair of the ATCM Eastern region network. She is also a board member of Ely Chamber of Commerce.

She also manages the visitor attraction, Oliver Cromwell’s House which also houses the city’s Tourist Information Centre and the recently opened Ely Escape Room which has brought a whole new leisure experience to the city.

With over 20 years of experience in her field, Tracey has overseen many new promotions, initiatives and events which has made Ely a key visitor destination for the region. Events such as Eel Festival Weekend, Apple Festival and Heritage Weekend are all managed by the Visit Ely team. Their latest initiative, along with local retailer Sew Much to Do, is to make Ely the first plastic bag free city with their #ElyBorrowBag scheme.

Tracey is passionate about the city and ensuring that every visitor, whether from near or far, has a truly memorable experience when they visit. She feels very privileged to hold her position and simply loves meeting and networking with the many businesses and organisations to make Ely a great place to work, live and visit.

Jo Evans, East Cambs District Council

Jo Evans is Chair of Ely Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Officer for East Cambs District Council 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 12 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 scheme 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.

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  34  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 is a trained therapist and has run her own practice, REAL Life Therapy since 2004.  Primarily working with adults on a one-to-one basis coaching and helping individuals develop through a balanced awareness, providing them with a wide variety of mental-health tools.

Her areas of specialty are Psychotherapy, Counselling, Hypnotherapy and Reiki Healing. Running regular mediation and self-development groups locally, she provides the opportunity for individuals to grow and embrace change.  She has a particular interest in the methodology  of PNI (Psycho Neuro Immunology), which is  the connection between the  mind  and body.

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 .

Prior to this she worked for 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. She is always looking for a new challenge.

Stuart Green, The Sutton Beast, Sutton Feast

Stuart brings a wealth of experience when it comes to knowing what makes a community tick. With many years of organising and taking part and organising community projects such as The Sutton Beast, Sutton Feast, working as a volunteer with a local museum and bringing together the community to sing at Christmas, he knows how people can work together. Stuart believes that it’s the dedication of people who bring their skills to the table that lie at the heart of such projects and the goodwill and desire to provide opportunities for everyone to participate, is what it’s all about. A schoolteacher for many years, Stuart has been able to lead individuals towards their goals through his empathetic approach to learning and this is also at the heart of his community spirit. Recently he has developed his own singing act and takes it into care homes where he believes that music can play a part in care and well-being. When not taking part in such activities, he sings in a local choir and is also an avid supporter of Southport F.C. (the place of his birth) who he follows around the country. Stuart is married, has lived in Sutton for 23 years and has two children, both teenagers, who also keep him busy!! He is both honoured and delighted to be part of the judging panel this year.

Shelley Davies, Witchford Village Post Office

Shelley runs the Post Office in the village of Witchford, before the Post Office she started her working career with Midland Bank and stayed with them through the transition to HSBC, in total 22 years. She worked in branches for the majority of her career, always customer facing. The final years with HSBC took her into branch training in both sales and systems with all levels of staff and managers. Excellent customer service is in Shelley’s heart and she maintains this high standard to her customers in the Post Office. Shelley is a big believer in if in life you don’t like something you have to change it, she loves being self-employed and loves running her shop and Post Office and until she doesn’t make enough money to pay her rent, intends to stay doing it. Shelley loves animals and in particular dogs of which her and husband, Lee have 2. They lead a full life running their small holding. Shelley likes camping, walking her dogs at the beach and the outdoors, she admits to hating shopping and busy places! She loves to swim when she gets the chance. Hobbies are a little tricky to manage at the moment because of her busy life! Shelley supports many Charities through her shop and is a fantastic advocate of the community, she recently shaved her head to raise funds for a cancer charity.

Gavin Human, Tucker Gardner

Gavin Human has been an estate agent for over thirty years and is the Regional Director for local estate agents TuckerGardner, here in the heart of Ely

After  supporting Ely Hero Awards over the last couple of years Gavin is thrilled to be part of the judging panel this year.  Gavin was born in Ely and has worked extensively in the local area for many years. He has a wealth of local knowledge and is a keen advocate of supporting local businesses, having been a member of the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce for many years.

Gavin is often seen at local networking events and has helped support many local groups, clubs and volunteer organisations, either helping raise much needed funds or lending a hand or to at various events.

Through his work, Gavin has helped raise thousands of pounds for worth while causes, such as Jimmys Homeless Shelter , Emmaus and WinterComfort in Cambridge. Last year he braved the elements and with temperatures plummeting to minus 7, joined a merry band of volunteers at Cambridge United  and slept outside in the stands, raising awareness and funds for homelessness and mental well being.

At weekends, Gavin can often be founds participating in charity fun runs, or cycle rides, but has not yet tempted a full marathon despite often saying he will. Will 2019 be the year he does it? In 2017, In aid of The Cambridge Roar, Gavin stepped into the boxing ring and took part in a charity White Collar boxing  bout at Quy Mill Hotel and Spa. Sending him totally outside of his comfort Zone, Gavin often says this was one of the most frightening and worrying experiences of his life, but also one of the most memorable and rewarding.

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