Meet the 2020 Judges

A warm welcome to our judging panel for the Ely Hero Awards 2020.

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.

Anthony Gardiner, G’s Fresh

Anthony has lived and worked in Ely since 2004. Today he is marketing director for local produce business G’s Fresh and a board member of Ely Cathedral Business Group, making Anthony well known to many within the local business community.

Anthony is married to Karen and they have two children, Dylan aged 12 and Ava aged 5 who both attend school in Ely and are active in local clubs and organisations.

Anthony is delighted to have been invited to be a judge for the Ely Hero Awards, as the awards are a great way to celebrate and honour some of the diverse, unsung heroes and interesting people who make up the tapestry of our unique local community.

David Archer, Archer & Gaher Adventures

David has been an Ely local for a couple of years and is one half of Archer & Gaher Adventures, setting up the travel company with a view to providing an immersive travel experience for their clients. David gets to work with people across the world and loves to learn about different cultures, connecting with people’s stories whether he is trekking in the wild or taking a walk up Fore Hill into town. Through this he appreciates the importance of the Ely community and is proud to be involved with the Ely Hero awards for a second successive year. David brings a fresh perspective from his travels and his city-life in London and wants to give back to Ely for the way that the city has welcomed him since he moved here.

A Mental Health First Aider through a previous employment role, David has seen first-hand the effect that a helping hand can provide and this enhanced his awe at the self-sacrificing nature of the Ely Hero Award nominees. His company Archer & Gaher Adventures actively supports local businesses through events and aims to further build these relationships to promote Ely innovation wherever they go.

Last year David and his company were one of the sponsors for the awards and were blown away by the stories and achievements of Ely’s heroes. It is an amazing way to bring these stories together and to inspire others to follow the example of their fellow residents. David cannot wait to meet with the applicants for the 2020 awards and be inspired all over again.

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.

Ruth Buckley, Truth HR Solutions

Ruth has lived and worked in Ely for 19 years. She is married and has a teenage daughter. After working for several other businesses as an HR Manager for over 20 years she started her own consultancy in 2019; Truth HR Solutions. She specialises in working closely with Small businesses, helping them to grow through their people.

Ruth has been a supporter of the Ely Hero Awards from the first ever event. She is delighted to have been invited to be a Judge in this year’s Awards.

Her career in HR has spanned many business sectors, Hospitality, Retail, Food Manufacturing, Education and Technology. Selecting the best candidate for a role is something that she really enjoys. An excellent choice for a Judging panel!

Ruth enjoys volunteering in her spare time, she is a Parent Academy Council Member at Ely College and an Industry Mentor at Bishop Laney Sixth Form. You might also know her for running a fortnightly business networking group, selling Poppies each year or even from Ely Swishing events and helping to run the popular Eco Ely community group.

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.

Jeremy Reeve, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)

Jeremy Reeve is the regional membership officer for the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) a not-for-profit membership organisation who for the last 46-years have been a powerful voice for small businesses in the UK lobbying Governments to provide support for SME’s.

Jeremy’s skills are supporting companies with 0-250 employees, helping with structure, process, training, legal support and business planning all provided for FSB members via a local and national support programme.  The FSB also provides its members with multiple benefits ensuring a smooth running of their businesses and always has the back of the small businesses.

In his spare time, Jeremy likes to spend time with his 10-year old son Ellis, socialising with friends and family and is also an active volunteer with the homeless charity

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