Crawley Community Awards shines spotlight on the wonderful spirit of our town

The 2020 Crawley Community Awards had been scheduled to take place on Monday 16th March at the Hawth.

Monday, 16th November 2020, 1:51 pm
Updated Monday, 16th November 2020, 2:20 pm
Duff Eynon was compere

More than 400 nominations were received reflecting Crawley’s strong community spirit. 500 tickets had been issued and there were to be performances by ((Bounce)) and Urban City Dance. Representatives from headline sponsor London Gatwick Airport and category sponsors along with Crawley borough councillors, and community leaders were attending to pay tribute to the winners and nominees who would be in the audience along with friends, family and supporters. The work, achievements, efforts and selflessness of all our winners is a source of great pride and while we may be unable to hold an Awards Presentation Evening this year, we can still recognise and celebrate many of those who contribute so much to our community.

Plans are being made for the 2021 Crawley Community Awards which is scheduled for June. Updates can be found on the event website Duff Eynon recorded a series of video clips in an empty Hawth Studio which can be viewed on the Crawley Borough Council YouTube Channel on this link

The winners of the 2020 Crawley Community Awards are:


Sponsored by London Gatwick Airport

Winner – Patrick McIntosh, St. Catherine’s Hospice

Patrick is a sixty-two-year old triple cancer survivor, who took on the extraordinary challenge of cycling from Twickenham to Tokyo to help raise money for St Catherine’s new hospice at Pease Pottage. Four months, 7,200 miles and eight countries later, Patrick timed his journey perfectly to arrive in Japan two days before the start of the Rugby World Cup.

The Hawth

Battling potholes in Russia, the theft of his bike, language barriers and some brutal weather, Patrick never gave up and has raised more than £110,000

And Patrick isn’t finished yet! This year, he’ll continue his fundraising by cycling across the USA, Iceland and the UK to complete his round the world trip, raising more money to support St Catherine’s.


Sponsored by Metrobus

Winner – Crawley Town Community Foundation

Established in 2010, the Foundation is using the power of sport and football to engage, inspire and empower people in Crawley and the surrounding areas.

Working with participants together with local, regional and national partners, the Foundation aims to positively change lives and provide support across our community. Their areas of operation are in health & wellbeing, education, employment and skills, equalities and inclusion, regeneration & community safety.

Their Move The Goalposts project is a football and personal skills programme for those experiencing mental health difficulties while the Crawley Flyers sessions offer people with a variety of disabilities the opportunity to play football in an inclusive and relaxed environment.


Winner – Thomas Simpson

Tom is Volunteering Coordinator for the Gatwick Greenspace Partnership, which works with the Sussex Wildlife Trust. He leads a range of groups around Crawley and Horley in conservation works and rebuilding footpaths and bridges for public access of our beautiful area woodlands.

He does a huge amount of conservation work in the area and supports loads of community groups. He freely shares his knowledge with the groups and works to ensure the safety of everyone on his sites. He was nominated by Linda Mortimer who said “Tom is an amazing human being and deserves to be recognised for using his skills and his passion for the betterment of his community”.


Sponsored by Arora Hotel Crawley/Gatwick

Winner – Graham Cridland

In 2004 Graham established the West Sussex and Surrey Angling Academy. The purpose was to use fishing as a tool to help troubled and disadvantaged students to either remain in school, find employment or reintegrate as valued members of the community. While Graham covers much of the cost of running these courses through fundraising, he has also contributed many thousands of pounds of his own money. Graham has recently extended his work to support members of the armed forces and their families to aid their recovery and rehabilitation. In May the Academy opened an Armed Forces, Veterans & Blue Lights Breakfast Club.

Retired Brigadier Alan Davies who nominated Graham said that his dedication is beyond all expectation.


Sponsored by the Crawley Observer

Winner – Crawley Parkour

Crawley Parkour are the first indoor Parkour gym in the South East. It is run by a small group of young people who put their hearts and souls into this relatively new venture. The sport is suitable for all abilities, is non-competitive and helps promote self confidence in a safe environment.

The group have taught a range of ages from three through to sixty-five, with a focus on trying to get people active and happy with their exercise regime. They provide fun and safe coaching sessions for schools, youth clubs and scout groups. Their membership includes those with disabilities and from minority groups, strengthening community spirit and cohesion.


Sponsored by Everyone Active, K2 Crawley.

Winner – Karl Youngman

Karl’s goal has been to get as many younger children as possible engaged and participating with basketball. The Storm Basketball Foundation has brought basketball to 22 of the 23 primary schools in Crawley and to 6 of the 7 secondary schools.

The Storm Basketball sessions have been delivered to over 1000 children on a weekly basis. Individual leagues have been established for different year groups including one of the first nationally for years two to four.


Sponsored by Parkwood Theatres, the Hawth

Winner – Louise Ryrie

The Louise Ryrie School of Dance and Drama provides classes for all ages from toddlers through to adults. One class member who nominated the school said “I am a seventy-four year old student of The Louise Ryrie School Of Dance & Drama in Crawley. I strongly recommend this school for a Crawley Community Award. Louise has great patience with the older dance students. She makes the class very interesting and lively and we always look forward to the next lesson.

The school also arranges Tea Parties and Coffee Mornings during the year free of charge to encourage the generations to mix and help alleviate the loneliness experienced by many of its elderly neighbours.


Winner – Robert Groves

In 2017, Robert hand-cycled 2,500 miles around the UK coastline, the only disabled person to complete this incredible challenge. Robert has done a huge amount to promote disability sport by increasing awareness and showing how it impacts people’s lives. He is an acclaimed motivational speaker, sharing his story and his journey since becoming disabled in 2006. He inspires others who are facing challenges never to give up on their dreams.

In his nomination Ian Maskell said “I was left paralysed following a bike accident. Robert invited me to try one of his hand-cycles. I thought I would never be able to cycle again but Robert gave me the confidence to do so. Since then I have competed in many charity rides and I want to thank him for helping to change my life”.


Sponsored by CITB

Winner – Katie Jordan

Katie is a member of staff at Oriel High School. She was nominated by colleague Sara McWilliam who said “Katie has lived and breathed Crawley all of her life and is proud to be a Crawley resident. She is committed to developing community links for young people to connect with the older generation and is passionate about encouraging young people to volunteer. Students think the world of Katie and naturally gravitate towards her and her natural nurturing personality brings out the best in everyone. We are so lucky to have her at Oriel and I feel privileged to be on her team”.


Sponsored by Blakedown Landscapes

Winner – Crawley Open House

Crawley Open House provides support and services for those suffering the effects of homelessness, unemployment, loneliness, discrimination, or other forms of social exclusion. Their support is available to anyone in need. The drop-in day centre can be accessed by anybody who needs help, advice or just the company of somebody who cares, empathises and who tries to understand.

Advice is provided on welfare benefits, helping people through the application process. They are also able to provide debt management advice and help people learn to improve their budgeting skills through guidance and planning.

Charlie Arratoon has spent the last 21 years working in every area of support that Crawley Open House offers, from Health to Advice and Resettlement and since 2013, as Director of this essential Crawley charity.


Award sponsored by Manor Royal Business District

Winner – Katie Schollar

Katie volunteers in scouting four days a week as part of the 4th Worth Scout Group. She is a young leader at Cubs and also attends two Explorer groups. Katie has volunteered for the past twelve years including through her GCSEs and now as she studies towards her A Levels.

She can be found at all events such as Christmas Fairs, bonfire nights and any fundraising events. Katie mentors young leaders and helps train them, sharing the skills she has learned over the years.


Winner – Upon Butterfly Wings

Upon Butterfly Wings was founded in 2011 and since then has donated thousands of knitted, crocheted and sewn burial clothing, blankets, cribs and teddies to hospitals and bereavement services.

Run from founder Lucy’s flat in Crawley, the volunteers make time in their own busy lives to support bereaved families in this way. She and her volunteers try their best to help make a desperately sad situation a little less painful. Some have personal experience of the trauma of losing a baby or newborn.

These clothes often form an immensely important part of the memory boxes families keep in memory of their little lost ones.


Award sponsored by County Mall

Winner – Super Siblings

Super Siblings are a comparatively new group offering support for siblings of children with disabilities. The group provides a club twice a week in Crawley for children who have a brother or sister with physical or learning disabilities.

One parent said “It is so important for my son to be able to make friends with others who just get how hard it is living with a disabled sibling and his confidence has grown so much”.

Another added “Super Siblings have been a lifeline to our family. They provide a fun and supportive group so my child can go and be themselves away from the pressure of helping to care for a disabled sibling at home. I can’t praise the helpers enough”.


Award sponsored by Optime Group

Winner – Farah Ali Khan

Farah is one of four Members of the UK Youth Parliament representing West Sussex. Seventeen-year-old Farah represents Crawley and East Grinstead. She travelled to the House of Commons in November to take part in a debate on issues which particularly affect youth. Farah was selected to read out the speech of thanks in the House of Commons.

In 2019, Farah spoke in the Commons on hate crime and led campaigns on human rights; mental health; votes for 16-year olds; knife crime; hate crime; environmental issues & promoting inclusion.


Winner - XIX Crawley RAF Cadets

Nineteen squadron endured a number of challenges in 2019. This included having their Headquarters Hut in ifield vandalised and their simulator broken. The Hut needed complete renovation and refurbishment. Despite this, the fifty strong cadets have gone from strength to strength gaining a new commanding officer on the way.

The cadet’s impressive Pipes and Drum band played at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo and in front of Her Majesty The Queen at Balmoral Castle. Despite having no Headquarters, the cadets continued to rehearse and were rewarded by winning the Air Cadets national music competition for percussion.

They continue to focus on serving their local community and played a significant part in raising funds for the Royal British Legion at both Crawley and Gatwick for poppy day.


Award sponsored by Crawley Borough Council

Winner – Nicholas Hahn

Nick has devoted over twenty years of his life to grassroots football and helping the local community. As a huge influence and role model for players, he managed to create a family from his team. He promotes community values such as inclusivity, diversity, justice and good manners.

The Crawley Devils started back in the 1990s as an Under 8s team. One player describes how Nick single-handedly carried this team through their teenage years until they were grown up with many leaving for university. On their return, Nick was asked to bring the team back to life and they are currently in their fifth year of adult football. Almost forty young twenty-somethings come together every week for training and matches creating a large second family for everyone.”