Marlow FM Hidden Heroes Awards

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In a usual year, we might expect to have the Marlow FM Hidden Gem Awards, with winners announced during a black tie event at a local hotel. This year is a bit different of course, and Marlow FM, in partnership with the Town Council and the Chamber of Trade and Commerce, wanted to recognise the people in our town who are going the extra mile to help their neighbours and local community, and make Marlow a better place to live, work, and visit during this difficult year.

In line with the ways we are having to adapt to the situation, the winners were announced at a special live awards ceremony which took place at the Marlow Christmas Drive In! The event was also broadcast live on Marlow FM of course. Awards were announced on stage by Mike Cannon, Jocelyn Towns (Head of Marlow Town Council) and Lesley James (Chair of Marlow Chamber).

Jocelyn Towns, Mike Cannon, and Lesley James

Events on stage, and prerecorded videos were shown on the big screen

Each winner was announced on stage, an a short “acceptance” video was played – whilst Marlow FM team members approached the winners cars with a certificate and gift.

Here is the list of winners, together with the comments as made by the presenters during the presentations last night:

The Shepherd family

Jancis And Tony Shepherd, along with their three daughters, cover their home in hill farm road, Marlow bottom with thousands of Christmas lights to spread festive cheer and raise money for charity.

They spend months preparing for the annual tradition, which first started in 1999 and have raised thousands of pounds for charity. This year due to covid they could not do the same show as they usually do but still have put huge effort into a static display for people to drive by to see, reflecting support for the nhs.

Over the years they have raised over £30k and this year they are supporting The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust again.  The trust raises awareness of depression and other mental health problems, and as mental health is such a big issue, especially for youngsters during periods of lockdown, all donations are welcome. You can find out more on their facebook page

The shepherd family bring christmas joy and happiness to so many and we are delighted to honour them.

Mu Reynolds

As you may know in a “normal” year there are 3,000 entrants for Santa’s fun run, a fantastic sight to see thousands of Santas running through Marlow.

Muriel is the glue that holds the Santa’s fun run together, actively involved in preparation of the software, recording the entrants, maintaining communication with entrants, producing packing notes and delivery lists for all the Santa’s costumes.

She works as hard as Santa Claus himself and is an amazing winner of a hidden heroes award

Meals from Marlow

What an amazing and ambitious project meals from Marlow was this year. Chef Tom Kerridge, the pub in the park festival team and local entrepreneurs Chris Hughes And Andy Agar came together with some amazing Marlow folk to deliver free meals to those in need in and around the Marlow area. It went way beyond expectations and a total of 100,000 meals delivered is on the horizon – and the team will keep delivering in 2021

A dedicated team of volunteers turned up every day to receive the food and arrange all the deliveries, it was an administrative marathon and Mu Reynolds, Alison Branch (both in the photo here) , Charlie Brown, Clare Mccloughlin, Andy Dean And Hilary Martin from the town council worked tirelessly . Plus a queue of volunters every day who turned up and went far and wide t deliver meals.

And a special mention to Ian Humphries from the lush kitchen

This hidden heroes award is for you all

Luca Paletta

Luca and the Da Luca team

Luca runs a fabulous, small local restaurant and has strived to become part of the community over the last few years. In 2020 they have excelled and been absolutely brilliant providing excellent service to the community of Marlow bottom and Marlow . They have provided lots of free meals for the elderly and needy in the community and even ran a fund raiser for three charities in Marlow bottom who due to Covid have been unable to fund raise this year. Luca and his staff cooked 200 pizzas with all money going to the charities and raised around £1600.

As one person who nominated Gianluca and his team said: we are lucky to have such a kind, generous and thoughtful business owner in our community who is trying to pay back the community for their support during the lockdowns.

Rebecca Lewis

Rebecca does so much for the local community, she was chair in the preschool and currently chairs friends of Burford. She is involved with brownies and scouts, often volunteering her time to help others .

She does a lot of work for the one can trust and when we had the first lockdown she rallied her side of the village making sure that everyone that needed help had it, she went to do the shopping herself for many people .

As often happens when you are in charge of running an organisation sometimes part of your job is to recognise people but this time she’s the one to be recognised for all her hard work

Maria Graciela Fernandez

Maria is the administrator for the Marlow bottom face book group

Throughout the pandemic the Marlow Bottom Facebook group ensured everyone had access to someone to talk to, to collect prescriptions, buy food etc.

Maria has managed to organise all of this whilst looking after 2 small children and a full time job.

As one of her nominees said:
in my opinion she is wonder woman – she is completely humble and doesn’t do anything for recognition. I think this would be amazing as a thank you from the Marlow bottom community.

Shelley Robson

Shelley had the most nominations in the awards and she is truly loved and appreciated for everything she does

She is an amazing lady who has always selflessly looked after the elderly and vulnerable in the community, even before the recent Covid 19 issues, from helping them for hours to fill paperwork to getting them medication and food or just a friendly ear…, she was always only a phone call away night or day if someone just wanted a chat if they were on their own or feeling down. And she also provided hundreds of Sunday lunches during the first lockdown

She collected food and prescription most days of the week during lockdown for elderly and vulnerable people, often at short notice, and took care of anybody that needed it. She has been a shining light for so many people.

She has always gone out of her way to help the residents of Marlow and Marlow bottom, giving unending support to the community, always happy to help and always with a smile. She truly doesn’t realise how much Marlow bottom loves her

We hope she does know – Shelley you are a true hidden hero!

Lora Wilson

Lora created seed1, Marlow’s community eco and refill store, to inspire and serve our community and to provide employment for the homeless. When lockdown first came she found a way to get healthy fruit and veg boxes to people who couldn’t get them and gave many away. Seed 1 has become a community hub and Lora’s team of volunteers try to help everyone they can to lead a green waste-free and inspiring life

Lora has worked through the pandemic serving the community, supporting the homeless and those in need with food parcels, always environmentally minded, and active in helping where she can. All this despite illnesses and other obstacles, and yet staying strong and topping up our cupboards come rain or shine

As one of her nominees said: she literally started something from a passion without knowing if it would work. Providing Marlow with the only ‘naked packaging’ store, staying open over lockdown with deliveries, and voices support for anyone also helping our planet, she’s brilliant

Sally Dark

Sally is a busy working mum who leads a large group of volunteers helping the London homeless. For 20 years, every Tuesday a group of volunteers take food and clothes to those in need. Sally coordinates a huge team effort that makes such a difference to so many.

Sally is a true hidden hero

Terry Staines

Marlow Football Club Manager Mark Bartley and Chairman Terry Staines during the Emirates FA Cup media day at the Alfred Davis Memorial Ground

Terry has been the chairman of Marlow fc for many years. The amount of work he undertakes at the club has ensured the town has a successful team. In 2020 the club celebrated its 150th anniversary and is proud to be one of the most historic clubs in the country and the only club in England to have applied for entry into the fa cup every season

Thanks to Terry Marlow has much to be proud of. The club had a great 2018/19 season and maintained a position near the top of the table throughout the season.

The author of the football tourist books recently tweeted: great ground, lovely people

Marlow fc runs the largest dedicated girls football club in the area and also partners with first soccer to provide high quality football training and matches for boys in and around the Marlow area from reception upwards. Through Marlow fc, the young players have a pathway to play weekend matches as part of one of the most historic clubs in the country.

Terry has steered the club through a very challenging year due to the pandemic, showing huge dedication even through illness to Marlow fc.

Terry we salute you!

Michael Bourton

Since early march and throughout the first lockdown, mike and his handsome dalmatian, Bruce, continued to keep upbeat and remind us of the funny side, the struggles, the challenges, a spin on news stories, a dogs view of life and a perspective on Marlow with a daily poem

He posted his poems and fantastic drawings on the local Marlow Life Facebook page, as well as his own page and produced a book of poems called the virus poems.

It was worth waking up every morning to see his latest poem….some of them too close for comfort!!    

He continues to publish regularly and we thank him for keeping Marlow smiling in this difficult year.

Josh Mustard

Josh is an incredible 13 year old student at Sir William Borlase’s grammar school.

During lockdown he set up his business making dog biscuits. He makes the canine treats himself from scratch using his “secret recipe” & delivers them locally on his bike (usually with a family member). He does all his own marketing, (under his parents supervision), posting updates on social media & reaching out to local groups.

For Christmas he’s collaborated with some local businesses to help support local business & raise awareness while donating some of his proceeds to the food project maidenhead.

Josh is a budding young entrepreneur & starting to make a name for himself, he’s hugely inspirational to other his age and totally  deserving for an award.

 Covid 19 Facebook Support Group


The Facebook group was set up to provide support for those of us within our community either affected by self isolating or suffering adverse issues because of coronavirus.

They had the vision that everyone in the community who needed support was a member of, or was in contact with a member of, a smaller whatsapp group covering certain areas of the town and surroundings.

Helen, Tom and Helen-Marie worked so hard to make the vision a reality, creating community links, keeping Marlow updated with who was open, what was happening, how to get help and some fun stuff too!

They were a fantastic source of information and we thank them for being true heroes

Andrew Webb & The Rugby Club

This is just one example of so many where Andrew and his team helped the people of Marlow.

During “lockdown “and beyond Andy headed up a group that would collect prescription medications from pharmacies and then deliver to the owner . I took advantage on numerous occasions , and was highly impressed with all the organisation involved . I was able to stay safe at home and i did so appreciate the tremendous efforts of the team .

 What a great service to offer, thank you to all the rugby club heroes

Paul Merchant (bit embarrassing to be reporting on myself -sorry!)

Paul has kept everyone in Marlow and the surrounding areas up to date with his website and social media all through lockdown and afterwards with everything that’s been happening in and around our town. From business openings times, takeaways, to important announcements. This has been an essential service.

He is always the first with news of what is happening and makes you feel that life will go back to normal as he keeps us all updated with new shop and restaurant openings and everything that is happening.

He is a great friend to Marlow FM, we use his website and Facebook page for on air content all the time and he is generous in his support of us.

Like a stick of rock Paul has Marlow running right through him and no better person to be the last hidden hero in 2020

Pat Reading

We don’t have a transcript of the award speech made about Pat, because it was a surprise to Pat…. who helped organise these wards, and in fact has been our sole contact regarding the event throughout, including sending us all the above text! 🙂

However Pat is a major part of Marlow FM’s success and the driving force behind much of what happens there ,and much else around town. Well done Pat!

Well done to all the winners!!!

Article author: Paul Merchant

About the author: Founded in its original version back in 2000 - yes the internet DID exist back then. Brought up in Marlow, went to school here, now has children at the same schools. Quite clearly loves all things Marlow - hence spending over 2 decades doing this!

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