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Parent of the Year


The Argus, Wednesday, October 2, 2013


LAURA Davy-Thomas is facing the toughest battle of her life having been diagnosed with breast cancer in April. She is undergoing an intense course of chemotherapy at the same time as looking after her two girls, aged three and one. But not once has she got down or upset in front of them. Husband, Dan, said: She is currently planning their birthday parties even though she is having chemotherapy every two weeks. Its very hard for me to get across how proud I am of her and how wonderful she is as a parent. I cant explain what we are going through very well but this is the hardest thing we have ever been through. Our little girls are just so happy as Laura still does everything for them. I work full-time but I am comforted at work by the thought that our two girls keep Laura positive and focused.

PIPPAS story is inspiring if at times shocking. Her marriage was violent. So much so she suffers from perforated ear drums. Following the break-up she turned to drink and was soon an alcoholic. The court case which followed declared her an unfit mother and she was banned from seeing her little girl. She was rock bottom. Amazingly, she managed to dust herself off and along with help from her own mum, started to get her life back on track. She fell pregnant in what turned out to be a short lived relationship. But the resulting baby boy was the best thing she could have hoped for. She decided to go back to college and study social work so she could use her experiences to help others. Friend Patricia Davies, said: It is such a privilege to know this brave and lovely girl and to be part of her life. She has overcome so many adversities, I don't know how she had the courage to early on. To me, Pippa is already Mum of the Year.

LISA Ross is unlike your average parent. As if looking after her own three children wasnt enough work, she has fostered more than 30 others over the last 10 years. She has given her all in making sure those who have had a tough start in life get the same opportunities as their peers. Many claim their job to be 24/7 but in Lisas case that is no exaggeration. In caring for others, her Worthing house been burgled and she has been attacked and threatened. But she has never let that get to her. She has never given up on those who are most important. Her son, Callum, has witnessed his mums heroics for many years. He said: I would like to nominate my mum for this award due to the sheer time and effort she puts into being a parent and foster parent. She has cared for so many children who will all give her a glowing report. Im sure she will be a foster mum for as long as she can manage. The kind hearted mum is also an ambassador for the Foster Care Agency and helps mentor others.

Business in the Community

BRIGHTON-based financial services company Family Investments has been helping families invest their money for more than 35 years. But where they really show their community minded spirit is by allowing staff to volunteer during work time. Last year they donated 1,565 hours to support the local community. The firm also goes into schools to help run literary and numeracy sessions. In particular they have developed partnerships with S t Bartholomews P r i m a r y School in Brighton, and employment skills training in Blatchington Mill Secondary School and Sixth Form in Hove. Simon Hartshorn, savings and investments manager, said: Family Investments has been heavily involved in supporting the local community for many years now and I am tremendously proud of what we have achieved. Through our education initiatives we focused on improving literacy, numeracy, attendance and personal development. Over that time we have supported nearly 1,300 students and we hope our example will inspire many more businesses to put responsible behaviour at the heart of how they do business.


Charity football match, held at Newhaven FC to raise money for Ben Stoten a soldier injured in Afghanistan. Hampden Arms (red) v The Bridge Inn 2008 (yellow)
A PROPER pub should be the beating heart of a community and the Hampden Arms is just that. The South Heighton boozer is headed by much-loved landlady Michaela Twaits who rums dozens of community orientated events each month. Over the last three years they have raised many thousands of pounds for charities and local groups. They also help support local bands with a music night each week and host sport teams such as pool and darts. The highlight of this year though was the free street party they put on for local youngsters. Paula Woolven, who nominated the pub, said: What little spare time Michaela has left is given to helping at a volunteerrun child's theatre group and caring for her children and grandchildren. The Hampden Arms and its landlady are a shining example of a good old-fashioned community pub - sadly, a dying breed nowadays. Long live the Hampden Arms.

THE team behind the Bevy think a pub should be about more than good beer. Moulsecoomb was left without a local after the boozer was closed down by police in 2010 following a number of violent incidents. Residents, determined not to let a few trouble makers destroy their pub, set up an innovative share scheme which they launched in December 2012. Each share costs just 10 with 200,000 needed to successfully take over the venue making it the countrys only communityowned pub on a council estate. And while they have not yet reached their target, the future looks bright. Fiona Peacock, who nominated the pub, said: The community approach of the Bevy sets it apart as a great candidate We all know a good local watering hole is the cornerstone of any community, but thanks to the new and innovative community ownership business structure, The Bevy will be able to bring food, drink and community spirit to a local population of nearly 18,000.

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