Carer rewards selfless acts

FROM charity workers who raise thousands of pounds to keep vital groups going, to volunteers who give up their time and support a vast range of projects in Comet country, we want you to tell us who has gone beyond the call of duty and deserves a pat on the back.

The Comet Community Awards recognise selfless acts, and nominees who are shortlisted will be invited to a ceremony in May.

Mother-of-three Karen Thorman, of Church Lane in Stevenage, has nominated a team of people who supported her while she was caring for her sick parents.

“I looked after both my mum and dad over a period of six years,” she explained. “I did get a lot of help and support and I want to emphasise to people the importance of getting the right people involved when you are a carer. Little by little I managed to make my life a little bit easier.”

Karen’s mum, Dorothy, was 82 when she died. Over the years she had suffered from dementia, TB and a stroke, before contracting pneumonia and suffering internal bleeding.

Karen’s dad, Neville, had mental health problems, had difficulty seeing and hearing and was not very mobile. He contracted pneumonia and died in April last year, aged 83.

Karen describes Jenny Dell, a volunteer for family support charity Home-Start, as “outstanding” for helping to care for her children one day a week for six years.

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Jackie Newman, who used to be a sister at Lister Hospital in Stevenage, accompanied Karen to numerous doctor and social worker appointments, as well as visiting nursing homes with a view to respite care.

At Stanmore Road Health Centre in Stevenage, nurse Jenny Peleo goes out into the community to care for patients. “Any problems I had, I just called her and she would come out to see my mum or dad or would sort out a prescription,” explained Karen. “It cut a lot of the waiting around out and made life easier. I had someone I could just ring and tell them what the problem was.”

Annette Cooke of Hitchin Alzheimer’s Society also provided invaluable support to Karen. “I would describe my mum’s behaviour and she would come and have a coffee with me and help me figure out what to do,” she said. “She also helped with legal and financial problems.”

Lesley Glover, from Carers in Hertfordshire, helped Karen with legal and financial issues, and “the support was brilliant”, said Karen.

Carer Cheryl Edwards, of Helpers Homecare in Baldock, “was kind and gentle with my mum and dad,” Karen explained. “She was outstanding.”

Karen’s final nomination for The Comet Community Awards is for her mum’s dentist, Chris Hajistilly, from Bedwell Dental Practice in Stevenage. “He came out to my mum’s home to treat her and went over and above what he had to do,” she said. “He was so kind to her.”

The categories for nominations are as follows: Young Achiever of the Year, Carer of the Year, Service to Community Award, Teacher of the Year, Valiant Volunteer of the Year, Parent in a Million Award, Nurse/Care worker of the year, Great and Green Award, Good Neighbour Award, Role Model of the Year, Charity Champions of the Year and Lifetime Achievement Award.

This year’s awards are in association with the Garden Square Shopping Centre Letchworth and sponsors are North Hertfordshire College, North Hertfordshire Homes, Specsavers and VW of Letchworth.

To enter simply log on to and explain just what fantastic work is being carried out in Comet country.