From spectacular acts of bravery to selfless deeds helping others, this year’s Stars of Norfolk and Waveney Awards is celebrating 10 years of highlighting the region’s heroes.

Ahead of the event, we are looking back at the past winners of the award’s Overall Star category to explore some of the great work that has been carried out by those who deserve recognition.

2021 - Carly Gorton

A then-aged 11-year-old schoolgirl captured the hearts of the judges last year by starting a global change.

Carly Gorton, of Southburgh near Hingham, led a charity to create its first wig from afro hair with the Little Princess Trust.

The Trust said it was previously unable to make ones using afro hair but after finding someone in America willing to take on the challenge, Carly shaved off her hair.

The experiment was successful and the wig was donated to a child with cancer in March.

2020 - Karen Fulcher

Karen Fulcher, then aged 57, of Newbegin Road, Norwich, worked tirelessly during the pandemic to create 164 sets of scrubs and, with some help, more than 500 washbags and masks - all of which were donated to various NHS organisations around the county and London.

The judges described her efforts as “going above and beyond” the call of duty.

On winning, she said: “It’s amazing and I’m totally shocked. It means everything to me.”

2019 - Caroline Copping

Caroline Copping was nominated for her work at the Priscilla Bacon Lodge hospice on Unthank Road in Norwich for the past 30 years.

The Priscilla Bacon Lodge is a specialist palliative care hospice and offers advice and support for both patients and their loved ones.

Described by colleagues as "the heart and soul of the unit", Ms Copping went above and beyond for people living in the hospice and staff alike and had worked every Christmas day since she started working there.

2018 - John Nooney

Founder of Norfolk Youth Projects, John Nooney, has more than 50 years of experience in youth work.

He is now chief executive of the voluntary community organisation for young people in Norwich and Norfolk. Over the years the organisation has been involved in, and organised, more than 50 cultural youth exchanges involving 3,000 young people from 35 countries.

A resident of Aylsham, speaking at the time he said: “It's something I wouldn't have dreamt of happening.”

2017 - Tracy Eves

Tracy Eves took home the Overall Star of Norfolk prize for her work at work at Meadow House nursing home in Swaffham.

She was described as "going beyond the call of duty” to make sure the residents were always happy during their time at the home.

2016 - Sarah Barrett

This top award went to Sarah Barrett, then aged 19, who had also won the Young Person of the Year Award.

Following a violent attack at a young age, Miss Barrett ended up in hospital after self-harming and multiple overdoses when she was 14.

After making a recovery, she wanted to find a way to help others who were struggling with their own issues, and came up with the idea for the website to help others with mental ill health.

She said she was thrilled to have been named the overall star, and added: “I didn't realise what I was doing would have so much of an impact.”

2015 - Michael Bowley

When Michael Bowley saw flames licking the inside of a care home in Thetford, he did not spare a thought for himself.

Instead, the then aged 70-year-old rushed straight inside and started to put out the flames, using all that he had on him at the time – which was just his hands.

Suffering blisters that took months to heal, Mr Bowley put out flames on a window ledge, while his daughter-in-law ushered out the care home residents.

The pair's brave actions saved the lives of eight residents, prompting Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service to present him with the Society for the Protection of Life from Fire Award.

His courage convinced the judges that he should be the winner of the Outstanding Bravery of the Year Award too.

Humble Mr Bowley said he was surprised to win and that he had done what anyone in his position would.

2014 - Mark Thompson

Mark Thompson was crowned the Overall Star of Norfolk after being awarded the Outstanding Bravery of the Year Award.

Mr Thompson, aged 53 at the time and from Lakenham, saved the lives of a woman and a dog after a car burst into flames after a head-on crash with a lorry.

He had two choices; to wait for the fire service or to do something incredibly brave.

He opted for the latter, grabbing the woman's arm and pulled her until she came free. She survived as well as the dog.

2013 - Joyce Hammond

She was in critical care just two months before her big award win.

But even the challenge of making it to the Stars of Norfolk event wasn't too much for Joyce Hammond, then aged 83.

She won the Unsung Hero of the Year and overall Star of Norfolk at a glittering ceremony for her dedication to her village of Dickleburgh after moving to the south Norfolk community as an evacuee at the age of 12.

Mrs Hammond was a staunch Royal British Legion (RBL) supporter for 60 years and dedicated her life to helping others.

During her years with Dickleburgh RBL women's section she was standard bearer for 57 years, sold poppies for 55 years, organised fundraising events, edited the parish news magazine for 30 years, and was involved with the village church her entire life.

At the time, she said: “Never in a million years did I think I would win an award like that.”

Nominating for the 2022 awards

Nominations can be made at Entries will close on Sunday, October 16. Finalists will be announced on Saturday, November 19 in a special supplement in the EDP. All finalists will be invited to a special afternoon event at Norwich Cathedral on Thursday, December 1.

This year's categories are:

  • Animal Hero of the Year, sponsored by Redwings Horse Sanctuary
  • Carer of the Year, sponsored by Norwich Evening News
  • Charity Hero of the Year, sponsored by K Foley Ltd trading as McDonald’s
  • Education Hero of the Year, sponsored by Step Teachers
  • Lifetime Commitment to the Community Award, sponsored by Norwich Theatre
  • NHS and Emergency Services Personnel of the Year, sponsored by LOCALiQ
  • Outstanding Bravery Act of the Year, sponsored by Superbowl UK Norwich
  • Team/Community Group of the Year, sponsored by Stephenson Smart
  • Unsung Community Hero of the Year, sponsored by the Eastern Daily Press
  • Young Person of the Year, sponsored by Old Buckenham Airshow

Non-entry categories:

  • Judges' Special Award, sponsored by Norwich Cathedral
  • Overall Star of Norfolk and Waveney, sponsored by Hopkins Homes

Keep up to date with all the latest news from the Stars of Norfolk and Waveney Awards 2021 at and fill in the entry form online at to nominate your stars.