It’s official – the nominations for this year’s Stars of Norfolk and Waveney Awards are in!

While we are waiting for the finalists to be announced, here is a welcome from all of this year’s sponsors.

Overall Star of Norfolk and Waveney – Hopkins Homes

Hopkins Homes is renowned for building distinctive homes and environments that retain the heritage of the past, whilst offering energy efficient modern living.

Based in Woodbridge, in Suffolk, the award’s overall sponsor is currently building almost 1,000 new homes across 25 developments in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex.

Lee Barnard, group managing director, said: “We are extremely proud to be the headline sponsor for the fourth consecutive year.

“As a local company, we take enormous pride in what we do, the legacies we create and the positive contributions we make to the communities in our area. It is a real honour to be involved in these awards.”

Charity Hero of the Year – K Foley Ltd trading as McDonalds

K Foley Ltd is the franchise name for 10 branches of McDonalds dotted across the east of England – predominantly in Norfolk.

The brand was established in 1999 when Kevin Foley bought his first franchise restaurant from his father, Terry.

A spokesperson for K Foley Ltd said: “Life can be difficult sometimes, but remembering we’re all in this together can help us feel more connected to those around us. And by all playing our part to lend a helping hand to those in need, we can feel more like an active part of our society.”

Animal Hero of the Year – Redwings Horse Sanctuary

Redwings Horse Sanctuary was established in 1984 and has grown to be the largest horse charity in the UK, working to save horses, ponies, donkeys and mules.

Redwings, which employs 359 people, has its headquarters in Norfolk and visitor centres at Aylsham and near Great Yarmouth. They have recently become the custodians of Anna Sewell House, the birthplace of the Black Beauty author, in Great Yarmouth.

Lynn Cutress, chief executive, said: “Redwings is honoured to sponsor this award, particularly as it was inspired by Phoenix, the victim of a cruel arson attack, who we fought so hard to save.”

Carer of the Year – Norwich Evening News

The Norwich Evening News was founded in 1882 but was later renamed to the Eastern Evening News, returning to its original name in 1991. It offers all the latest news, sport and what's on information about Norwich and the surrounding areas.

Editor Richard Porritt said: “We are hoping to have another great year – now our tenth – celebrating our region's stars.”

Education Hero of the Year – Step Teachers

Step Teachers, founded by two teachers in 2000, has placed more than 8,000 amazing teachers and support staff into its partner schools and has a network of branches in Norwich, London, Stevenage, Rainham and Plymouth.

Step Teachers continues to demonstrate that independent, family run businesses can thrive through hard work and valuing their staff.

Marios Georgiou, co-founder and chair, said: "It’s impossible to over-estimate the importance of education.

“With so many challenges facing the world today, it’s more important than ever to invest in education. Only through education can we hope for a better future for our children.”

NHS and Emergency Services Personnel of the Year – LocalIQ

LOCALiQ is one of the UK’s fastest growing digital marketing agencies and is part of the Newsquest Media Group combining marketing technology and data insights with audience reach.

The agency is proud to support the awards this year.

Lifetime Commitment to the Community Award – Norwich Theatre

Norwich Theatre is a leading arts organisation in the UK and the largest in the east of England.

They are also a creative force at the heart of Norwich working with local, national and international partners to continuously grow and develop Norwich’s status as a cultural destination.

Norwich Theatre encompasses Norwich Theatre Royal, the Playhouse, and Stage Two, and has nearly 150 members of staff and a huge number of volunteers. Their work is further supported by a network of corporate members, sponsors, donors and Friends of Norwich Theatre.

Stephen Crocker, chief executive and creative director, said: “The work of these everyday heroes in Norfolk and Waveney often goes unnoticed, but they are part of what makes our county so special. We are honoured to be involved in these awards as a sponsor and by donating prizes.”

Award winners will receive tickets to the Norwich Theatre pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk.

Outstanding Bravery Act of the Year – Superbowl UK Norwich

Superbowl UK describes itself as the “ultimate family entertainment centre” that aims to deliver memorable and fun experiences to all its guests.

George Smith, marketing and events executive, said: "We have the ability as a family run business to engage with the local community to make it more personal and relatable to their town.

“Sponsoring local hero awards such as this are vital for our community engagement side of our business.

“Local businesses recognising the good doings of local people is paramount and supporting these awards is a fantastic way to do so.

“Congratulations to all of the entries this year from everybody at Superbowl UK.”

Team/Community Group of the Year – Stephenson Smart

Stephenson Smart is a regional firm of chartered accountants and business advisors based in East Anglia.

It employs more than 100 people in offices in Gorleston, King’s Lynn, Fakenham, Wisbech, March and Downham Market.

Their history of providing professional accounting services to local businesses stretches back more than 100 years on King Street in King’s Lynn, where it still has an office to this day.

Stephenson Smart are a growing accountancy firm that has a great reputation for being friendly and supportive, while delivering a professional service to their clients.

Henry Pettitt, partner, said: “We recognise the importance of strong teams and communities and are delighted to sponsor a category that also recognises these values.”

Unsung Community Hero of the Year – Eastern Daily Press

The EDP was founded in 1870 and has brought news stories from Norfolk, Suffolk and east Cambridgeshire to millions of readers including the latest news, sport and what's on information about the region, campaigning and supporting the people who live in the three counties.

This will be the third year running that the awards are organised in-house by the EDP, which the team is proud to support.

Young Person of the Year – Old Buckenham Airshow

The only air show in two counties, Old Buckenham's Airshow brings history and the future together in the skies above south Norfolk every year.

In 2022 the UK's first air show performance by an all-electric production aircraft happened on the same afternoon as the air show's record for Spitfires, along with the remarkable B-17 Flying Fortress, Sally B.

A spokesperson for the event said: “It's great that an air show which introduces aviation to countless young people every year is able to support the Young Person of the Year and we're delighted to be involved in this way.”

Judges' Special Award – Norwich Cathedral

Norwich Cathedral has been a Christian presence at the heart of Norfolk for more than 900 years. The Dean and Chapter is committed to living by the core values of the Cathedral which are best expressed in its continued adherence to values laid down by Benedictine forebears.

Andy Bryant, canon for mission and pastoral care, said: “We are delighted to be sponsoring the Judges' Special Award and to show our support for those in this county who go over and above in their support, care and encouragement of others.”

All finalists will be invited to a special afternoon event at Norwich Cathedral on Thursday, December 1.

  • Keep up to date with all the latest news from the Stars of Norfolk and Waveney Awards 2021 at Finalists will be announced on Saturday, November 19, in a special supplement in the EDP.