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April 22 2016.

Unsung heroes across the Lewes District were celebrated at a special gathering at Newhaven Fort last Saturday. The event, hosted by Cllr. Ruth O’Keeffe, MBE, Chair of Lewes District Council, recognised and celebrated the contribution of volunteers, charities and voluntary organisations who work tirelessly for the benefit of others.

Cllr. O’Keeffe said: “I felt the Unsung Heroes event was a lovely way to round off my year as Chair of the District Council during which my civic theme was the charities and voluntary groups of Lewes District. I have visited all 52 of the nominated groups, one for each week of the year, and have learnt a lot about their wonderful work for the whole community.

"Bringing representatives of the charities and groups, all of whom had been nominated by local residents, together to recognise what they do for our community was a real pleasure.

"I would like to thank everyone who helped with the fundraising to make it possible for every single group to go away with a donation to their cause of £100.

"Interestingly, many groups said that as well as the recognition and donation a great feature of the event was the chance to network with others, and people felt that they had made new friends and opened up new possibilities as a result.

"Thanks must also go to my Civic Officer, Caroline Hanlon, for all the hard work she put in to make the event such a success.”

All who were nominated received a certificate presented by Her Majesty’s Deputy Lieutenant of East Sussex, Mrs Kathy Gore.

Guests also had lunch, enjoyed a performance by the talented young singer Tamsin Hodges and were taken on guided tours of Newhaven Fort.

Celebrated volunteers on the day included 3rd Newhaven Scouts, 3VA, 4th Lewes Scout Group, Blind Veterans UK, Bluebell Railway, Brighton Housing Trust – First Base Centre, CCHF All about kids, Chestnut Tree House, Ditchling Museum of Art & Craft, Diversity Lewes, East Sussex Association of Blind & Partially Sighted People, The East Sussex Foster Care Association, East Sussex Youth Orchestra, Headway, The Friends of Anne of Cleves House, Friends of Sussex Hospices, Homelink, Home Start - East Sussex, The House of Friendship, Landport Youth Centre, Lewes Amnesty International Group, Lewes Concert Orchestra, The Lewes Fund, Lewes Group in Support of Refugees and Asylum Seekers, Lewes Priory Rainbows, Lewes Priory Trust, The Railwayland Wildlife Trust, Lewes Riverside Club, Lewes Holocaust Memorial Day Group, Macmillan Cancer support, Now! Charity, Oyster Project, Parkinson’s UK, Patina, Pestalozzi, Raystede Centre for Animal welfare.

Also celebrated and recognised were Seaford Seniors Forum, Cliffe Royal British Legion Women’s Section, National Citizen Service, Pells Pool, Phoenix Talking Post, Pippa’s Group, Seaford Youth Sports, Sussex Community Development Association – Newhaven Community Kitchen, Tenants of Lewes District, Royal Air Forces Association- Lewes Branch, Seaford Musical Theatre, Seahaven District Scouts, Seahaven Branch RSSG, St Peter & St James Hospice & Continuing Care, Sussex Community Rail Partnership and Members of the RNLI Newhaven Lifeboat.