Lancaster man nets champion award

Community Champion Award Winner, Tony Finn accepting his award.

Community Champion Award Winner, Tony Finn accepting his award.

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A man from Lancaster took home a community award during a glittering ceremony hosted by Galloway’s Society for the Blind.

Tony Finn was awarded the community award which recognises visually impaired people who have made a difference in their local community through their work or social interaction.

Tony is a true Champion of the Fairfield Association; an environmental charity which has created a community orchard and nature reserve.

Tony was an outstanding nature photographer and had a photography business when he began to lose his sight.

His nomination said: “He is passionate and knowledgeable about all aspects of the countryside, and became a valued member of the Fairfield Association about 10 years ago. Despite his visual limitations, he assisted practically with many aspects of the management of the Orchard and Reserve.

“As his sight has further deteriorated he now provides the refreshments for volunteer events, independently organises other events, and uses his enthusiasm and special skill of engaging children to great effect by being the charity’s primary schools’ liaison volunteer.

“Undoubtedly Tony must have faced some difficult times but no one would know; he has great charisma, is so positive and enthusiastic, has a great sense of humour and is an inspiration to all. He just carries on regardless. He is a star.”

Hundreds attended the awards evening at the Invincible’s Lounge at Preston North End Football Club, which celebrated the achievements of inspirational people living with sight loss in Lancashire.

Stuart Clayton, chief Executive of Galloway’s, said: “There are 47,000 people living with sight loss in Lancashire and Sefton alone.

“The finalists were such an inspiration to us all. We were really keen to ensure the awards didn’t just represent people who use Galloway’s services, but in fact anybody who’s living in the Lancashire.”

The judging panel comprised Suzanne Dennis of Suzanne Dennis Optometrist Limited; Steve Daley – Captain of the England Futsal Team; Kay Taylor from the Lancashire Evening Post; Suzanne Taylor from main Sponsors, The Eric Wright Group; and Galloway’s Chief Executive, Stuart Clayton.

Steve Daley, guest speaker and chair of the judging panel said: “All the categories were really hard to judge and the calibre of nominations we received just reinforced how many inspirational people there are in our community who are either living with sight loss or going above and beyond to support those living with sight loss. It was a fantastic event and I was so proud to be a part of it.”

The winners were as follows:

Artistic Talent Award: David Liddell (Preston); Education Award: Patricia Holding (Burnley); Volunteer Award: Brenda and Norman Worthington (Penwortham); Business Award: Water Park Activity Centre; Charity Champion: Marjorie and Dougie Gornall (Preston); Community Award: Tony Finn (Lancaster); Sport Award: Ashley Woodruff (Thornton Cleveleys); Carer Award: Jean Lilley (Southport); Young Person Award: Mohammed Salim Patel (Blackburn); Most Inspiration Award: Justine Raith (Preston).