Citizens' Award Winners 2001
Miss Diane Borsberry
Miss Diane Borsberry, 34, of Trimdon Village, County Durham, was shopping in Sedgefield on 16th March 2001. She heard a woman scream, running out of the shop shouting, "He's got my purse". Going outside to help, Miss Borsberry saw a young man starting the engine of a powerful car with the driving door still open. She stood in front of the car, which drove straight at her. Jumping out of the way, she grabbed the door and pulled herself into the car, grasping the steering wheel. Ignoring desperate appeals from its occupant to get out, she said that she would only do so if they gave her back the stolen purse, which was now secreted in the clothing of a female passenger. When Miss Borsberry got hold of the car keys the robbers gave up and fled. They were later arrested. Numerous other people had merely stood and watched - not so Diane Borsberry.
For the last 16 years Stephen Elliott, 34, has developed a new form of community drama for young people in the Wear and tees areas, known as BATH (Bishop Auckland Theatre Hooligans). Much to the appreciation of the Durham Constabulary, his initiative now extends to two further drama groups, so that there are 200 active members engaged, down to the age of seven. Stories based around the young people contain a rich mixture of humour and sadness, playing to capacity audiences. The productions cover such themes as homelessness, drugs, drink, parental breakdown, 'bogus calling' and other crime. Planned projects now include bullying, domestic violence, bereavement and teenage pregnancy. The Home Office Crime Reduction College is now marketing the professionally made BATH video nationally. Stephen Elliott has raised both the self-confidence and status of many young people whom he has engaged in his most original and indeed unique enterprise.
Mrs Delice Fowler
After ten years of sustained effort since 1999, Delice has co-ordinated twenty small neighbourhood watch schemes for 250 homes into an umbrella of 100 schemes covering 2,500 homes in and around Birstall, Leicestershire. She started with fundraising, a newsletter and a Christmas burglary prevention campaign, all from her own house. She was then targeted by the local criminals and was even attacked by a group of youths incensed by her work to prevent the spread of drugs in the area. She responded by joining the police action group and Crime Prevention Panels. She ensured the provision of witness statements as, when and where required for prosecutions. The Watch is now run by a committee, is self-financing and has developed its own website and publicity.
Mrs Barbara Nettleton
Mrs Barbara Nettleton decided four years ago that rising intimidation, vandalism and burglaries in her locality, in the Scholes area of Wigan, required some positive action. She had been born there in the late 1940s. She canvassed 200 homes and formed the 'One Voice' residents' association. She re-coordinated the Neighbourhood Watch Scheme, instigated numerous clear-up campaigns, secured funding for hanging-baskets and boxes throughout the area, arranged drug awareness sessions and set up recycling banks. She then formed a project for the local youth called TEAM 2000, in which the young people found themselves playing a leading role in community gardening, fundraising, litter collecting and delivering her newsletter to 400 members. The Chief Constable of the Greater Manchester Police has personally recommended to us this very modest but highly effective pioneer for her selfless work in so markedly improving her own community.
At 10.00 pm on Saturday 10th March 2001, John, 52, of Brixham, Devon, was driving his car home, having visited his mother. He saw smoke pouring from Parkway House with two teenage girls leaning out of the top window. He tried to run up the stairs but his jacket caught fire as he brushed a blazing door. He entered a flat, finding the female occupant screaming and panicking. He soaked a towel and got her to protect herself. Though struggling to breathe, he entered the flat opposite and again used soaking towels to save Leah Levett. The heat and smoke were so intense that he could not reach the two girls. However, he managed to throw four wet towels up to the from Leah's window. He held her on a small window ledge until a fire brigade ladder came to the rescue. Everyone was saved. The police described John's bravery as 'incredible'. He is very humble about it, stating "Anyone else would have done the same'.