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Morecambe and Lancaster community heroes honoured with Lancastrian Awards

Chris Dickson, Karen O'Connor and Julieann Seaton are among this year's Lancastrian Awards winners

Community heroes from our local area have been honoured in the 2023 Lancastrian Awards.

They include Morecambe's Chris Dickson, who was honoured on Lancashire Day "for his extraordinary acts of kindness and community service in Lancashire".

Chris has raised thousands for the CancerCare charity while he battled cancer, and now while his wife Sharon is also fighting the disease.

He said he was "totally overwhelmed" to win the award.

Chris runs his own gardening business 'The Lawn Ranger' and donates 10 per cent of his monthly earnings to CancerCare.

His Halloween-themed garden, which he opens to the public at his home every year, is hugely popular with visitors and raises funds for the charity.

Read more: INTERVIEW: Morecambe dad says Halloween fundraiser 'means so much' as wife battles cancer - Beyond Radio

The Lancastrian Awards, run by the Friends of Real Lancashire, recognise those individuals and organisations who epitomise the true Lancastrian spirit by supporting others in their communities and by being dedicated to making a difference. They are awarded each year to mark Lancashire Day, which was on Monday November 27.

The Friends said Chris "exemplifies the true spirit of selflessness".

"His dedication to his elderly customers is heartwarming. Throughout the winter months, he not only tends to their gardens but also delivers homemade soup and grits their driveways during icy conditions, all free of charge.

"Remarkably, Chris has been battling cancer himself for seven years and is now cancer-free. His resilience is further tested as his wife faces an aggressive stage of breast cancer, and his daughter Maisy battles type 1 diabetes since a very young age. Yet, through these personal challenges, Chris’s commitment to helping others never wavers."

Chris and Sharon are pictured below.

"Adding to his generous efforts, Chris organises an annual Halloween display. The donations received from this event are dedicated to Cancer Care North West, providing vital support to others in the community facing similar battles.

"Furthermore, in gratitude for the support he received, Chris donates 10 per cent of his monthly earnings to Cancer Care, consistently contributing to the organisation that once supported him. His generosity extends beyond one-time gestures; it's a continuous commitment to giving back. 

"Please join us in congratulating Chris Dickson for his compassion, resilience, and dedication to making a difference. His actions not only bring practical help to those in need but also inspire hope and a sense of community".

In 2022 Chris was chosen as a royal batonbearer for the Commonwealth Games.

Read more: INTERVIEW: Morecambe dad who beat cancer speaks of his delight at royal Commonwealth Games honour - Beyond Radio

Julieann Seaton from Lancaster (pictured below) is also a recipient of a Lancastrian Award.

Julieann has been honoured for her work with the Food For all food club.

The Friends said she was "a beacon of hope and support in the community through her incredible work".

"Dedicated to helping families, Julieann tirelessly collects and purchases produce to ensure those in need have access to nutritious food," they said.

"Her commitment goes beyond just providing meals; she actively participates in meetings and works relentlessly to secure resources for the food club. 

"Her kind-heartedness and genuine desire to help others embody the true spirit of Lancashire. Julieann isn't just running a food club; she's nurturing a community and making a significant difference in countless lives."

Karen O'Connor, team leader from the Little Joe's clothes group at St Joseph's church on Slyne Road in Lancaster, has also been given a Lancastrian Award.

The Friends said Karen "has become a cornerstone of support for numerous families".

"Her commitment to collecting and distributing pre-loved children's items has been a lifeline for many in the Lancaster and Morecambe area," they said.

Her efforts extend far beyond mere charity; Karen's work embodies a deep sense of community spirit and empathy.

"Despite the challenges she faces in her own life, her dedication to helping others remains unwavering. She consistently goes above and beyond, ensuring that families have access to the essential items they need.

"Karen's kindness and generosity have not only provided practical help but have also fostered a sense of unity and support within the community. Her actions remind us all of the impact we can have through acts of kindness and community service."

Other Lancastrian Award winners this year include the popular broadcaster John 'Gilly' Gillmore (pictured below), a huge champion of the Lancaster and Morecambe area during his 18 years as a presenter at BBC Radio Lancashire and prior to that, The Bay.

The Friends said: "Gilly's deep passion for Lancashire is evident in every show he hosts. He has brought to light the unique tales of countless towns, villages, and individuals, weaving a rich tapestry of what makes Lancashire so special. His work goes beyond mere reporting; it's about connecting people, sharing experiences, and highlighting the vibrant culture and community spirit of Lancashire.

"His voice has become synonymous with the heart and soul of Lancashire, offering not only entertainment but also a sense of belonging and pride to listeners all across the county."

To be eligible for recognition for a Lancastrian Award, organisations must have a base in the historic county of Lancashire and individuals should have been born in, live in, work in or have some interest in the protection and promotion of Lancashire.

Nominations opened to the public in October, with hundreds of nominations being received from across the county.

The nominations were then shortlisted and categorised.

Later the nominations were judged by a group of proud Lancastrians.

A list of winners can be found at the Friends of Real Lancashire Facebook page.

In 2022, Beyond Radio's Paul Fisher was given a Lancastrian Award.

Read more: Beyond Radio's Paul Fisher presented with Lancastrian Award at Lancaster Castle - Beyond Radio

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