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Every day heroes celebrated at Male Role Awards

Community, safety and emergencies

25 November 2021

Joseph Dooley aged 6 , winner of a West Northants Council Male Role Model Award

Inspiring males from across West Northants were recognised at the West Northants Council Male Role Model Awards, which took place on Friday 19 November.

The awards now in their 3rd year celebrate individuals who go above and beyond in their daily lives to help others and make a real difference in their communities.

The calibre of nominees was so high that this year’s special recognition award went to two people as the judges could not agree on one person.

Toby Birch for his commitment to Northampton’s communities and Joseph Dooley for his fundraising efforts.

Toby was integral in setting up Community Spaces Northampton (CSN) in 2011, a charity with the core purpose of safeguarding community centres for community use.

Ten years later, Toby remains Chair of CSN. In addition to the countless voluntary hours, he has given to CSN, Toby is also Chair of Rectory Farm Residents Association, trustee for Voluntary Impact Northamptonshire, and is a tireless advocate for the voluntary sector.

Joseph Dooley aged 6 decided to do a sponsored litter pick during lockdown in his village (West Haddon) and surrounding areas to raise money for the Gosset Ward at Northampton General Hospital and Earth’s Lonely Angels a Northamptonshire charity supporting individuals and families.

Joseph was poorly when he was born and the care and guidance the Gossett Ward and midwifery team gave him, and his family was the reason he wanted to help them.

Joseph collected 11 bags of litter over two days and raised an impressive £1860 for is chosen charities. His parents said: “It was all his idea, and he did amazingly. He is an inspiration to other children and to adults and I’m sure this is just the beginning of his kind and caring nature, and he will continue to do great things.”

Five outstanding males were shortlisted from over 80 nominations for the ‘Inspirational Man’ award including Peter Smith, Head of Newbottle and Charlton Primary School; Quinton Green founder of Knife Crime Victim Support; Steve Bishop a member of the Northants Litter Wombles and Lee Lewis co-founder of The Lewis Foundation.

It was a tough decision for the judges with so many inspiring nominees, but Nick Wilson was named winner of the ‘Inspirational Man’ award for his work as a mental health advocate.

After 14 years of service in the Army with multiple deployments around the globe, Nick was left with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a debilitating spinal disorder resulting in seven pro-lapse discs and a constant battle with chronic pain.

Through his daily fight with both physical and mental disabilities, Nick openly shares his journey for the benefit of others, seeking to inform, inspire and empower others to better manage their own mental wellbeing. He continually thinks of others, regardless of his own battles, and founded a men’s support group, Talk Mental Health, during the pandemic which has already helped over 150 people.

Nick said: “This award means so very much to me. We’ve all been through some horrendously tough times over the past twenty months and this award is dedicated to all those courageous warriors, who’ve faced up to and accepted their own realities and overcame their challenges to begin thriving in life once again, opposed to merely existing and surviving in it”

Nick received many nominations with one saying: “Nick is a mental health advocate with a difference, in that he has a daily battle with his own mental health and disability and yet is consistently there for others, mentoring, coaching, and nurturing them in a way which shows just how much he understands about how devastating mental health (and disabilities) can be.

His campaigning truly speaks from the heart, his most recent video campaign to Government resonated with so many people and will, if heard, change many lives by ensuring the right support can be funded for those who find themselves in need.”

Councillor Jonathan Nunn, Leader of West Northants Council who presented the awards said: “We received so many deserving nominations of truly inspirational individuals who have made a huge difference to the lives of others and who all deserve to be honoured. Every single nominee has our thanks for both the way in which they inspire us all, and for the great things that they do in support of our local community.

“Congratulations to our award winners and all of the shortlisted nominees and thank you to everyone who supported this extremely important event, which not only recognises the contribution of local men and boys, but also raises awareness of the very important issue of male mental health.”