Cambridge

The nine people and one dog who make Cambridgeshire a better place

What is Cambridgeshire without its people?

Whilst the county has historic buildings, cathedrals and one of the best universities in the world, it's the Cambridgeshire people who bring the best out of the county.

You'll often find them doing their bit to make communities safer, brighter, or even just a happier place to live.

Greg Gregory

Last year (2017) Greg Gregory was involved in a life threatening accident when his bike smashed into a piece of wood from a lorry.

The Waterbeach man suffered multiple fractures and was bound to a wheelchair.

That didnt stop him from doing a sponsored walk of 400 yards to raise money for East Anglia Air Ambulance who saved his life.

Greg in his wheelchair before the walk

The walk raised £4,000 for the crews, who he “would be dead” without.

Speaking earlier this year (2018), Mr Gregory said: “I managed to complete the walk in eight minutes and eight seconds. As I hadn't walked that far since my accident more than eight months ago, I was very pleased, and also delighted to have raised more than £4,000 for the organisation.”

Henry Wilson

Henry Wilson

Mr Wilson was awarded with an MBE earlier this year (2018) for services to the community.

The project director of Haverhills REACH Community Projects has helped thousands of people facing debt on the poverty line lead a more dignified life.

He said when he first received the award in the post it brought tears to his eyes.

He said: "I thought – I wish my mum and dad were around. We came from quite a poor family so I wondered what would they think about it.

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"I am amazed, blown away and completely honoured. It is part of the church's mandate to do some good without condition – to be compassionate, loving and kind.

"My prayer is that this will give us that credibility to open more doors to lift more people out of poverty."

Jake Scott Paul

jake Scott Paul outside his home in Ely with his German Shepherd dogs (Image: Warren Gunn)

Three years ago (2015) Jake Scott-Paul was battling alcoholism after a relapse in the addiction.

However, the Ely businessman overcame his demons by taking part in a tough mudder event, raising almost £1,000 for Action on Addiction at the same time.

Speaking to Cambridgeshire Live after completing the event, Mr Scott-Paul sad: “I think talking about where I was to where I have come shows anyone that is struggling with active addiction that you can turn your life around and what better way of doing it than pushing your body physically with an event like this?

Samantha Isaacson

Samantha Isaacson, (centre) has raised nearly £40,000 for the cancer ward that treats her.

Samantha Isaacson has raised tens of thousands for charity over the years.

As the organiser of the #KickCancerCup, a charity football match, Samantha raised £38,000 for cancer research.

The 25-year-old also participated in Race for Life, all while suffering from bowel cancer.

The terminally ill woman launched a kickstarter campaign in order to get life-extending treatment not available on the NHS.

Samanthas target of £25,000 was smashed by the local community, who raised more than £28,000.

Agha Ali

Agha Ali, 30, wants to give back to the community

When the general of T&T taxis saw two elderly people struggling to carry their shopping in snowy conditions it gave him an idea.

Not only did Mr Ali help the couple, but he managed to convince his taxi company to offer services for the elderly free of charge.

Taxi drivers topped up pensioners' gas and electric, fetched food from the local shops and collected prescriptions free of charge.

Speaking on a very snowy March 1, Mr Ali said: “I saw a couple of old aged people, and they were struggling because of the ice.

"I got out of my car, and then I almost slipped. So I asked if they needed help.

"It was a shock to them. They thought I wanted money, but I said it was just for me.

"Then I went back to my boss and asked if we could offer it – he said yes.

"We thought we'd put a bit of effort back into the community."

Abbie Bannon

Abbie Bannon

On October 26 last year (2017) Abbie was walking with friends along the River Nene, when the teenage girl she had befriended earlier that day suddenly threw herself into the water in West End Park.

As she waved frantically for help, Abbie sprang into action , taking off her jacket and shoes to leap into the river after her.

The 18-year-old, who has epilepsy, had been subjected to an ongoing tirade of bullying from a small group of youngsters earlier that day.

“The water was really, really cold and dirty and there was a strong current,” said Abbie.

While her friends phoned for an ambulance, plucky Abbie grappled with the girl, who then started to have a seizure, enabling Abbie to get a better grip on the victim and pull her towards the side.

“At one point my foot got caught on a reed and I thought I wasnt going to be able to get out,” she added.

However, after seven long minutes in the water, Abbie managed to reach the riverbank where her friends helped them both out.

When they arrived, the ambulance crew attended to the victim for 45 minutes, eventually stabilising her, before taking her to Hinchingbrooke Hospital.

If it wasnt for Abbie's actions the 18-year-old would have most likely died.

Abbies mother, Claire Butler, said: “When I first had the call from Abbies grandmother to say Abbie had been in the river, I was terrified she was hurt.

"But I couldnt be more proud of my daughter. What she did was amazing.”

Finn the German Shepherd

Finn the German Shepherd's bravery actually prompted a change in the law.

The dog and his handler PC Dave Wardell were chasing a suspect in the dark through a garden on October 5, 2016 when both were attacked with a knife .

Finn sustained serious stab wounds to the head and chest and lost a lot of blood, while PC Wardell suffered a hand injury.

Despite his injuries, Finn held on to the suspect until PC Wardell was able to handcuff him.

The dog was rushed for emergency surgery and was within minutes of losing his life, before the vet performed open-chest surgery.

Finn made a remarkable recovery and was declared fit for duties just a few weeks later. He even went on to track and catch another suspect on his first night back at work late last year.

PC David Wardell with his loyal dog Finn.

After the ordeal, PC Wardell campaigned for Finns Law, calling for attacks on police animals to be upgraded from a criminal damage offence and for an increase in maximum sentencing from just six months in prison to five years.

Finn was also awarded the International Fund for Animal Welfare at the House of Lords in October last year (2017).

Matt Webb

Have-a-go hero: Matt Webb (Picture: David Johnson)

Former special constable Matt Webb managed to stop a burglar in his pajamas armed only with a measly saucepan.

Matt, who was previously based at Parkside police station in Cambridge, detained Michael O'Loughlin, 32, when he caught him raiding a house in Radegund Road in Cambridge in the middle of the night on March 26, 2017.

Matt, who had never arrested anyone at the scene while an active special constable, used his police training and, wearing only his pyjamas, stopped OLoughlin from fleeing, who later later sentenced to two and a half years in prison.

Meanwhile Mr Webb now works at the Cambridge 105 community radio station, and admitted getting an adrenaline rush from the action.

He had briefly considered re-training for the police, but has decided not to for the time being.

Daisy Bell

Lily Bell and her family. From left: brothers Shay, 10, and Brandon, 16, sister Daisy, 6 and mum Sianade

As a two-week-old baby, Daisy suffered bacterial listeria meningitis, and has had to have a succession of operations for hydrocephalus – a buildup of fluid on the brain.

Since her first birthday, however, she has been involved in raising a huge amount of money for a range of good causes, including Addenbrooke's and Meningitis Research Foundation.

Speaking at last years (2017) Cambridge News community awards, her mother Sianade said: "We as parents really appreciated the children getting awards for what they do as it shows what good things they are doing and you get rewarded for helping. We are so proud of all of them and it was nice for other people to see how caring and loving they are."

Sylvia Morris

Sylvia Morris

After her daughter Karen died of leukaemia in 1998, aged just 23, Sylvia set up the Karen Morris Memorial Trust, to raise money for other patients and their families. The trust has amassed over £2.5 million to date, and has provided facilities in major cancer care centres across the country, including home from home rooms at Addenbrookes, where patients relatives can stay.

Sylvias lifelong dedication to fundraising was recognised in 2016, when she was awarded with an MBE.

Speaking back then, Sylvia said: “People have been so generous, including people who have used the facilities themselves and are now fundraising for more.

“Im delighted with the award – and its as much for Karen as it is for me.”

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