We have announced our Christmas Stars for 2020, celebrating members of the local community who have demonstrated kindness, resilience or creativity this year.
Eight Christmas Stars were chosen by a panel of judges. We received an overwhelming response to our call-out to the local community to nominate friends, family, work colleagues, key workers and volunteers who they felt deserved to be rewarded at the end of what has been an incredibly difficult year.
Each Christmas Star received a bespoke early Christmas present from us and their names now have pride of place on giant golden stars in the centre’s covered mall.
Merseyway’s Christmas Stars for 2020 are:
Stockport Spidermen AKA Jason Baird & Andrew Baldock
These Christmas Stars hit the streets of Stockport during lockdown, entertaining hundreds of local children when they dressed up as superheroes! Jason and Andrew brought a smile to the faces of so many local children while raising a phenomenal amount of money for the NHS. They really are Stockport’s superheroes! Jason and Andrew received HMV vouchers from the centre so they can purchase all their favourite superhero DVDs and merchandise!
Jennie Davies has supported Stockport’s unpaid Carers for more than 20 years through her work at Signpost, Stockport’s Carers Organisation. She gives emotional and practical support to those caring for others, regardless of the age or condition of the cared for. No-one could have expected the demands of the last nine months however Jennie has worked tirelessly to keep Carers going, offering a listening ear and practical suggestions to any Stockport Carer who needs her. Jennie takes everyone under her wing, brings them together and shows them that someone cares for them. Always full of new ideas and energy, Jennie is compassionate and considerate and well-deserving of being one of the centre’s Christmas Stars.
To say thank you for the amazing support she provides, Jennie received a beautiful pen from Ernest Jones.
Laura Holmes is a mum of two and an exemplary Staff Nurse who has spent the majority of the pandemic working on the front line, taking care of patients with COVID-19 at Stepping Hill Hospital, before returning to trauma and orthopaedic work in September. Throughout the pandemic she regularly stayed late, picked up extra shifts and has been there for colleagues in need of emotional support. When she contracted the virus earlier this year, her selfless attitude meant she worried more about not being there to support her colleagues and patients than worry about herself. Laura is mum to two daughters who she homeschooled during lockdown with patience and understanding.
To thank Laura for her resilience and dedication to her role as a nurse and a mum she received shopping vouchers for Primark and Costa Coffee along with some treats from The Body Shop.
Layla Nicole Hopkins
Nine year-old Layla Nicole Hopkins was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes earlier this year. Her life has changed dramatically yet she has shown resilience, bravery, courage and maturity and all with a smile on her face.
She now has to manage her diabetes with daily injections, finger pricks and carb counting at a time when she is unable to gain support from other family members and friends due to local restrictions. The resilience Layla has shown at such a young age and during such a difficult time is phenomenal. Layla’s mum says Layla is her hero!
Layla loves Harry Potter so she received a Harry Potter backpack from Primark, some River Island vouchers and a star necklace from F. Hinds because she truly is a star!
Hannah is the Principal of the YSBD Theatre Academy in Cheadle Hulme, running classes for children aged 4-18. Throughout the first lockdown she transferred the entire stage school online bringing her enthusiasm and magic into her pupils’ homes. Hannah even arranged for different teachers and West End stars to deliver activities to keep children motivated and entertained! On VE Day, Hannah set up a sound system in the street for the whole day, performing a collection of Vera Lynn songs for the entire neighbourhood to hear from their homes. Hannah never stops smiling and inspiring her pupils to keep dancing and her dedication to her pupils and the joy she has brought during such a difficult time has been wonderful.
A fan of Disney, Hannah received Disney merchandise from Primark along with a silver necklace from Beaverbrooks featuring a star to remind her what a star she is to her pupils!
Alex Matheson works for the NHS and in addition to dealing with her own long term chronic condition over lockdown she acted as a coordinator for local group For The Love of Scrubs who hand and machine sewed masks, scrubs, ear defenders, mask extenders, skull caps and scrub bags to support the NHS when PPE was in short supply. Alex has also sewn items to be donated to food banks and for the homeless. In addition to working in the NHS full time, being a mum and wife, she was also recently voted Volunteer Newcomer of the year bey the LGBT Foundation because she cares about the community and loves to help people.
Alex loves to relax after a long day so she received a hamper of goodies from Forever Love including a star wax melt burner as a keepsake for all her hard work.
Mrs Smart is the Headteacher at Adswood Primary School. Her commitment to her pupils during the pandemic has been unwavering and inspirational. From walking round to pupils’ homes and waving to them during lockdown, creating TikTok videos to raise a smile and sourcing food for children less fortunate, the well-being of the children at Adswood Primary have been at the forefront of her mind at all times. Her pupils think the world of her.
Mrs Smart received a voucher for Boots and a pair of Pandora earrings, something she can keep to remind her of how much she means to her pupils and fellow teachers.
18 year-old Isobel Woosnam used her sewing skills to make older neighbours teddy bears with boxes of chocolates, alongside dozens of wash bags for people working in social care and nearly 40 sets of scrubs for our fabulous NHS staff – and all of this while completing her studies remotely!
Isobel received Waterstones vouchers and a Pandora ring to say thank you for her creativity and dedication to others.
Victoria Nichol, Merseyway Centre Manager said: “We received a fantastic response to our call out for nominations and it was incredibly humbling to read so many wonderful stories of kindness, bravery and compassion. Everyone who was nominated is a Christmas Star in their own right so it was an incredibly difficult decision to choose just eight Christmas Stars from so many wonderful entries. This year’s Christmas Stars really are an inspiration and to show our gratitude their names are now up in the centre as part of our Christmas decorations and we’ve treated them all to a well-deserved early Christmas present. On behalf of everyone at the centre we want to say a huge thank you to both our Christmas Stars and to everyone who was nominated – it really does demonstrate what a brilliant community we have here in Stockport.”