Pride of Milton Keynes – our city’s top Unsung Heroes

Posted 19th May 2020

A woman who single-handedly started a business to support other women, a school caretaker and the secretary of a judo club are among the nine awards made by the Judging Panel of the first Milton Keynes Unsung Hero Awards.

“We wanted to recognise some of the very many volunteers whose dedicated commitment over the years has kept our city going,” said Mayor of Milton Keynes Sam Crooks who launched the Awards.

“Many of the nominations were for excellent people but in positions where their achievements were already well-known.  By contrast we were looking for those who have never received an award and wouldn’t expect any.”

Kerry Lewis, editor of Pulse Magazine, and Pulse/Total MK journalist Sammy Jones joined the Mayor to help in the judging, together with Darren Dorrington of MKFM and Sally Murrer of the MK Citizen.

The award winners are as follows:


Naseem Khan of Wolverton – for her work with providing skills training for women from disadvantaged social backgrounds with very little or no English. For four years she has also supplied 120+ meals a week to homeless and vulnerable adults. Last year she ran a Christmas lunch for homeless and struggling families, including presents for the children.   During the current crisis she has been providing over 450+ meals a week to the NHS.


Ruth Panther – volunteer coordinator of Great Linford’s Little ‘Bookshop’, a hub that brings the community together to enjoy activities such as art displays, dancing, music, games, poetry, therapeutic art, shiatsu and children’s story time.


Beryl Claydon – who, along with her team of volunteers, runs the Monday Lunch Club at Clifton Court in Olney, and also volunteers with the Willen Hospice Café in Newport Pagnell.


Danny Quinn – of the Black Sheep Collective in Wolverton.  His café donated £10,000 to the local community last year and Danny himself is personally involved in local litter picking and graffiti removal schemes.  He also donated £500 to Bushfield primary school in Wolverton so that students could go on an end of year theme park trip.


Laxman Kastala – of Oxley Park for his inclusive work with the Indian Community and other communities across MK, and as the founder of the DREAMSAI charity. The judges were particularly impressed with the way in which he has drawn so many different charities together over a range of projects.


Mick Kemp – caretaker at Cold Harbour School in Bletchley. Due to retire soon, Mick is everything – plumber, cleaner, lunchtime supervisor, football referee – but especially a friend to all the children.


David Willis – who has volunteered with St John Ambulance for ten years, managing five youth units, attracting many first-time volunteers into the Service and, by opening new units, providing yet more volunteering spaces.


Carole-Jayne Cox – for her 35 years as a committee member and then Secretary of the Stantonbury Judo Club, ensuring that all the children have a safe space to train.


Saaed Nazir – of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association and a science teacher at St. Paul’s, for his work with the Milton Keynes Soup Run providing weekly food donations to the homeless, with local care homes, the annual Poppy Appeal and planting trees in Milton Keynes.

Because of the present crisis it will not be possible to hold an Awards ceremony as originally planned but each winner will be posted a commemorative certificate signed by the Mayor.