Three unsung heroes from Merseyside have been nominated to win a new Community Hero award which recognises the work done by members of the public who go above and beyond to help those on the autism spectrum.
James Larkman, Tracey Lewis and Daniel Grace were all nominated by members of the public for their outstanding services to the autism community, and are all in the running to receive the final award which will be presented by Wirral-based charity, Autism Together.
The awards are the first of their kind in Merseyside, and were held to celebrate the 50thanniversary of Autism Together. Other categories in the scheme include a Lifetime Achievement award, Staff Excellence award, and Autism Champion of Champions award.
Outstanding services to the autism community
James Larkman, a security guard from Tesco, was nominated for his kindness and willingness to comfort a young man with autism outside the superstore when he was feeling very anxious. James has become a family friend and even takes the young man to football matches with his own family.
“I was overwhelmed to be nominated really, I wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary I was just doing my job. It’s really nice to be thought of and I’m so excited to be attending the event to meet everyone else who has been shortlisted.”
Tracey Lewis was nominated by a support worker at Autism Together, and owns and runs Alcatraz Barbers in Bromborough Village. She was nominated for going the extra mile, as she often goes to service user’s homes to cut their hair if they are not confident going out into the community.
On being shortlisted, Tracy said:
“I thought I’d won the lottery; it was totally unexpected. I’ve been working with Autism Together for 20 years and I’m so honoured to be shortlisted. It’s an absolute pleasure and I hope whoever wins will take this award and use it to continue supporting the autism community.”
Dan Grace, a football coach at IM Marsh in Liverpool, was nominated by a friend for the work he does volunteering as a children’s football coach. Dan regularly gives his time to support the autistic children in his team and worked for several years as an unpaid volunteer, even buying equipment for the club out of his own funds.
“I was taken aback when I found out, it was totally unexpected. I was lost for words, it’s really amazing. I’m really looking forward to the event and meeting everyone else who has been shortlisted for an award.”
For more information on the Autism Gold Awards, please visit https://www.autismtogether.co.uk/future50/autism-gold-awards/