Bedford Independent Everyday Heroes Awards: Campaigner of the Year nominees


In the build-up to the Bedford Independent Everyday Heroes Awards, in partnership with The Harpur Trust, we’re taking a closer look at the nominees in each category.

Today we’re looking at Bedford Borough’s tireless campaigners and giving you a short insight into why they’ve been nominated.

The winners will be announced on 25 March 2021 at 7:30 pm on our website, Facebook Page and YouTube channel.

Campaigner of the Year – sponsored by Explore Bedford

Anita Powell

Last year, Anita raised the issue that women need to talk about the menopause. Six months ago there was nothing happening in Bedford around the subject. Now, says the person nominating Anita, there are meeting groups and an NHS menopause clinic has opened. “Anita has worked hard to reduce the stigma around the conversation. She has been a great campaigner for women of Bedford.”

Helen Patterson

Helen campaigned to save Bedford’s M&S store and despite the store closing, Helen took on the challenge to positively promote the town’s assets, setting up Town Centre Champions. Helen’s fostered strong relationships with retailers and business owners in the town to raise the profile of them – and the town. Helen brought Totally Locally’s Fiver Fest to Bedford, helping to increase footfall and awareness of Bedford’s independent businesses. She does all this in her spare time with tireless enthusiasm.

Mel Stratton

Mel is an inspiration to many, said the person nominating her. “If ever there was someone who epitomises the saying – walk the walk, don’t talk the talk- that’s Mel!” In 2018, Mel set up the Love in a Bag initiative, collecting donations of unwanted handbags filled with toiletries and essentials. In January 2019, Mel was able to give 646 donated handbags to charities supporting Bedford’s vulnerable women. “Mel’s belief is to ‘Pay it forward’ and she does this with enthusiasm and selflessness,” said her nominator. “She is always generous of her time and truly does this out of the goodness of her heart- a truly philanthropic person through and through.”

You can find out who has been awarded the Bedford Independent Everyday Heroes – Campaigner of the Year Award on 25 March 2021 at 7:30 pm on our website, Facebook Page and YouTube channel.