The highlight of our year – Bedford Independent Everyday Heroes entry deadline extended

Bedford Independent Everyday Heroes Awards 2023 - Deadline extended artwork
Image: Malchev/Shutterstock

With almost 100 entries so far, we’re delighted to announce that the deadline for entries for the Bedford Independent Everyday Heroes Awards, in partnership with the Harpur Trust, has been extended until 29 February 2024.

The awards give our readers a unique opportunity to say ‘”thank you” to the people in our communities who represent the best of us and make Bedford Borough brilliant, and we just know there are more out there who deserve to be nominated.

These everyday heroes might not believe they’re doing anything special, but we all know that without them our little part of the world would not keep punching above its weight.

Together, with the Harpur Trust and our category sponsors, we’re so proud to be able to shine a light on people of all backgrounds who do what they can to help the communities across our Borough or excel in their chosen areas of sport or education.

There are ten categories, find out more and make your nominations via the links below.

Volunteer of the YearExcellence in EducationRaising the Profile of the Town (Individual)
Raising the Profile of the Town (Team)Fundraiser of the Year (Individual)Fundraiser of the Year (Team)
Young Achiever (up to age 13 and 13-21)Unsung HeroYoung Carer of the Year

Nominations must be for work or achievements carried out between 1 January and 31 December 2023. Those who reach the shortlist will be invited to a special awards evening hosted by Bedford School at the Quarry Theatre on 25 April 2024.

What the awards mean to us

Now in their fourth year, the Bedford Independent Everyday Heroes awards are something that the team here work on throughout the year. We thought you might like to know what they mean to us.

All Everyday Heroes Awards winners 2022
The Bedford Independent Everyday Heroes Awards winners 2022

Julia Course

I feel truly honoured to be part of our Everyday Heroes Awards as being Bedford born and bred, I know our Borough is full of so many amazing people.

Bedford has always fostered a great sense of community and I feel proud that we can recognise this and honour these heroes. They are quite often under the radar with only those closest to them knowing of their great deeds, so it is wonderful to celebrate them.

Quite often they don’t see themselves as heroes and indeed last year, a young carer thanked us for being invited to the awards when they truly deserved to be celebrated. It certainly brought a tear to my eye.

Make your nomination here

Paul Hutchinson

When we started the Bedford Independent, we all agreed that we’d do everything we could to make sure the people who do so much for our Borough are recognised for all they do.

While we knew there would always be plenty of people to give thanks to, nothing prepared us for the calibre of nominations describing the incredible passion, determination and dedication of each nominee that flood in each year.

Of course, this does then create a problem for our independent panel of judges. How do you choose individual winners from a list of people who are all truly worthy of the everyday hero title?

But, choices must be made and the night of our awards evening is now one of my favourite nights of the year.

It’s great to meet the nominees and chat with their family and friends they’ve brought along. I relish hearing how proud they are of their potential winner, as the nominee tries to brush off the praise with claims that “it’s what anyone would do”.

As the names of the winners are called to rapturous applause and musical fanfare, it’s wonderful to see them happily accepting their award, but still seemingly questioning why they are any more deserving than the other nominees.

It’s then that the meaning of the awards truly hits home. Winner or not, everyone in that room is an everyday hero, and each of the nominees past, present and future, can hold their head up high as someone who helps make Bedford brilliant.

Make your nomination here

Erica Roffe

It’s hard to describe the joy, positivity and optimism that surrounds our Everyday Heroes Awards – from the judging process through to the ceremony itself, we’re surrounded by the very best of Bedford and it is pretty humbling.

None of the judges takes their role for granted and each year we enter the room already knowing that we’re going to be blown away by the quality of the nominations. Each submission is considered and discussed before making our final decision.

It’s the hardest part of the process, because everyone deserves to win.

As the day of the awards ceremony draws closer, you can feel the excitement mounting. Our hosts, the Quarry Theatre at Bedford School, pull out all the stops to make the event as welcoming as possible and to make our nominees feel really special.

Live music in the bar, canapes and drinks definitely ramp up the glamour and it’s lovely to chat to all of the nominees beforehand and put names to faces.

After getting over my nerves, hosting the events is one of the highlights of my year. The evening flies by in a joyful blur and it’s lovely to see our sponsors meeting the winners to hand over their awards.

We set up the Bedford Independent to help create a sense of community in Bedford – and I can’t think of a better way to do that, than by celebrating the very people and organisations that are making the town a better place.

Make your nomination here

Bedford's Everyday Heroes winners 2021
The Bedford Independent Everyday Heroes Awards winners 2021

Tom Carr

The Bedford Independent Everyday Heroes Awards are vitally important as people need to be recognised for going above and beyond for Bedford and we show they are loved and appreciated.

Last year, I sat next to a young family with a seven-year-old Young Carer and it genuinely reminded me of how lucky I am to a) have had a great and untroubled upbringing and b) of how lucky I am to have not missed out on the opportunities that children should have growing up.

There are many similar stories from across Bedford Borough that provide us with inspiration and a great reminder that not all is bad with the world and there are amazing people on our doorsteps.

Make your nomination here

How to nominate

You can nominate an everyday hero at the form below until midnight on 29 February 2024. Don’t forget, the nomination must be for work or achievements carried out between 1 January and 31 December 2023.