Eric Hepplewhite is our Unsung Hero award winner.
Known by some as ‘Mr Lanchester’, Eric is a pillar of his village without whom (alongside his wife Sylvia) many events wouldn’t take place.
Eric organises the planting of crocuses on the village green, organises and co-ordinates the village’s Remembrance Day event, and is part of the parish council and a key holder of the Methodist church. But that’s by no means all he does in the name of public spirit. For many years Eric ran the Boys Brigade and during the pandemic he and Sylvia opened the Methodist church every day, unloaded and packed up essential food parcels for those in need and helped to provide support for others in so many ways – including for those who were lonely.
Eric, who was clearly emotional as he took to the stage, said: “There’s an awful lot goes on in Ludworth and I only get involved in a very small part of it.
“Thank you. I want to say that the other nominees were as deserving of this award. I am in awe really because you look around and there’s so many other people in this wonderful county who deserve it.”
Other finalists in this category were…
KEITH WILSON who, at the age of 71, is fighting Parkinson’s Disease himself alongside raising money – more than £1,200 in total now – for Parkinson’s UK through physical challenges such as the Lake District Ultra Challenge which took him 21 hours to complete, including an overnight rest.
RUTH WRIGHT who is a founder member and chair of The Bishop Auckland Veterans Group. Ruth plans events for the group, raises funds, recruits volunteers to help with their work and goes out of her way to ensure any veteran who is struggling gets the help and support they need.