THE Daily Echo is today launching a search for the unsung heroes of our community.
We are looking for nominations for our Community Star campaign, in association with affordable housing company Aster.
It is a chance to celebrate the hard work of those who are determined to make a difference.
It can be any member of the public who goes above and beyond to serve their community, whether they are tirelessly fundraising for charity, campaigning for more community services or caring for their neighbours.
In short, we are looking for those who put others first and deserve recognition.
The Community Star campaign will run until Friday, August 22, when Daily Echo editor-inchief Ian Murray, Aster’s regional director Jean Dalziel and their customer board member John Cockaday will choose the winners.
First place will receive £500 and £250 to a charity of their choice, second place will be given £250 and £100 to the charity of their choice and then six highly commended nominations will be given £100 and £50 to the charities of their choice.
To start us off, here is Debbie Parnell, who has devoted her time to making the people of Hampshire happy.
She works around the clock for her community, helping people with disabilities get back in the saddle.
The 50-year-old is a lead volunteer for Cycles for All in Eastleigh, and in the three years since she started she has helped more than 1,000 disabled children, young people, adults and their families.
Her mission is to help people who may never have had the opportunity to learn to ride a bike to get the pedals moving and Debbie is there for support four days per week.
She was inspired to join the club when the man she works as a carer for went along and immediately she fell in love with the idea of making people smile by teaching them how to ride a bike.
When she isn’t busy cycling, Debbie has founded an arts and crafts club as well as a lunch club for over-50s with disabilities in Eastleigh and Swaythling.
The mother of three from Eastleigh said: “I just love to help make people happy. I want to provide something that they may not normally be able to experience or get out and do and I never give up – if someone can’t get on a bike or say ‘hello’ I will work with them until it’s not an issue any more.”