Bridgend County volunteers celebrated at prestigious awards ceremony

Published: 25 June 2024

The contribution of volunteers from across the county was celebrated on Friday, 7 June at the annual BAVO ‘Unsung Heroes’ Awards and formed part of the 40th anniversary celebrations of ‘Volunteer’s Week’

The ceremony, arranged by Bridgend Association of Voluntary Organisations (BAVO), was held at The Best Western Heronston Hotel.  The event was attended by over 100 volunteers and guests, including His Majesty’s High Sheriff of Mid Glamorgan, Dr Richard Lewis, MBE D CStJ FRCGP and The worshipful the Mayor of Bridgend County, Cllr Heather Griffiths.

The awards celebrate individual and group contributions of volunteers in eight categories. Earlier in the year residents were invited to nominate volunteers in their communities who go above and beyond expectation.

A local panel then shortlisted candidates after careful consideration, and the selected finalists and the eventual winners were notified on the night.

The evening was hosted by Heidi Bennett, BAVO CEO, and Lee Jukes, Radio presenter. Awards were presented by a range of guests including The High Sheriff of Mid Glamorgan, The Mayor for the County Borough and local Senedd members.

Guests were entertained by local harpist Angharad Edwards and the amazing ‘Sing with Us’ Tenovus Choir.

Heidi said: “ We had a huge number of nominations making it a very difficult decision for the panel. However everyone who was nominated has received a certificate of recognition and every single nominee can be proud. We are always incredibly humbled by the time, energy and commitment so many people put into volunteering and helping others.”

Steve Curry BAVO Chair of Trustees, said: “Volunteering has such a positive impact in our communities and people’s lives and the real life stories given at events such as this really demonstrate that impact on a very personal level.

“Congratulations to all our nominees and a huge thank you for everything you do and the difference you make.

“An incredible amount of work goes on behind the scenes to make the night happen so thank you to everyone involved. And thank you to BAVO staff for all your hard work year round.”

The categories and finalists were :

  • Young Volunteer of the Year

Libby Phillips  – Nottage & 2nd Kenfig Hill Brownies & Newton Rainbows   (Winner).
Lara Birtles – Boys & Girls Club of Wales
Seren Kenny – Nantymoel Boys & Girls Club

  • Adult Volunteer of the Year

Lyn Williams – Wyndham Boys & Girls Club (Winner)
Josh Anscombe – The Wallich
Kerry Evans – Cornelly Development Trust

  • Community group/Charity of the Year

Western Beacons Mountain Rescue (Winner)
Cornelly Outreach Group
Greenspace SOS

  • Sports Volunteer of the Year Award

Richard Howe – Bridgend Herons FC (Winner)
Theo Vine-Roberts – Raw Performance
Billy’s Gym & Wellness Centre CIC

  • Outstanding Volunteer Award

Gareth Goth – Welsh Ambulance Community First Responders  (Winner)
Sharon Lima – Nottage & 2nd Kenfig Hill Brownies & Newton Rainbows
Byron Lock– Nantymoel Boys and Girls Club

  • Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity Champions

Porthcawl JOY-Riders (Winner)

  • Trustee Award

Rob Williams  – Boys & Girls Club of Wales  (Winner)
Paula Lunnon – KPC Youth and Community
Manuela Hiett   – The Bridge MPS

The panel also decided to pull out two groups for special recognition

  • Long service Award Winner – Bridgend Samaritans
  • Special Achievement Award Winner – Tenovus Sing with us choir



  • Third Sector Support Wales
  • Welsh Government
  • Investing in Volunteers
  • Quality in Befriending
  • Cyber essentials
  • Cynnig Cymraeg
  • Cultural Competence Silver Award