NOT all heroes wear capes.

And that is very much the case here as we reveal The Bolton News' Community Heroes.

IF there is one thing we’ve learned over the past two years it’s that we live in communities of heroes.

So it has been no surprise that Bolton has so many special people who have stepped up to the plate when it mattered - and delivered.

The Bolton News’ Community Heroes Awards 2022 shines a light on people from all walks of life who have gone out of their way to help others during challenging times.

Now the Community Heroes Awards – kindly sponsored by Benchmark Building Supplies in Bolton – have provided a rare opportunity to both say “thank you” and to highlight ordinary people who have shown extraordinary care.

(Scroll down for winners)

As Regional Editor Richard Duggan stated: “Even in the hardest of times, there are those among us who go above and beyond for the greater good and to help those in desperate need.

“Now, the Bolton News’ Community Heroes Awards recognise those local people who are truly champions. And we have been amazed by the remarkable dedication and selflessness that has been revealed in the nominations for all the awards’ categories.

“As a local newspaper, we are proud to be able to highlight them and to let a wider public appreciate their bravery and ingenuity.

“Bolton is a compassionate town with a long track record of caring for others. Our Community Heroes prove that this spirit is alive and well in 2022 – and still putting others first.”

The Bolton News:

Main sponsors Benchmark Building Supplies in Farnworth are part of a national company which rates community support highly. Branch manager Adam Wilkinson is always happy to get help local people.

He commented: “We try to be involved as much as we can – through helping local charities and donating items to getting behind various projects. We’ve just agreed to help build a ramp for a young lad with disabilities in Bromley Cross.”

Pick up a copy of today's paper to hear the winners' stories.

List of winners:

Young Person of the Year: Sponsored by Ye Olde Pastie Shoppe


Eight-year-old Milan Kumar made national headlines earlier this year after reading 50 books in just three months earning him praise from The Duchess of Cornwall among many others.

Eight-year-old Milan Kumar


Winner: Milan Kumar

When it comes to caring for others in the community it is often young people who show the way.

That was definitely the case with nine years-old Bolton School pupil Milan Kumar who wins the Young Person of the Year Award, sponsored by Ye Olde Pastie Shoppe, in the Bolton News Community Heroes Awards 2022.

During the pandemic, Milan became involved in the #MyDearNewFriend national writing project which encouraged children to write letters to people living in care homes.

This helped children to express their feelings and also to send letters to those who are often the forgotten members of society.

Education Hero of the Year


Diana Khasa - Education Hero

Diana Khasa - Education Hero


Diana Khasa was originally a teaching assistant at Harper Green School. She took her teaching qualification and now teaches languages at Lostock Hall Academy in Preston as well as completing her Masters in teaching.

Diane, who is Bolton-based, “always goes above and beyond to help young people in her community.


Rick Parker - Environmental award

Rick Parker - Environmental award


Environment Award

Winner: Rick Parker

The environment has never been more important than it is now and many more people are regularly actively involved in improving it.

So the work of Rick Parker fully deserves recognition as Environmental Worker of the Year in the Community Heroes Awards.

Rick is a leading light in Bolton Conservation Volunteers which has carried out conservation work across the borough for the last 45 years.

He has been Chairman of BCV for most of that time and, as BCV’s nomination stated: “Rick deserves this award for his tireless work for wildlife and greenspaces in Bolton over the last two years.


Ken Hogg - Community Champion

Ken Hogg - Community Champion


Community Champion sponsored by Carrs Pasties

Winner: Ken Hogg

Caring for others has no age-barrier as 85 year-old Ken Hogg proves every week.

That’s why Ken has won the Community Champion Award, sponsored by Carrs Pasties, in the Community Heroes Awards.

Ken has volunteered for more than 10 years with Bolton Council’s Playing for Success initiative, supporting thousands of children to try crown green bowling.


Alex McVey and his team

Alex McVey and his team


Business of the Year:

Winner: Odessa

Alex McVey couldn’t believe that his café Odessa in Exchange Street in Bolton town centre had won the Business of the Year Award in the Community Heroes Awards.

“It’s just incredible!” he said, “But it just shows that old-fashioned values still count.”

Alex was nominated for his dedication to his customers, cycling to deliver food and staying in touch with them during the pandemic “and helping boost morale in the town centre, pushing for people to support local businesses.”


Naz and Farida Patel - Everyday Hero

Naz and Farida Patel - Everyday Hero


Everyday Hero

Winner: Naz and Farida Patel

The Bolton couple who were themselves vulnerable braved the pandemic to deliver shopping essentials to local elderly people in their homes.

Now, Naz and Farida Patel have won the Everyday Hero Award in the Community Heroes Awards 2022.

The couple run M & M News in Halliwell Road and after business hours ensured that local elderly customers who could not get into their shop received the goods they needed.

“They risked their own health to ensure people were looked after,” explained daughter Naz who nominated them.

“My dad often did doorstep drops and sometimes stayed to have a socially distanced chat with his customers to make sure they were OK and they knew he was there for them.


Zohra Patel - Carer of the Year

Zohra Patel - Carer of the Year


Carer of the Year sponsored by Jessamy Staffing Solution

Winner: Zohra Patel

The saying “if you want something doing, go to a busy person” was never more true than for Zohra Patel.

So she is a worthy winner of the Carer of the Year Award, sponsored by Jessamy Staffing Solutions, in the Community Heroes Awards 2022.

In spite of the pandemic challenges of home-schooling, looking after her large family, caring for her widowed mother and coping with remote-working as an IT manager, Zohra selflessly signed up to become a Covid-19 vaccinator with St John’s Ambulance.

As a result, Zohra gave much of her own time to local and national clinical training and assessment. Then she began working across the North-west, ensuring hundreds of people received their vaccinations - all administered with care and compassion.

Even the long fasts of Ramadhan did not stop Zohra from vaccinating around her community on lengthy shifts – all unpaid – while still carrying out her full-time job and caring for her family.


Richard Catlin - NHS Hero

Richard Catlin - NHS Hero



Winner: Richard Caitlin

A man at the forefront of Bolton’s much-praised infection control and prevention during the pandemic has won the NHS Hero of the Year Award in the Community Heroes Awards 2022.

Richard Catlin is Deputy Director of Infection Control and Prevention for Bolton NHS Foundation Trust. He has led the Trust’s response to Covid-19 since January, 2020, and helped form a response team with senior colleagues, quickly establishing himself as the leading expert on the virus.

“Rick has worked relentlessly to keep patients and staff safe, taking little time for himself and being constantly available to provide the expert guidance he is known and respected for,” stated his nomination.


– From left to right, Nicky Norris Specialist Palliative Care Nurse, Dr Laura Edwards Palliative Care Consultant, Emma Davidson Specialist Palliative Care Nurse and Liam Henighan MDT Coordinator.

– From left to right, Nicky Norris Specialist Palliative Care Nurse, Dr Laura Edwards Palliative Care Consultant, Emma Davidson Specialist Palliative Care Nurse and Liam Henighan MDT Coordinator.



Winner: Bolton NHS Foundation Trust's Specialist Palliative Care Team

A medical team which steps up during the most challenging time of anyone’s life has won the Team of the Year Award in the Community Heroes Awards 2022.

The Bolton NHS Foundation Trust Specialist Palliative and End of Life Care team embraced the special challenges of the past two years with their characteristic professional and compassionate approach.

When the needs of patients with serious, life-limiting illness across the borough cannot be met by their usual caring team, the Specialist Palliative Care Team steps in to provide its expertise.

With other community services like GPs and District Nurses under continued pressure throughout the pandemic, the need for this team’s expert care was never greater.


Bolton Long Covid Team - Outstanding Contribution

Bolton Long Covid Team - Outstanding Contribution



Winner: The Bolton Long Covid Team

When Covid first hit and lockdown began few could have guessed how the medical journey would progress for people across the country.

Certainly, the idea of Long Covid – symptoms and problems affecting people often for months – would need dedicated help.

It did, though, and one of those teams of specialised medical experts – the Bolton Long Covid Team – has had its vital work recognised with the Outstanding Contribution Award in the Community Heroes Awards 2022.

And this is a particular source of pride for Lynda Morris, one of two clinical leads who originally set up the permanent team when Bolton NHS identified the need to appoint a service to support these patients early on.