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A group of people who give their time to make their community a better place have been honoured by Paralympian Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and London Mayor Boris Johnson.

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The group of Community Champions were selected by the Newham Recorder and its sister papers in the Olympic host boroughs, alongside the Mayor’s Office and the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), the body which will be in charge of the Olympic Park after the Games.

The Community Champions met the Mayor of London and Baroness Grey-Thompson at a reception at the Olympic Park, and also got to go to the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games.

Mr Johnson said: “I think the story about the London Games has been not just the athletes, but about the people who made the Games, the community champions - the whole of London has made the Games.”

Baroness Grey-Thompson spoke about the importance of volunteers in her own career. She said: “Thank you so much to the Community Champions. My whole career I was coached by volunteers and those are the people who make the difference in sport, and you will make the difference in what we are trying to do in the future.”

She also praised the park, and said: “We have been talking about legacy for year but already this is the most amazing park.

“For me as a disabled person the accessibility is second to none.

“This will be here as an amazing mark of what we can do in Britain.

LLDC chairman Daniel Moylan said: “During the Games we have seen so many people volunteering, and we forget how many people are doing that every day.

“This is a wonderful area of London where people do work together. It is the spirit of the Games and the spirit of this part of London.”

We asked people in Newham to nominate their unsung heroes who make a positive contribution to our borough to win tickets to the Paralympic Games. Among the winners were Derek James, head volunteer gardener at Richard House Children’s Hospice in Beckton.

Goffine Decktor who has battled through nasopharyngeal cancer, back pain, and a heart attack to carry on his charity work at St Anthony’s Church in Forest Gate where he is a member of the parish council and secretary of the Knights of St Colombus.

Emma Smith, a PE teacher at Plashet School in East Ham, was nominated for running the netball team, cricket team, and for transporting the whole department to away fixtures in the minibus. She started the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme at the school three years ago.

The assistant headteacher of Plashet School, Sue Rosner, won for giving 32 years of service to the school and Newham Council. Sue oversees the Jack Petchey scheme, including the Speakout Challenge, Irene Stephenson won for her voluntary service as a governor at Sarah Bonnell School in Stratford since 1997 where she “has contributed significantly to the life of the school”.

Julian Hiliere has only been working at Sandringham School in Forest Gate for a year, but he gives up his time to organise Christmas Family Social Night, runs sport groups, acts as a compere for Every Child A Musician performances, supports the Saturday Green Street Act event – and runs a talent competition.

Recorder Editor Colin Grainger won for his work in the community over the past 40 years, especially with Canning Town care group and charity Community Links,

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