Three cheers for three Blackburn’s ‘Make a Difference’ award winners!

Published Monday 5 December 2022 at 13:29

The winners of the BBC Radio Lancashire Make a Difference Awards 2022 have been revealed with three of the eight being from Blackburn.

Sarah Bernasconi-Parsons, Muhammad Abdulrashid and Blackburn Central High School all scooped a gong at Saturday’s awards ceremony.

The idea of the BBC Radio Lancashire Make a Difference Awards is to recognise unsung heroes from across the county – reflecting everything from good neighbours to voluntary work.

Hundreds of entries were whittled down to 32 finalists and the eight winners were announced at the annual ceremony, which this year took place at Lancaster Town Hall.

BBC Radio Lancashire’s Breakfast show presenter, Graham Liver, hosted the awards.

Speaking at the event, Graham said:

Each year, I am in awe of the fantastic work carried out by our finalists.

Each of them are simply amazing in their own way and I’m so pleased that BBC Radio Lancashire has been able to shine a light on their hard work and give them some of the recognition they deserve.


Councillor Phil Riley, Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, and Chief Executive Denise Parks were invited to attend the ceremony.

BBC Make a Difference – Shuttle

Councillor Phil Riley said:

I was incredibly proud to be at the event on Saturday with our Chief Executive to cheer on the finalists.

To have three of the eight winners from our borough was just fantastic – they are all truly making a difference to where we live and it was a privilege to see them on stage collecting their awards.

I’d like to say a huge congratulations to them and all the winners and finalists, also to BBC Radio Lancashire – it was great to celebrate our county’s true community heroes.

Winner Muhammad featured in the council’s engine idling campaign earlier in the year – taking it upon himself to knock on car windows and educate drivers about the dangers.

You can watch his video here.

BBC Make a Difference – Shuttle 3

The winners are:

The Fundraiser Award – Sarah Bernasconi-Parsons (Blackburn)

Sarah’s daughter Maggie was stillborn in 2015. Since then, she has raised over £60,000 to support other families affected by stillbirth.

The Environmental Award – Muhammad Abdulrashid (Blackburn)

10-year-old Muhammad spends his spare time educating drivers on the dangers of engine idling, litter picking and ensuring his neighbourhood is clean and tidy.

The Together Award – Blackburn Central High School (Blackburn)

Blackburn Central High School is diverse in every sense. Pupils from all backgrounds are welcomed with open arms and are taught about the ever-changing nature of society.

The Volunteer Award – Rebecca Ramsay (Chorley)

Rebecca’s son Dylan drowned while swimming in a quarry in 2011. Since then, she has devoted her life to being a water safety campaigner.

The Community Group Award – Pendle Food For All (Pendle)

Pendle Food For All is a food club which supports hundreds of people in East Lancashire every week by providing cheap food which would otherwise have gone to waste.

The Carer Award – Christine Mills (Blackpool)

Before she sadly died in October 2022, Christine fostered and adopted children – often those with life-limiting conditions – for over 50 years. She made sure every child in her care had a stable, loving home.

The Great Neighbour Award – Tony Bentham (Ribble Valley)

Tony is a postie who looks after his local community by going out of his way to visit isolated residents – often in his own time – to check on them.

The Key Worker Award – Brenda Entwistle (West Lancashire)

Brenda has been the lollipop lady at her local school for over 50 years. She is an important part of her community, checking on the welfare of children and parents alike.

To find out more about the awards, please click here.

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