Sarah and John honoured for making a difference in Yate and Chipping Sodbury

A FUNDRAISER from Yate and a street marshal from Chipping Sodbury have been honoured at a charity award ceremony. 

Sarah Hitchings raised £65,000 for the Grand Appeal for Bristol Children’s Hospital. She was highly commended in the BBC Make a Difference local radio awards. 

John Scully was nominated for his work helping keep Sodbury’s streets peaceful and safe, and was also honoured at the event.

Sarah, who works as assistant manager at the Horsehoe pub in Chipping Sodbury, was nominated by landlady Joanne Lewis, who said Sarah had been tirelessly fund raising for 14 years, with raffles, gin nights and discos.

Joanne said: “She has been fundraising with no recognition all these years and I thought that was very impressive.

“She was doing it with her father, Jerry Milner, who she tragically lost earlier this year to a heart attack.

“But Sarah has managed to find the strength through the tears to continue without him and hit the remarkable target of £65,000.

“I nominated her so she would know local people care about what she has been doing.”

Sarah said she started fundraising to help people in the community who needed a hand.  On top of the £65,000 for the Grand Appeal, she has also raised money for other local causes, including to buy an electric wheelchair for a resident, school events and more.

She said: “I like to help local charities and local people.  I try to do events everyone can join in with, like a Disney kids’ disco, or a cocktail night for the adults.

“I just enjoy doing it – it is nice to get people together for a good time, and at the same time raise awareness and funds for a charity. 

“My dad was my main supporter and always helped with any fundraising, and came along.

“He was 72 when he died, so my next target is to reach £72,000 to say thanks to him.”

At the same event, at Weston-super-Mare’s Grand Pier, street marshal John Scully was honoured in the bravery category, for his work on Chipping Sodbury High Street, where he tirelessly ensures the safety and well-being of the public and local community.

John’s commendation said: “His commitment to public safety has not gone unnoticed, as he has played a vital role in maintaining order and security in the heart of the town.”

He was nominated by Gabrielle Davis, general manager of the George Hotel and chair of Chipping Sodbury Pub Watch, who described him as a “true hero”.

Gabrielle said that over the years John has demonstrated unwavering dedication to his role. He has broken up fights, provided first aid, and even disarmed a man with a suspected firearm.

John said he was honoured to be recognised.

He said: “I love Chipping Sodbury and I’ve always believed in looking out for others.

“To be recognised for doing what I love is a tremendous privilege.”

The BBC Make a Difference Awards were launched during the pandemic in 2020. 

Each BBC Local Radio station asks listeners to nominate local heroes, and hosts an award event.

You can learn more about Sarah’s fund raising at the Horseshoe’s Facebook page,