Walberton Parish 'Community Champions' recognised in local awards

The so-called ‘new normal’ has seen the rise of a range of heroes: NHS workers, supermarket staff, lorry drivers, care providers, teaching staff, and members of the community who do that little bit extra to help out a neighbour in need. In the lead up to National Heroes Day on 31st August, Walberton Parish Council, supported by local housebuilder Dandara, launched some awards to recognise members of the community who have gone above and beyond in recent months.

Recognised at a surprise presentation last Friday, Nilesh [Nil] and Seema Patel, owners of Walberton Village Stores on Maple Parade, worked tirelessly throughout the COVID-19 crisis to serve the community. Not only did they ensure that normal provisions remained in stock, they went to special lengths to source additional items, including visiting the wholesaler’s multiple times a day to cater for the community’s needs. Prioritising the elderly and vulnerable, Nil and Seema kept their usual dedicated service despite the risk to themselves.


Similarly, Tracy Cosentino, Postmistress for the local Post Office Outreach service kept all isolating families, friends, and neighbours in touch through the key Outreach postal support service. Her heroic actions have ensured that residents maintained necessary communication with others during an otherwise lonely lockdown. It has been said that her welcoming smile and demeanour has helped many who have struggled over the last five months.

Suzanne Clark, Chairman of Walberton Parish Council, adds: “Our parish benefits from a close community spirit and a large number of individuals were nominated by residents to be considered for the Community Champion title – it was a tough job to choose winners. However, Tracy, Nil and Seema have stood out as going above and beyond during this difficult time. They are an absolute asset to our community.”

The local awards were supported by housebuilder Dandara who has outline planning permission to build new homes on land adjacent to Fontwell Park Racecourse.

Chris Harrison, Operations Director at Dandara, who donated the hampers, comments: “We are delighted to support the parish in recognising Tracey, Nil and Seema, and the impressive support they have given to their neighbours and the wider community. As a local housebuilder, developing communities is at the heart of what we do and we look forward to being a part of life here in Fontwell, part of Walberton Parish.”

Tracy, Nil and Seema were honoured as Community Champions last Friday 21st August, a title designed to celebrate caring individuals with an outstanding commitment to the local community.

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