First Amazing Neighbours competition winners announced

Back row, Amazing Neighbours, John and Kaye Coutts with CIC Director and Judge, David Walker. Front row, the Bogojveic Family who nominated John and Kaye – Mandy, Oscar, Pete and Jake Photo Credit – John Embleton

The first winners of a competition to highlight Richmond’s most Amazing Neighbours have demonstrated their amazingness by donating their prize to residents living in the Galleries; a supported housing development in the town.

The judges selected John and Kaye Coutts, from West Terrace, from a large field of nominations, as the recipients of this month’s £100 of shopping vouchers – although the couple have decided to pass-on their prize to a deserving group of young people.

The Coutts were nominated by their neighbours Pete and Mandy Bogojevic.

Describing John and Kaye as “kind, thoughtful and super friendly”, the Bogojevics added that they had a challenging home life with a disabled son and their neighbours are both great advocates of Oscar’s.

They added: “I know they have greater understanding and empathy for our situation as their fabulous daughter Ali, worked with SEN children until she died suddenly 12 years ago.

“John will do whatever he can to support all the neighbours around here. This involves driving one of our elderly neighbours to her annual retreat, as well as anywhere else she needs to be. John helps us keep the fronts tidy by getting rid of all the weeds.  Kaye and him even helped us out when our washing machine broke down, by letting us do our laundry at their house.”

“We have had a terrible year with both our cars breaking down and John is the first one out with jump leads, helping to get cars started and providing lifts to and from the garage.”

“All of this is done with great humour and banter which always keeps us amused.”

When told of the win, John and Kaye said they were honoured but planned to give the vouchers to vulnerable young adults living in supported housing in the town.

The Amazing Neighbours scheme was launched a few weeks ago by the Richmond Yorkshire Community Interest Company, a not-for-profit organisation with the aim of making the town an even better place to live and visit.

The initiative invites people living in the DL10 postcode area to nominate their Amazing Neighbours. Each month, the winners will receive £100 in shopping vouchers in recognition of their kindness to others, with the nominator receiving two free tickets to the Station Cinema.

The monthly winners of the Amazing Neighbours competition are selected by an independent panel of judges.

The judges are: Baroness Harris of Richmond, Chris Brown, CEO at The Station, Richmond School headteacher Jenna Potter, Hannah Chapman, editor at the Darlington & Stockton Times and David Walker, CIC director and chairman of the Richmondshire Refugee Support Group.

Each judge independently scores a shortlist of entrants each month. Their real names are not disclosed. The scores of the five judges are then aggregated to arrive at a winner.

The scheme will continue running throughout the year with a new Amazing Neighbour being recognised every month. Everyone who is nominated stays in the running throughout the duration of the campaign so if they aren’t chosen one month, they may be selected another month.

Amazing Neighbours has been made possible with the support of local businesses and organisations including Cooper & Leatherbarrow Opticians, in Finkle Street, Richmond; Zetland Estates; Oliviers Furniture on the Gallowfields Trading Estate; North Yorkshire Council; Richmond Information Centre; the Darlington & Stockton Times; Purple Creative Studio and Richmondshire Today.

Nominate your Amazing Neighbour at www.amazingneighbours.com or pick up a nomination form from Richmond Information Centre in the Market Hall.

The next Amazing Neighbour will be announced in July.

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