THE race is on to crown the borough's community heroes after the Pride of Swindon Awards launched yesterday.

Swindon mayor Kevin Parry was joined by founder Shirley Ludford as the countdown to the 2020 gongs began at the council offices.

The annual awards celebrate the amazing, selfless people who make a real difference to the Swindon community.

Shirley, also the radio station manager at Swindon 105.5, said: “It has been 12 years now that we have been recognising people who have done their bit in our communities. It is absolutely brilliant and this is a way of further acknowledging all that goes on in the community.”

Shirley introduced one of the winners from the 2019 awards.

Glynis Hales, a former presenter for the Birds and the Bees gardening show at Swindon 105.5, showed up to the launch in a bee costume to represent her stance for wildlife.

She said: “The Penhill Haven was an idea I had and is a wildlife meadow and an area for kids to play.

“I’m also working with Lost Words. A lot of words have been taken out of The Oxford Junior Dictionary.

"Almost all of them are about wildlife, such as dandelion. They’ve been taken out because kids don’t use them. I’m putting up a big board on the haven to point out where these things are so there will be pictures and the words on there.

“There’s a lot that I do and that’s why I’m a busy bee. But we don’t have a choice anymore we need to help the wildlife because we’re losing too many species. I can hardly walk, so there’s really no excuse for people not to do their bit.”

The mayor was impressed with the work Glynis is involved in.

He said: “It’s absolutely fantastic all that you’re doing and it is great to see that in the community.”

The person up next to speak about what they do was daredevil Dr Jill Huby, who was nominated for the an award last year for her support of Brighter Futures.

Jill said: “It all started when it was coming up to my 80th birthday and my husband John had died of cancer and I thought 'well, I can milk it for everything, nobody will say anything, and I've got my sponsorship form here for people to complete'.

“I’m going to be doing the Santa vs Rudolf run this weekend and I’ve previously raised money for the special care unit at the Great Western Hospital to get nine new incubators. I’m running this year to ensure it gets the 10th one.

“It has been something that has kept me going after my husband passed. I also support other people, four nurses from the trauma unit did the Swindon half marathon and I helped them to raise the money.”

To nominate a person or organisation, complete a form on the Mayor of Swindon page at by Friday, January 24.