Last year, a challenging time for the whole world and our county, the GBA Awards recognised the fantastic contribution of local individuals and organisations to the mental and physical wellbeing of Berkshire residents. The 'Berkshire physical activity lockdown hero', a campaign celebrating the 9th GBA Awards' winners on BBC Radio Berkshire and social media, united residents, communities and activity providers around the joy and importance of physical activity and helped keep spirits high in the county during the winter lockdown.
This year, as we are recovering from the pandemic, the 10th GBA Awards will continue recognising individuals and organisations that contributed to a healthier and more resilient Berkshire. There is one award category – the 'Berkshire physical activity hero'.
During lockdown Frances (Fran) Faulkner from the Windsor and Eton Sea Cadets continued to get out on the water undertaking a range of paddle sport activities. Fran led the way on paddle sport for their unit and ensured cadets were getting out, having fun, learning new skills, and developing themselves in areas such as courage, teamwork, leadership, and fitness. She did this whilst carrying out her responsibilities as a senior member of the units command team, an instructor, and a first aid assessor.
She is a strong advocate for the Duke of Edinburgh scheme and has continued to drive this within the unit, getting cadets booked onto the scheme, supervising them through it, and planning and carrying out paddle sport expeditions. On top of her unit duties Fran is the Area Staff Officer for Paddle sport in Southern Area Sea Cadets, this is a role in which she is overseeing the Paddle sport discipline in this area of the sea cadets. As a part of this role Fran has run paddle boarding endorsement for qualified instructors, this has led to more instructors being able to carry out this fantastic sport with their own cadets and increase the capabilities of numerous units.
"In the last year Fran has been a constant reminder of what dedicated instructors within our organisation can do. She is an amazing role model, friend, and instructor. Through thick and thin Fran has overcome all the difficulties in her way, both physical and emotional always putting our unit, our cadets, and our community before herself and never shying away from a challenge." – Thomas Brades, Commanding Officer
Fran said: "I'm a really keen canoeist, and enjoy being on the water year-round as it gives me the opportunity to get active despite my mobility impairment. Sharing my passion with others comes naturally, and so in addition to supporting and encouraging family and friends (including my 86 year-old father) to get out on the water, I work as a volunteer with various organisations - the Sea Cadet Corps, Windsor Canoe Club, the Canoe-Camping Club - helping young (and not so young!) people to engage with paddle sport, and to progress their skills and enthusiasm. I am surprised, but delighted to have been nominated for this award."