On Thursday 23rd June 2016 Tina Stewart, a Buckinghamshire Community Champion, was the unassuming winner of a national Hero Award.
Despite her life-long battle with cerebral palsy, 47 year old Tina has quietly championed the cause of disadvantaged and vulnerable residents for nearly two decades.
For the past three years, she has been a shining example for Buckinghamshire County Council’s Community Champions, who help disadvantaged consumers.
The Chartered Trading Standards Institute presented Tina with one of its nine Hero Awards at its annual conference in West Midlands yesterday.
She was nominated by Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards after winning back several thousand pounds for others from utility companies, retailers and mobility goods providers.
Not only this, Tina has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of scams in a doorstep-crime blackspot, and identified an elderly dementia sufferer who was being targeted with mail and phone scams.
Tina, who lives in Aylesbury, said: ‘Winning this award is a huge shock to me. Everything I’ve achieved in life has been a struggle and I’ve had to work hard. When you’re a wheelchair user you see things from both sides. You can’t be afraid to ask for help.‘
It was Tina’s determination and selfless drive to help others at a disadvantage that convinced Senior Trading Standards Officer Chris Holden she was a worthy Hero Award nominee.
Tina was the first to enrol on the service’s Community Champions scheme launched by Chris in April 2013.
‘Tina has brought a totally new dimension to our service’s offering – that of a vocal disabled consumer,‘ said Chris. ‘She epitomises our aim to create champions who are the eyes and ears on the ground, helping us to protect and empower vulnerable consumers. I’m overjoyed to see her tremendous efforts recognised.‘
Martin Phillips, Cabinet Member for Community Engagement and Public Health paid tribute to Tina’s tireless efforts. ‘Tina is just great!,‘ he said. ‘She exemplifies all that we value in our Community Champions, who give terrific service by helping our vulnerable residents fend off scammers.
Tina is one of those champions who reinforce our message that Buckinghamshire is a no-go county for consumer criminals and doorstep rogues.‘
The trading standards team now has more than 70 Community Champions, many recruited by Tina.
Pictured above, Hero Award winner Tina Stewart with Barry Atkins, one of Aylesbury’s residents whom she advises on mail scams. Barry, who fell victim to a mail con, is now a Trading Standards scams ambassador.