Community Stars Awards: Friend is ‘rock’ after tragic year

Corinna and Jane
Corinna and Jane

WHEN Jane Leclercq’s daughter Amelia was diagnosed with rare bone marrow illness aplastic anaemia in April last year, the first person she turned to was Corinna Scammell, her best friend.

The two women had met just a couple of years before when Amelia and Corinna’s daughter Ella started attending Shoreham College.

The months following the diagnosis ended in tragedy on August 14 when Amelia died after developing septicaemia.

Now, Jane, of Greenacres, Shoreham, has nominated Corinna for this year’s Community Star Awards, in the category of best friend.

She said: “When Amelia died, Corinna picked me up, literally. She took care of me during Amelia’s illness and when she died.

“Corinna cooked, cleaned, hugged and cried with me, and held my hand while I raged.

“She would listen and never judge.

“Then my husband died suddenly in March this year and Corinna did it all again.

“Through all the tragedy of the last year, Corinna’s love and support never fails. My daughter once tweeted ‘look up, get up and don’t give up’.

“Having Corinna by my side has allowed me to try.

“She has been absolutely fantastic all through, and there has been nothing that she has let me down in. But Corinna is a friend to us all, to my parents and to my son Louis, anytime my family have needed her, she has been there.

“It was an honour for me to nominate her for a Community Stars Award because she is such a special lady.

“We have only known each other for four years but she was the first person I called when we found out about Amelia and she would come and visit with all sorts of packages including food and the odd gin and tonic.

“She also visits my daughter’s grave and waters the plants for me.”

Corinna, who also lives in Greenacres, said: “I was very touched when Jane told me that she had nominated me for this year’s Community Stars Awards.

“The last year has been horrendous for her but she is an incredible woman and I know that if things were the other way round then she would have done exactly the same for me.

“We knew each other initially through our daughters and Ella was the first person that Amelia confided in when she became ill.

“When I heard the news, all I could think about was Jane at the hospital.

“I feel like I have known her for years, she is remarkable, and what she has had to deal with is just astonishing.

“I really do not know how Jane keeps going.”

Two nominations have also been received this week for previous Community Stars nominee and winner Dr Charles Shlosberg of The Lawns Surgery, Rustington, in the health heroes category.

Mr and Mrs Dyos said: “He is absolutely so kind and attentive in every sphere, sometimes phoning test results very late at night.

“He is the very best doctor that I have had in all my 82 years and the one I can always have faith in and trust.”

George Smewing is nominated in the category of best volunteer. Joy Horner said: “I would like to nominate George because he has raised over £27,000 for Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice by playing his accordion outside Marks and Spencer.”

Mrs Horner also nominated Carole Sandell, a sales assistant at Sainsburys in Lyons Farm, Worthing. She said: “Carole is so welcoming with a ready smile and concern for our wellbeing, she is the main reason we shop here.”

Who is your community star?