SOMERSET NEWS: Parents are inspirational Heart Hero Award winners
SOMERSET couple Paul and Donna Stevens have been named as South West Heart Heroes after winning a prestigious award for their charity work in memory of their toddler son Elliot.
Paul, who works at EDF Energy’s Hinkley Point B power station near Bridgwater, and wife Donna have raised more than £80,000 for research into mitochondrial disease and cardiomyopathy in just two years.
They were honoured at a ceremony in Bristol and beat off strong competition to be named as the South West winners of the Inspiration Award in the British Heart Foundation’s annual Heart Hero Awards.
The couple, who live in Watchet, secured the most online votes to win the title, which honours those who inspire others through fundraising or volunteering activities.
They set up the charity Elliot’s Touch in 2015 after losing their 13-month-old son Elliot to
mitochondrial disease and cardiomyopathy.
Cardiomyopathy affects the heart muscle, compromising the organ’s ability to pump blood around the body, while mitochondrial disease is a rare genetic condition which can affect any organ but which leaves cells unable to produce enough energy to work.
Paul said: “It was a very emotional afternoon listening to everyone’s very courageous stories.
“The award goes out to everyone that has helped us in any way and most of all it goes to Elliot, our beautiful boy who has inspired us all to fight every step of the way.”
Paul and Donna have held a wide variety of fundraising events such as a silent disco, sponsored walks and cake competitions to raise money for research into the conditions, supported by colleagues at Hinkley Point B, where Paul works for contract partner WorkPlace Solutions, friends and family.
Peter Evans, Hinkley Point B Station Director, was among the first to congratulate the couple on their award: “Paul and Donna have achieved so much in Elliot’s memory and we are all thrilled their commitment and dedication has been recognised.
“Elliot’s Touch is a charity which is very close to our hearts here at Hinkley Point B and we are proud to be able to support them.”
Their latest venture is a ‘Calendar Girls’-style calendar featuring local faces and places. Paul’s mum even features– while dad can be spotted in the background!
Donna said: “We are very excited to have produced the cheeky little calendar and what a laugh it was putting it together.
“We’re grateful to all the brave girls and boys who took part and those who have sponsored pages - we feel extremely lucky to have so much support.”
The calendars are available to pre-order by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org while selected local shops will be stocking them towards the end of August.
Elliot’s Touch is run in conjunction with the Somerset Community Foundation and more information is available on the website www.elliotstouch.org.