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Penguin PR’s community hero Kerry is at the heart of the story as she receives a Beacon of Hope Award

Penguin PR’s community hero Kerry is at the heart of the story as she receives a Beacon of Hope Award

A Derby public relations professional who turned up to cover a client’s prize-giving event found herself the centre of attention when she accepted a prestigious community award for her own kind-heartedness during the coronavirus pandemic.

Kerry Ganly, a PR account and social media manager at Penguin PR, in Ashbourne Road, was invited forward to receive her own Derbyshire Beacon of Hope Award during the special assembly, which took place at St Giles School in Hampshire Road on Friday.

Kerry provides PR support for St Giles and has previously nominated the school for its own Beacon of Hope Award, which are being handed out to Derbyshire people who served their communities with distinction during last year’s lockdown.

At the same time, Penguin PR director Sarah Newton was also nominating Kerry, who gave up her spare time while she was furloughed in the first lockdown last year to give free PR to a number of local charities, including Treetops Hospice in Risley, which was facing a fundraising crisis due to the pandemic.

Now back at work, she is continuing to help the community by giving up her time to work as a mentor for the E4E.

Kerry was handed her award – consisting of a certificate and a pin badge – by Derbyshire deputy lieutenant Fiona Cannon, who also handed over a Beacon of Hope Award to St Giles’ executive head teacher Clive Lawrence, whose staff went out of their way to ensure that the school, which is Derby’s only special school for primary-age children, was able to support parents and pupils all the all the way through the pandemic.

Friday’s event also saw a host of awards handed out to pupils for their hard work and achievements throughout the past year.

Sarah Newton said:

“We’re extremely proud of Kerry for everything she did to help local charities raise their profile and stay in the public eye at a time when the crisis was having a huge effect on their fundraising efforts.

“Kerry is a busy mum who was home-schooling her own children at the time, but she took it upon herself to use her PR skills to help others.

“Her stories were a huge help to those charities at a difficult time and she is continuing to help others through her work with E4E.”

Kerry added:

“It was a complete surprise to be presented with this award and I couldn’t think of a more perfect place than St Giles School, which holds a special place in my heart.

“I am feeling very humbled to have been nominated for this award and am proud to work for such a supportive team. It is a delight to have seen the community of Derby and Derbyshire come together during the coronavirus pandemic and I’m honoured to have done my bit.”

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