Do you know somebody who makes life easier for others? Now’s your chance to thank them with a Rays of Sunshine Award

We could all do with a little more sunshine in our world, and every day there are people who go above and beyond to brighten the lives of those around them and care for people in need.

Sometimes their gestures are small, like the person who mows their elderly neighbour’s lawn, or the doctor who drives out to see his patients. And sometimes they are big, like the parents who give up their jobs to look after their poorly child.

Either way, their dedication and generosity are an inspiration to us all. They don’t do what they do for the recognition or the praise, but we think that’s what they deserve.

That’s why we’re asking you to shine a light on the unsung heroes of your community, by nominating them for a new award we’re launching in partnership with the children’s charity, Rays of Sunshine.

Click here to download your Rays of Sunshine Nomination Award entry form

A Rays of Sunshine Awards is for unsung heroes

Since 2003, the charity has been granting the wishes of children and teenagers with life-limiting conditions by allowing them to visit the places, meet the people and do the things they never thought they could.

Through their work, they’ve encountered thousands of inspirational families, friends and members of the community. People like Emma and Pete Smith.

In 2013, their son, Maxwell, was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease, a rare and complex condition where the tiny mitochondria in nearly every cell in the body fail to provide the energy the cell needs to function properly – with devastating results. Maxwell can’t speak and requires oxygen and a ventilator to help him breathe.

He needs 24-hour care, so Pete and Emma decided to quit their jobs and sell their house. They moved in with Emma’s parents, and eventually converted their three-bay garage into a disabled-friendly house where they could live.

‘It took two-and-a-half years to renovate the building, and we lived with my parents during that time which was really difficult,’ says Emma. ‘Maxwell was living in the dining room, which was so dingy. There was no bathroom downstairs, so we had to use a tiny baby bath that was too small for him.’

Rays of Sunshine Children's Charity - Peter, Emma and Maxwell Smith

Maxwell Smith needs 24/7 care     (c) Julia Claxton

Their son is unable to move except for blinking, and he struggles to swallow by himself, which means Pete and Emma always need to be on hand to dress, wash, feed and move him around the house. They even have to suction his mouth regularly so he doesn’t choke. ‘One of us has to stay home with Maxwell at all times,’ says Emma.

They can rarely go out together these days, even for the weekly shop. ‘Even meeting with friends we take in turns,’ Emma explains.

Although they have overnight help from nurses, as soon as the alarm goes off at 7am they’re back on duty caring for Maxwell. ‘You have to be switched on 24/7 because Maxwell can crash at any point and become quite unwell,’ says Emma. ‘Even when I go up to bed I can still hear what’s going on in his bedroom.’

It’s been a life-changing experience for the couple who could never have imagined what the future held when their baby was born. ‘Maxwell was absolutely gorgeous when he arrived,’ says Emma, ‘there were no problems at all.’ But at nine months, he became unwell.

First, it was thought he had a severe case of tonsillitis, but after weeks of crises and tests, doctors discovered he was suffering from mitochondrial disease. ‘It was just horrible,’ says Emma.

‘Going from having a happy, normal child to a child who can’t do anything, not even breathe for himself, was awful. They didn’t expect Maxwell to live past a year. But now he’s four.’

Rays of Sunshine Children's Charity - Peter, Emma and Maxwell Smith

The Smiths visited Brighton so Maxwell could see the sharks     (c) Julia Claxton

It was while planning his fourth birthday that Emma found out about Rays of Sunshine. ‘Maxwell is fascinated by sharks, so when I heard that Rays of Sunshine give wonderful experiences to sick children, I wrote to ask if they could help him visit Brighton Sea Life.’

They did better than that. On the day he visited in January 2016, a new zebra shark from Holland was released into the aquarium, and staff named him Maxwell in his honour.

It was a particularly special moment for Emma, Pete and Maxwell. ‘We try to make every day count,’ says Emma. ‘We don’t know what the future will hold. But for now, we just want to make our boy happy.’

How To Enter

Emma and Pete’s dedication to their son Maxwell is extraordinary, which is why they’ve been nominated for the special Rays of Sunshine Award – just one of five categories that people can be nominated for.

It’s simple to put someone forward for a category. Just download a nomination form below, and tell us, in no more than 500 words, why you are nominating your ‘ray of sunshine’.

Anyone can be put forward for a Rays of Sunshine award, whether they’re young or old. They don’t necessarily have to be caring for a seriously ill child. Just as long as they are making a difference to the life of someone else in their community.

All entries must include a photograph. Winners will receive a prize and appear in a feature in a future issue of Woman’s Weekly. For full details on how to enter your downloaded nomination form and prizes, please see the terms and conditions below.

* Nominations close 12 July 2016

Categories & prizes

* Mum category – sponsored by Folli Follie, the winner will receive a bag from their Heart4Heart Split collection worth £370.
* Dad category – sponsored by Clintons, the winner will enjoy a day out for two at The View from the Shard followed by a Michelin-starred meal at Galvin La Chapelle.
* Child/teen category, sponsored by Frankie & Benny’s, the winner will receive a Friend Card, so they can enjoy free meals at all Frankie & Benny’s restaurants.
* Rays of Sunshine category (this recognises a family or family member who’s shown courage in dealing with the ill health of a child), sponsored by The Fragrance Shop, the winner will receive a year’s supply of fragrance (six bottles of scent).
* Community category, sponsored by Sunshine.co.uk, the winner will receive a £500 holiday voucher.

For more information about Rays of Sunshine, or to apply for a wish, visit raysofsunshine.org.uk

Nomination Terms and Conditions

Method of Nomination

  • By post:

Send your completed nomination form to:

Rays of Sunshine Awards, Woman’s Weekly, Blue Fin Building, 110 Southwark Street, London, SE1 0SU

  • By email:

Send the completed form in an email to: womansweeklypostbag@timeinc.com

Please include the category for which you are submitting a nomination within the subject heading of the email.

Closing date for entries: Tuesday 12th July 2016 at midnight.

Winners informed: By 26th July 2016 by phone or email.

Winners announced: In Woman’s Weekly cover dated 13th September 2016.

Eligibility:

  • Nominees must be UK residents.
  • There is no limit on the number of nominations you may submit.
  • You can nominate yourself or someone else but it is your responsibility to obtain permission from them to nominate them before submitting the nomination.
  • If you are under 18 years old, you must have the permission of your parent or legal guardian to submit a nomination and you must provide the name and daytime telephone number of your parent or legal guardian on request.
  • For nominees within the Child & Teen Category and other nominees under 18 years old, you must obtain consent from their parent or legal guardian before you nominate them for the award and you must provide the name and daytime telephone number of their parent or legal guardian on request.
  • The Promoters reserve the right to contact the relevant parent or legal guardian to check consent and to exclude nominations for which the requisite consent has not been given.
  • Nominees must not be employed or engaged by, or be members of the immediate families (including any live-in partner) of, employees of the Promoters, any of the category sponsors or anyone materially connected to the administration of the awards.
  • Nominees must be available to be contacted between 12th and 26th July 2016.
  • The winning nominees must agree to take part in an interview, photography and publicity surrounding the awards and will be required to give consent for the Promoters and selected partners to use the images and interview howsoever they see fit, including for promotional purposes, with no financial claim by the winner. It is your responsibility to make them aware of the above.
  • As part of the selection process, nominees may be asked to disclose whether they have ever been convicted of a crime or are the subject of on-going criminal proceedings or investigations.
  • Proof of eligibility must be provided upon request.
  • Nominations submitted online using methods generated by a script, macro or the use of automated devices will be void. Nominations that are incomplete, illegible or indecipherable will not be valid and will be deemed void. Use of a false name or address will result in disqualification.
  • No nominations or photographs can be returned.

Prizes:

  • There are five categories and the winner of each category (each a “Winner”) will win a prize, as follows:
  • Mums Category, sponsored by Folli Follie. Winner will receive:

One (1) bag from Folli Follie’s Heart4Heart Split collection (RRP £370).

  • Dads Category, sponsored by Clintons. Winner will receive:

One (1) “The View from The Shard and Michelin Starred Dining for Two at Galvin La Chapelle” day out for two in the capital. The Winner and their guest will ascend The Shard, one of the latest additions to the London skyline and Western Europe’s tallest building. Once the Winner and their guest descended from The Shard in the high-speed lift, they can enjoy a leisurely stroll across London Bridge and through the heart of the city towards the Michelin starred French restaurant Galvin La Chapelle where they can indulge in a three-course meal from a set menu, complete with a glass of refreshing sparkling brut. The Winner and their guest must be at least 18 years old. Prize also includes a £50 gift voucher to spend in store at Clintons. www.clintonsretail.com

  • Child & Teen Category, sponsored by Frankie & Benny’s. Winner will receive:

One (1) Frankie & Benny’s Friend Card, entitling the bearer and up to three guests to eat for free from any menu at any Frankie & Benny’s or Little Frankies restaurant. Excludes alcohol. Card must be shown to redeem offer. The card expires on 06.09.2017. Note the cardholder must be present. Identification may be required. Details of your local restaurant can be found at: www.frankieandbennys.com

  • Rays of Sunshine Category, sponsored by The Fragrance Shop. Winner will receive:

A “year’s supply” of fragrance, consisting of six (6) full-sized bottles (50ml+) of fragrance. The Fragrance Shop reserves the right to substitute any of the products listed for ones of similar market value.

  • Community Category. Winner will receive:

£500 holiday voucher to spend at www.sunshine.co.uk against a holiday of the Winner’s choice with a minimum total value of £501.  The voucher has to be redeemed before the 31st December 2016.

  • The Winners and their guests are responsible for expenses and arrangements not specifically included in the Prizes, including any necessary travel documents, passports and visas.
  • The Prizes are as stated and are not transferable to another individual. No cash or other alternatives will be offered. The Prizes cannot be used in conjunction with any other special offer.
  • Prizes are subject to availability. The Promoters accept no responsibility whatsoever for elements of the Prizes being withdrawn. In the event of a Prize being unavailable, the Promoters reserve the right to offer an alternative prize of equal or greater value.
  • The Prizes are subject to the terms and conditions of the relevant sponsors or prize supplier which will be provided to the Winner when booking the Prize or with the Prize (as applicable).
  • The Prizes will be dispatched by ROS via post or email (as applicable) within 30 days of the closing date.

Promoters:

  • The “Promoters” are:
  • Time Inc. (UK) Ltd (“TIUK”), which has its registered offices located at the Blue Fin Building, 110 Southwark Street, London SE1 0SU and is a company registered in England and Wales under company number 53626;
  • Rays of Sunshine, (“ROS”), which has its registered offices located at 1 Olympic Way, Wembley, Middlesex, HA9 0NP and is a registered charity under registered charity number 1102529;
  • The Fragrance Shop Ltd, which has its registered offices located at Churchill Point Lake Edge Green, Trafford Park, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M17 1BL and is a company registered in England and Wales under company number 07025824.

Nomination Selection Process:

  • All nominations received by the closing date and time will be considered. A shortlist of three entries in each category will be selected by Woman’s Weekly and Rays of Sunshine, and the judging panel will use the nomination selection criteria (detailed in the categories section on the nomination form) to choose the winner of each category.
  • The judging panel consists of:
  • Woman’s Weekly – Editor, Diane Kenwood
  • Rays of Sunshine – Jane Sharpe, Chief Executive Officer, Rays of Sunshine
  • Amanda Lamb – Mother, wife, friend, TV presenter and former model
  • The decisions of the judging panel will be final and no correspondence will be entered into over the decisions.
  • Judging will take place from 13th July 2016 with the Winners being notified by 26th July 2016 by phone or email.
  • Reasonable efforts will be made to contact the Winners. If a Winner cannot be contacted by 26th July 2016, or if a Winner is unable to comply with these terms and conditions, is unwilling to participate or unable to take part due to personal circumstance, the Promoters reserve the right to offer the Prize to the runner-up selected by the same judges.
  • Failure to respond to information requested by the Promoters, failure to provide a valid UK address for delivery, or failure to meet the eligibility requirements may result in forfeiture of the Prize.
  • The Winner in each category will be published in Woman’s Weekly on 13th September 2016.

Use of information provided

  • All nominations will become the property of the Promoters. The Promoters accept no responsibility for nominations unsuccessfully submitted.
  • By submitting a nomination form, you consent to give the Promoters a royalty-free, non-exclusive license to use, reproduce, modify, publish, create derivative works from, and display the nomination (and any photograph included with the nomination) in whole or in part, on a worldwide basis, and to incorporate it singly or collectively into other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed (including, without limitation, magazines and online), including for promotional or marketing purposes. If necessary, you will sign any necessary documentation that may be required for the Promoters or their designees to make use of the non-exclusive rights you are granting to use the nomination (and any photograph included with the nomination).
  • The Promoters reserve the right to make the nomination and all reproductions thereof available, either wholly or in part, in any manner or form whatsoever and in any medium or format, either separately or in conjunction with any other content.
  • The Promoters reserve the right to publish names, photographs and country of residence of any Winner. The Winner agrees to the use of their name, photograph and disclosure of county of residence.
  • You agree to waive all moral rights or any similar personal rights in any nomination you submit.
  • Any personal information, including without limitation, your and the nominee’s name, age, address (including postcode) and/or email address will be used by Time Inc. (UK) Ltd in accordance with its privacy policy available at timeincuk.com/privacy/.
  • Your information and the information of the nominee may be shared with Rays of Sunshine for the purposes of prize fulfilment and the administration of the awards, which will use such information subject to its privacy policy.

General

  • By submitting a nomination you agree to be bound by these terms and conditions.
  • Your submission of nominations is not dependent on any purchase.
  • No responsibility can be accepted for entries lost, damaged or delayed in the post, or due to computer error in transit.
  • The Promoters reserve the right to hold void, suspend, cancel or amend the awards at any time. The Promoters reserve the right to change these terms and conditions at any time.
  • The Promoters also reserve the right to cancel individual nominations without liability to affected participants where such nominations do not (in the opinion of the Promoters) enter into the spirit of the awards or if the security or proper administration of the awards or the validity of a nomination is adversely affected. In the event of cancellation, termination or suspension, the Promoters may, at their discretion, select a winner from eligible, non-suspect or unaffected nominations, received prior to the event requiring such cancellation, termination or suspension.
  • In the event of a discrepancy between these terms and conditions and the details in the promotional material, the details in these terms and conditions shall prevail.
  • These terms and conditions shall be governed by the laws of England and Wales and any dispute shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.