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Honour for hero housing officer who helped save Christmas

October 01 2015 | Articles | News

(Debbie Rennie, collecting her award from Ground Heat's Dave Thompson and actor Julie Hesmondhalgh)

Our housing officer Debbie Rennie - who helped save Christmas after a fire ripped through a tenant’s home - has been honoured for her work.

Tamara Coghlan’s story featured in the Mirror last year when, just two days before Christmas, a ravage fire gutted her home.

Almost all Tamara’s belongings were lost and her planned family Christmas was almost ruined. She had just battled two brain haemorrages and her daughter was due to come home from hospital for Christmas.

But Christmas was saved after the fast actions of Debbie Rennie, one of our neighbourhood housing officers in Harpurhey.

Debbie found somewhere for Tamara to stay throughout the holidays, arranged crucial repairs and started a whip-round from colleagues.

Staff raised almost £300 to help replace food and Christmas presents. Donations rained in from across Manchester after the story featured in the Manchester Evening News.

And now Debbie has won an award for her efforts. She was named the winner of the Unsung Hero category at our annual 'Living the Values' awards, hosted this year by Julie Hesmondhalgh.

Debbie said: “Everything was really smoke damaged and totally destroyed. It was really upsetting.

“It’s really good to know that in a community that gets a lot of bad press, when something bad happens, everybody pulls together." 

Tamara said: “It doesn’t feel like darkness anymore. It just feels like light.”

The other winners were:

Hayley Crane – Chief Executive’s special commendation – sponsored by SitexOrbis

Adam Douglas – Team Player of the Year – sponsored by Prodo Digital

Naila Ilyas – Customer Champion of the Year – sponsored by Manchester Working

Charlotte Willsmer – Hidden Gem – sponsored by Procure Plus

Danny Whitelock – Manager of the Year – sponsored by Spectra

Shaun McCarthy – Employee of the Year – sponsored by Fasset

Open Spaces Team – Team of the Year – sponsored by 6G Internet