A sister who tragically lost her sibling when he was stabbed to death has been nominated for a special award to recognise the charity work she has done to keep his memory alive, and support other families who have been affected by knife crime.
To honour her efforts, Kayleigh’s father, Lee Pepper, has nominated his daughter in the Hull Daily Mail’s Heart Awards in the Charity Champion category, sponsored by BAE.
The heart-warming annual awards celebrate the achievements of the region’s unsung heroes, honouring people who go the extra mile for the good of others, and the courageous and inspirational people who battle on despite the odds and never expect to be thanked.
After Kayleigh and her family lost her 25-year-old brother, Richard, three years ago Kayleigh decided to set up the RICH Foundation in July 2016 in his honour.
Through the charity, she has helped over 18 families who lost members to knife crime, with expenses for all aspects of funerals such as coffins, flowers and cars and has helped send families away on holidays to help with the stresses of their loss a little easier.
As well as dedicating her spare time to charity, full time mum-of-two Kayleigh Pepper has also tirelessly campaigning to rid Hull’s streets of knives and blades. Alongside Humberside Police, she has been working with and supporting Hull Live’s #NoMoreKnives campaign, which aims to educate young people on the dangers of carrying a knife.
“Kayleigh is truly inspiring and caring, she is dedicated to helping others for self satisfaction and to changing how the world view knife crime and how we react to it, she is really one of a kind and deserves to be recognised for what she does as an individual”, said Mr Pepper.
“She is just so dedicated to the charity work, which helps her but also helps others, and she does it all at the same time as bringing up a four-year-old and six-year-old.”
Mr Pepper says Kayleigh takes part in many fundraising events, and that these are not just for her own charity.
“To raise funds for the charity, Kayleigh has taken part in events such as auctions, boxing nights, fairs and five a side football, she even walked from Hull to Anfield Stadium in Liverpool for her brother as he supported Liverpool.
“When the holidays come around such as Easter and Christmas Kayleigh does Easter Egg appeals and Toy Appeals to give the children something, and makes magical egg hunts for a fun day for children who are grieving.
“Kayleigh has helped us get through hard times and she’s just amazing.”
Charity champion Kayleigh is thrilled at her nomination, and was not expecting it.
The full time mum says that the RICH Foundation and her subsequent work raising awareness of knife crime in schools has kept the memory of her brother alive.
“I also lost my mum and dad when Rich died, and my family fell apart that day” said Kayleigh.
“I don’t think we would be as strong as we are today as a family without setting up the foundation, which helps bereaved families dealing with the effects of loss after murder or manslaughter.
“The charity aims to east the stresses and strains that come with grief, and I used our experiences and looked at what would have made things better at the time for us to then make sure other families have the support we felt we lacked, as victim support was the only place to turn, which wasn’t entirely suitable for what we were going through.
“I’m absolutely blown away by the award nomination – the charity was just something I had to do and I don’t expect my parents to thank me or give me recognition.”
As well as the charity work, Kayleigh is looking forward to visiting schools and youth clubs in September to spread knife crime awareness to around 17,000 young people and share the devastating effects it can have both from her brother’s perspective and a family perspective.
“My work in schools with the police challenges the norms of carrying a knife and shows the devastating ripple effect of a stabbing, not only on the person that loses their life, but the effect that it also has on that person’s family” said Kayleigh.
“Through foundation and the work I’m also doing in the schools on knife crime, my brother is still achieving great things even though he’s not here anymore”.
The Heart Awards
Kayleigh’s nomination is is just one of dozens of nominations we have received across the eight categories including Inspiring Youngster, Local Hero, Child of Courage, Business in the Community, Charity Champion, Community Sports, Emergency Services and the Parent/Guardian of the Year.
Often the people who deserve the most recognition work beneath the surface, in the background without a fuss, which is why we need your help to give them the public gratification they deserve.
Every nomination received will be considered by a panel of judges from Hull Live who will draw up a shortlist. This shortlist will then be presented to an independent panel, which will choose a winner for each category.
The eight category winners will then all be considered by a panel of judges before one overall winner is chosen and named the Heart of East Yorkshire.
What the sponsor had to say
BAE are sponsoring the Charity Champion Heart Award nomination, and Dave Corfield, Brough Site Director said: “We are delighted to support the Heart of East Yorkshire Awards. The Charity Champion category recognises the tremendous work of the unsung heroes in our community, who put so much effort into making our lives better.
“At BAE Systems, our employees continue to support our partner charities by raising funds and volunteering their time to aid the extraordinary work the charities do in our local region.
“It is important to showcase these truly inspirational people for what they have achieved and we look forward to celebrating their success with pride.”
The awards categories
Inspiring Youngster Award – with Hatfields Jaguar
There are thousands of terrific youngsters out there, but we’re looking for a role model, aged 16 or under, who deserves special recognition. This could be someone who has made a contribution to their community, taken steps to support important causes or fundraising for charities. These young people are the future – they are building their confidence and resilience, and are already working hard to be the change in creating a better world.
Local Hero Award – with Hatfields Land Rover
The Local Hero award will recognise remarkable acts of courage or selflessness by an ordinary member of the community. This might be someone who has helped save a life or acted in a courageous way in their community.
Child of Courage Award – with Willerby
Do you know a young person, aged 16 or under, who has the heart of a lion? This could go to a child who has shown a great amount of bravery, fought against illness, and still showed a shining spirit.
Business in the Community Award
This prize recognises an exceptional case of a company making a real contribution to their local community, Businesses across East Yorkshire make a huge contribution to their community, whether by donating money and time or supporting local causes.
Charity Champion award – with BAE
Our Charity Champion will highlight an individual or group whose charitable work has made a significant impact to a worthy cause. This could be someone who raises money regularly or who has generated significant funds for a chosen charity or charities
Community Sports Award – with Hull Culture & Leisure
This award will recognise an outstanding example of an unsung hero in the field of amateur or junior sport. The award is about honouring the coaches, captains and chairmen who give their all.
Parent/Guardian of the Year – with Hull Live
Do you know an outstanding parent? It could be a parent who selflessly gives up their life to care for their child, or a guardian who dedicates their time to fostering children. It could also be a parent who, despite their own challenges, always puts their children first.
Emergency Services Award – with Kitchens By Design
We want to honour the people working in the emergency services sector who are there to protect and serve the public. We want to hear about the police officers, doctors, nurses, fire officers, etc. who deserve recognition. We want to award the enthusiasm, dedication and commitment of these hard workers who may have risked their own life to save another, going above and beyond their line of duty.
How to nominate
You can nominate the person that you think deserves an award in the form below. Remember to send them in by Sunday 5 August.