The Signature Annual Awards, a national charity, honour the ground-breaking work that is being carried out across the UK and Ireland to improve access for deaf and deafblind people.

The awards ceremony will take place on 10 October at Durham Cathedral. Voting for this outstanding couple is open until 2 October 2014 at 12 noon via the Signature Annual Awards website http://signatureannualawards.org.uk/you-decide

John Cheetham, a life member of Peterborough Lions Club and his wife Sheila who is also a Lion, have been successful in being short-listed for the UK and Ireland Community Spirit Award. They were nominated by the teachers of deaf children at Jack Hunt School. Sheila and John have made a positive impact across the deaf community for more than three decades. Their tireless dedication to removing barriers and developing awareness has had a huge impact on the lives of deaf children and young people and their families locally, nationally and internationally.

Sheila has been deaf for 30 years, she lost the hearing in one ear when she was a child, but was not diagnosed until her teenage years. She has used her own experience to support others both personally and through raising funds for charity. Her attitude and commitment has inspired her husband John to equally devote his time and efforts to improving the lives of deaf people and their families. They have raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for charities such as Hearing Dogs for Deaf People and Peterborough and District Deaf Children?s society (PDDCS). They also devised the highly successful and popular annual Peterborough Lions Quiz.

Sheila and John recognise the importance of not only supporting deaf people but of supporting their families too. They have helped many families adjust to the challenges of raising a child with a hearing loss. They are active supporters of PDDCS, of which John has been president for over 25 years. More recently Sheila and John saw the successful conclusion to a campaign to bring Music and the Deaf to the local area. John has covered hundreds of miles in the Lions minibus to enable children to pursue and develop their musical talents. They have access to one to one tuition, play in an orchestra and recently met Evelyn Glennie. In 2013 Music and the Deaf was the nominated charity of the Peterborough Lions.

Together, Sheila and John have delivered training in Deaf Awareness and face reading to organisations nationwide in their role as Speech and Hearing Officers for the Lions Club International. They also created the ?I see what you?re saying? badge. Now retired from work, Sheila and John continue their hard work to promote a positive attitude towards deafness. With their warm personalities they make others feel that anything is possible.

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