Unsung heroes were rewarded for their commitment and contribution to the community at the 2013/14 Mayor’s Civic Awards ceremony.
Launched by Alnwick Town Council, the accolades gave formal recognition to individuals who have demonstrated significant involvement and dedication to the town.
Twelve individuals and four groups were honoured during the special service at Alnwick’s council chamber on Wednesday, May 7.
All of the community champions had been nominated by other residents for their involvement, contribution and dedication to charity work, participation in the town, and sport or voluntary activities.
The awards were split in two categories – adults and people aged 18 or under.
Individual awards in the young person’s category went to Teri Hall, Tristan Oliver, Dale Vint, Alistair Batey and Chris Boyes.
Alnwick Young Firefighters took a group accolade in the 18 or under section.
Team awards in the adult category were given to Alnwick in Bloom, volunteers from Alnwick Playhouse and the Alnwick Household Waste Recovery Site Team.
Meanwhile, Rae Thomas, Richard Starks, Chris Friend, Sue Porteous, Susan Bell, Rob Woods and Penny Stewart received individual prizes.
Mayor of Alnwick, Bill Grisdale, paid tribute to the award winners, describing them as ‘very special’.
He said: “I feel it is extremely important that the town acknowledges and gives formal recognition to our unsung heroes.
“These are people who, in the most part, quietly make their contribution, and in doing so, make an enormous difference to the lives of many others.
“I would like to say a big thank you to all our award winners for their involvement, dedication and contribution to the community. They make Alnwick a better place to live and work for many of its residents.
“I know there are lots of people in our town who really make a difference to our community by just quietly getting on with what needs doing.
“Many local residents, individuals and groups owe a lot to these people and I feel it is really important that we recognise their contribution.”
People aged 18 or under - individual award winners
Teri Hall: Teri has carried out a variety of community-service activities, including helping out in three different subject lessons at Alnwick’s Duchess Community High School. She has also been involved in a range of events with the local army cadets, as well as helping out in a local nursery, adding up to more than 100 hours of community service.
Tristan Oliver: Tristan has helped with Year 9 PE at the Duchess’s Community High School every Friday and completed the sports leader qualification in addition to his A-Level studies. He has also been involved in organising the lower school cross-country events and raised money for Cancer Research through the amazing feat of standing for 24 hours.
Dale Vint: Dale was a winner of an award for his community service work and coaching activities with Alnwick Town Football Club. He has completed more than 100 hours of community service through football coaching; firstly with former Alnwick Town manager Paul Yeadon on Fridays and then two sessions with Alnwick Town on Tuesdays and Saturdays every week with a range of youngsters from U5s to U14s.
Alistair Batey: Alistair won an award for his work with Year 9s at the Duchess’s Community High School on a Friday afternoon every week in core PE. Alistair has been leading certain PE sessions and has been involved with football, rugby and circuit training. He has been helping the school PE teachers, all during his non-contact periods. He has completed his sports leadership qualification and has enjoyed his community service this year and hopes to carry it on.
Chris Boyes: Chris has consistently supported and helped Year 9 students at the Duchess’s Community High School in food and textiles technology lessons throughout this academic year. Chris is a reliable young man who has proved to be a good role model. He has demonstrated he can respond to the needs of our young people to develop their technology skills. He also helps to promote the subject showing commitment to his community service.
People aged 18 or under – team award
Alnwick Young Firefighters: The Young Firefighters, aged 13-17 years old, attend regular meetings and participate in a variety of activities where they learn valuable skills including road-traffic collision awareness and search and rescue techniques, as well as team-working skills, leadership and communication skills. They participate in community activities such as fund-raising; providing safety information to the public at fetes & fairs and completing home fire safety checks. In April, they took an active part in our town clean up day hosing down pavements and gutters. Anyone who saw them ion action during that event cannot have failed to be impressed by their dedication, commitment and hard work.
Adult category – individual award winners
Rae Thomas: Rae dedicates herself to caring and nursing the community in Alnwick and surrounding rural areas. She has a holistic approach to caring and has a unique ability to support many people through difficult and emotionally challenging times. She is the sort of person who makes the people she cares for feel valued and importantly safe and secure.
Richard Starks: Richard has been a very active volunteer in the Alnwick community for a number of years. He is involved at the Alnwick Playhouse, where he volunteers for front of house as well as assisting with maintenance work. He has also been an active member of the Bullfield Community Orchard project since its inception, helping to create a sustainable space which celebrates the natural habitat.
Chris Friend: Chris is the community coordinator for Alnwick Baptist Church, but goes the extra mile in his work in the community and is an invaluable support and resource person to others. His work includes co-ordinating and fund-raising for the Mighty Oaks Coffee Van in Alnwick, running counselling sessions for young people at the Duchess’s High School, co-ordinating children’s activities in the Market Place, providing support to Alnwick’s food bank and investing time and effort in a programme to recruit volunteers to provide mentoring support for young people locally.
Sue Porteous: Sue has, with other volunteers, worked to extend the provision of bereavement services in Alnwick and across Northumberland. Through her efforts, HospiceCare North Northumberland has trained volunteer Bereavement Visitors to visit people to talk and work through the pain, anger or guilt. Sue herself has recruited volunteers and raised awareness of the service. She has also used her own skills to train and help others in her town. Sue is also active in her local church and in the WI, and supports and encourages others in voluntary work done by those organisations.
Susan Bell: Susan is passionate about the cleanliness of Alnwick and is a one woman anti-litter campaigner. She is also a hard-working member of Alnwick in Bloom and a Friend of Alnwick Station. She has been seen at 7pm picking up litter beside the Lion Bridge and the entrance to The Pastures. As well as this she is also a hard working committee member of the Alnwick International Music festival.
Adult category – individual award winners for sport
Penny Stewart: Penny is a one woman fund-raiser having raised more than £120,000 on behalf of Alnwick Rugby Club for its redevelopment. She has come up with some novel ways of raising money, which included organising a huge auction and a brick well where she sold bricks. She parachuted out of an aeroplane, organised balls, Champagne Sundays and other activities at the club. On top of this she is now helping the volunteers with the Rugby World Cup 2015.
Rob Woods: Rob is Alnwick Cricket Club’s first XI captain and a member of the general committee. He has worked hard over the last couple of years to successfully bring in grants to enable the clubhouse to be refurbished, the building of a new scorebox with electric scoreboard and the rebuilding of artificial turf training nets. Field drainage is planned for September. He has also secured funding for junior coaching and to cover the costs of coaches’ training. Rob has helped secure over £100,000 for the club from both national organisations and smaller local benefactors.
Adult category – team awards
Alnwick in Bloom: The Bloom team works hard to maintain colourful flower displays around Alnwick. The volunteers organise the hanging baskets around the Northumberland Hall and encourage organisations to take part in Britain In Bloom. They support this with hard physical work to
tidy up public areas and engage young people with their successful art competition. The team is often seen around the town doing their best to ensure we have a beautiful and well-maintained environment.
Alnwick Household Waste Recovery Site Team: All the staff at the recycling centre are extremely helpful and go out of their way to assist people dispose of their waste in the appropriate containers. They make it a pleasure to go there and use the facilities. The area is always immaculate and clean and they offer help without prompting so deserve recognition.
Alnwick Playhouse Volunteers: The volunteers make up the bulk of the workforce at the Playhouse. Their dedication has helped establish the Playhouse as one of the leading small venues in the north of England. They help in all sorts of ways from bookings to refreshments and assist with the more technical elements of the theatre such as sound and lighting and scenery and wardrobe. The volunteers have helped make the Playhouse a strong and valuable part of the community.