Special awards night recognises our town’s community heroes

The adult award-winners at the Alnwick Mayor's Civic Awards 2015.
The adult award-winners at the Alnwick Mayor's Civic Awards 2015.

Sixteen individuals and three groups, who were all nominated by other residents for their involvement, contribution and dedication to charity work, community participation, sport or voluntary activities, were honoured at an awards ceremony last week.

The Alnwick Mayor’s Civic Awards ceremony took place last Wednesday night at the town’s St James’s Centre on Pottergate.

The RAF Boulmer Charity team with the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Alnwick at the Civic Awards 2015.

The RAF Boulmer Charity team with the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Alnwick at the Civic Awards 2015.

Mayor of Alnwick Bill Grisdale said: “As Mayor of Alnwick, I feel it is really important that as a town we are able to acknowledge and give formal recognition to our unsung heroes.

“These are the sort of people who, in the most part, quietly make their contribution within the town, and in doing so, make an enormous difference to the lives of many others.”

The first award presented was the only youth award of the night which went to Zara Browell, who was nominated by the Duchess’s Community High School.

She is a committed Air Cadet and has volunteered with ex-RAF personnel who have been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. She has also secured herself placements at Barndale School and a local retirement home.

Zara Browell and Mayor of Alnwick Bill Grisdale at the Civic Awards 2015.

Zara Browell and Mayor of Alnwick Bill Grisdale at the Civic Awards 2015.

Michael Doherty received a civic award for 30 years’ service as a retained firefighter, while nurturing young people through school visits and setting up and running the Alnwick Young Firefighters.

Andy Griffin is a volunteer with Action on Hearing Loss, who runs a support group once a month at St Paul’s Court, and was awarded for his wide-ranging volunteer work assisting people with hearing loss and highlighting the difficulties they face.

Steve Hurst, who set up Spirit Buses in Rothbury, received an award for his bus services which not only support communities in Coquetdale, but also link Alnwick and Alnmouth Railway Station, meeting trains five times day.

Partners in grime Gill Parker and Trish Jones were honoured for their efforts in cleaning the Tenantry Column’s ‘lion’s enclosure’ twice a week and establishing the Friends of Column Field.

Another award for a resident who has helped to improve the look of the town went to Jenny MacDowell, who has transformed the Gardener’s House garden beside Bondgate Tower, a previously-neglected area, into an attractive corner garden.

Continuing the horticultural theme, Clare O’Donnell received a civic award for her amazing enthusiasm in charge of the Roots and Shoots garden and the Forget-me-not programme for disabled and disadvantaged children, as well as her promotion of healthy eating to schools.

The Gazette’s gardening correspondent Tom Pattinson was also honoured for his involvement in community and charitable projects throughout Alnwick and his continued dedication and hard work.

A further four individual awards went to volunteers involved in the Alnwick International Music Festival, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. They are Doreen Coleman, Rachel Robinson, Anne Walton and Alan Symmonds, who is stepping down as chairman this year.

Three individuals who couldn’t attend the awards evening were also honoured.

Major (Retired) Fred A Calvert MBE TD received an award for his contribution and dedication, over many years, to the benefit of the Alnwick community including 57 Alnwick Remembrance Day services and parades.

David Angus was given his award for providing a high level of care for the hanging baskets around the town which resulted in an exceptional display.

Nancy Hammond was recognised for her volunteer work and her continued contribution to the heritage and its appreciation in Alnwick.

The first group award went to the Alnwick Christmas Lights Team, which, in its current form, has been providing the town with its annual festive display since 1990.

The second was presented to the staff at the Alnwick branch of Halifax, who transformed a disregarded stretch in Greenwell Road into a herbaceous border and have also been instrumental in planting and establishing the funding of spring bulbs on the Column Field.

Last, but by no means least, the Royal Air Force Charity Team from RAF Boulmer was awarded for its efforts in carrying out numerous community projects 
over the last year, but primarily lending 
support to the Alnwick in Bloom campaign.