Alnwick Town Council Civic Awards honour community champions
Alnwick Town Council held an awards ceremony last night to celebrate community champions who have gone above and beyond in their efforts to support the town’s residents.
Before presenting the annual Civic Awards, Town Mayor Councillor Geoff Watson said: “The award winners are all people who have been nominated by people who live, work or operate in Alnwick for their involvement, contribution and dedication to charity work, community participation or voluntary activities.”
The first team Civic Award went to the Ignite Volunteers.
Ignite is a Christian charity based in Alnwick involved in youth and school work. Projects include ‘Mighty Oaks’ on a Saturday night, ‘It’s Your Move’ for year 6 to 7 pupils and ‘Messy Church’. Ignite are a wonderful example of what can be achieved by a small group of hard working volunteers and they received their award for their substantial contribution to the Alnwick Community, especially its young people.
The second team Civic Award went to the Alnwick Playhouse Trustees.
Alnwick Playhouse is a very important institution in the life of Alnwick which has always seemed to be under challenge from the forces around it. Throughout, a small group of trustees have ceaselessly battled and used their combined professional skills in business, financial, legal and entrepreneurial interests to develop the Playhouse into a first rate Arts Centre, they are totally committed and the term unsung heroes was never more appropriate.
Individual Civic Awards were presented to Sarah Hutchinson and Rebecca Clements.
Sarah is the district commissioner for girl guiding for the Alnwick Division which includes surrounding villages and both she and Rebecca spend hours and hours every week planning and delivering sessions and they also organise camping weekends, all done to improve lives of girls in the Alnwick area.
The next Civic Award was presented to Iryna Zhomer.
Iryna came to Alnwick with her two sons under the Homes for Ukraine refugee scheme, volunteering as a language translator, adviser, event organiser. She has also given Ukrainian language lessons to a number of local hosts and supporters, helping to build cultural understanding between our local and Ukrainian communities.
Commitment to environmental issues sees the next Civic Award going to Terry Smith.
He is a key member of Friends of the Earth and has been involved as a volunteer with the Duchess High School’s climate club. Alnwick and the people of Alnwick have benefited hugely from Terry’s time and effort and because of this dedication he is presented with this award.
Derek Warren, founder of Warren Access, was the next recipient of a Civic Award.
For the past 30 years he has given his time and company equipment entirely free to help the team to install Alnwick Christmas Lights. Charging nothing for the equipment and providing training free of charge to all volunteers he is considered a seasoned member of the Christmas Lights team.
Commitment to education sees Rosie Bush receive a Civic Award.
She teaches English and Drama at The Duchess’s Community High School and is the school’s Culture and Community Co-ordinator. She co-runs a children’s drama group and, with Jessica McCardle, organised last year’s Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Parade.
Sandra Shepherd was nominated because of her dedication to hedgehogs.
There is a real possibility that hedgehogs could be extinct in the wild within the next 20 years. Sandra Shepherd, is determined to help reverse that trend, by fostering and adopting severely injured hedgehogs including those suffering from blindness and amputated limbs. People bring injured hedgehogs to her home where she cares for many of the hedgehogs, covering the costs, including food, from her own pocket.
Twelve years of dedication to Alnwick Town Juniors saw a Civic Award go to Louise Jones.
She has raised thousands of pounds through various fund raising initiatives during her time at the club and always does so with an infectious determination which undoubtably inspires others. Louise has also, for many years, organised the annual summer tournament which regularly attracts around 100 teams. She is the clubs first female Chair and has recently overseen the redevelopment of the clubhouse which was damaged during Storm Arwen.
Another Alnwick Town Juniors stalwart, Paul Davidson, was also presented with a Civic Award.
He has given a decade of outstanding service to the club, starting out as a coach. Paul progressed to serve the club as Secretary, Vice-Chairman and Chairman and most recently as a trustee of the Alnwick Town Juniors FC charity.
The next award from the world of sport went to Paul Batley from Alnwick Dolphins.
Over the past 12 years, through Paul’s leadership as Chairman, the club has evolved into the hugely successful club it is today. The club is now a flourishing volunteer led club with 80 swimmers many of whom achieving County, Regional and National times.
For being a role model to young people, Alnwick professional boxer Cyrus Pattinson receives a Civic Award.
Cyrus is presently IBO Continental Welterweight Champion but the main reason for the award is to recognise Cyrus as a champion for his town and a role model for its young people. Cyrus offers his services time and again without charge or pressure to the Duchess’s School to speak to pupils and tell them how he sorted his life out and made his weakness his strength. He is an example to youngsters who might find themselves on a wayward path of how it is possible for an ordinary lad without anything except determination to rise above difficult circumstances and succeed in life. As he says with his Alnwick wit, “They kicked me out of school for fighting but now they invite me in to talk about it!”.
The next award went to Beth Gascoigne-Owens, founder of Alnwick and District Litter Picking Group
Most people will walk past litter and at best think “what a mess” but not Beth. She has a different attitude – she’ll pick it up to make the area look tidier. She started the Group in 2021 and it’s obvious that lots of people share Beth’s concerns and can-do approach to make the town tidier because the group now has over 300 members.
Well known dance teacher Carole Moseley also received a Civic Award.
In 1987 the Alnwick Academy of Dance was founded by Miss Moseley, as she is known by her students, since when her academy has been a centre of excellence for dance in its various forms and disciplines. She has drawn in a very excellent team of teachers to maintain the quality and range of the school’s curriculum. The Academy is an institution in the town and hundreds of young people have benefited from Miss Moseley’s energy, expertise and ambition.
The next award went to Syd Carr who is well respected and surely known to many Alnwick residents.
Currently a part time employee of the Town Council, most parts of Alnwick have been been fixed by Syd over the years. His unwavering support of the community has been invaluable as has his can-do attitude, his voluntary work at St Michael’s Pant and his steadfast contribution to the town.
American Wade Sherman was presented with a Civic Award.
For almost two decades Wade, in his role as Assistant Director and Alnwick Resident Co-ordinator of Minnesota’s Saint Cloud State University program, has helped countless students involve themselves in Alnwick life. Wade has been and will hopefully continue to be the constant link between the university and the community and he demonstrates his own commitment to the town as a valued member of the Shrove Tuesday Football Committee.
A Civic Award went to Archie Jenkins who is also committed to Alnwick’s Shrove Tuesday football.
The Shrovetide Football Game in Alnwick dates back to at least 1762 and is one of only a handful of ancient games still played today. For the past two decades the games history has been protected by Archie, long serving secretary of the Shrovetide Football Committee whose passion for the traditional game can be found his excellent book ‘Temple Again’.
Alnwick Matters Facebook page founder Ryan Hogg received a Civic Award.
In a relatively short space of time, the page has grown from a few dozen members to over 10,000 and is still growing. Alnwick Matters is a vehicle for local people to be informed and to exchange views about Alnwick. It has become very popular and is a genuine example of social media improving community engagement.
A posthumous Civic Award honoured David and Vera Parker.
In 2005 they discussed the possibility of reviving the Alnwick Flower Show by organising a Spring Show for Alnwick. They raised funds and formed a committee of volunteers to coordinate the event. The Alnwick Spring Show has grown into an event which is promoted on the National calendar of flower shows and exhibitors travel great distances to take part. What started as an idea from David and Vera has become a major visitor attraction and their daughter Elaine was presented with the award by the Town Mayor.
The final recipient, Sue Patience, received two Civic Awards.
She was nominated for her service as a councillor with Alnwick Town Council for the exceptional period of 32 years. This is not merely a long service award but rather an award for the quality of that service and the integrity and commitment displayed by Sue through her period in office. Sue took her role as a councillor very seriously and was always an able and articulate advocate for those she represented. Sue was particularly vocal when she spoke up for the young people and the problem of homelessness. In short, Sue was an excellent Councillor respected by all.
In addition to Sue’s contribution as a councillor of 32 years, she has also made considerable contributions to the community. As an employee of Gallery Youth she has supported young people and was instrumental in supporting young people to get a bike track in town. She is a member of Friends of the Earth and also a major contributor to the Community Allotment working with Social Prescribers and Northumberland College to provide opportunities for people to have access to growing their own food.
Sue received an award for her service to the Town Council and an award for her service to the community.