TWO PARISH councils came together last week to honour community stalwarts.
Wokingham Without and Crowthorne councils held the special ceremony at St Sebastian’s Memorial Hall in Nine Mile Ride on Tuesday, November 20.
Around 70 people were present to hear why each of the award recipients had been nominated and to celebrate with them.
Afterwards, guests could enjoy a buffet.
Colin Antink was not able to attend, but was nominated for a community award for his fundraising efforts for Thames Hospice, despite a degenerative condition which affects his sight, hearing and joints.
Alan Davis, who used to staff the enquiries desk at Crowthorne Police Station before it closed, was nominated for his community service. This includes helping maintain the gardens of St Paul’s Church, being a member of Probus Bracknell and a former president of the Bracknell Rotary Club.
Allan Emmett is also a member of the Probus, where he has held the positions of chairman, secretary and committee member, as well as being a past president of Bracknell Rotary, where he helped with the Five Counties Cycle Ride. He also served as a trustee for Bracknell Age Concern.
Helena Hickling helped raise more than £15,000 this year for the South East Berkshire Gangshow, which raises funds for the Scouts. She has mainly achieved this by applying for grants and contacting companies for donations, raffle prizes.
It was her decade-long support for the show that saw her receive the award.
Granddad Ian Hopley has volunteered every week at Oakland Junior Since since 2015, where he spends at least half-a-day a week with pupils in the school garden as well as preparing at home.
He was commended for providing a variety of seeds, plants and materials for the children to use out of his own pocket.
His nominee said: “His skills and experience as a gardener are invaluable to the school and he asks for nothing in return. He says that his pleasure is seeing the smile on children’s faces, but, deep down, he may be sowing the seeds of a lifelong love of gardening.”
Brian and Penny Jones have overseen the Crowthorne Community Minibus for many years, where they organise all the administration of the programme and the distribution to our passengers.
The service is much in demand and has been helped by a computer programme Brian devised.
The pair also monitor a freephone for passengers to call with queries or cancellations.
As the nomination notes: “Without their involvement the Minibus would not operate as efficiently as it currently does.”
Brenda Metcalf was honoured for her volunteering of the Crowthorne’s Good Neighbours scheme as well as being treasurer for the British Legion Ladies Section. She has also been a foster mum for Cats Protection and was a first responder for five years.
Hazel Pickard has also been part of Crowthorne Good Neighbours: She recently retired after helping staff the desk on Friday mornings for more than 30 years.
She also helps with lunches at the Woodmancote (COATS) Day Centre, serving people often a lot younger than herself. And Hazel is also a member of the Crowthorne Women’s Institute.
John Tobin has been a parish councillor for Wokingham Without for 16 years, and a trustee for the United Charities Trust, chairman of Probus and a member of Bracknell Rotary club. He has also been a trustee for Age Concern.
There were two group awards: Crowthorne’s HopeZone was recognised for its work with young people.
The initiative was launched by three of the village’s churches and works with Edgbarrow and primary schools to help address the needs of youngsters, be they moving from primary to secondary school, attending drop-in clubs or taking part in charity initiatives.
The work had led to a reduction in anti-social behaviour, something the organisers say has been noted by police.
Crowthorne Baptist Church’s minister, the Revd Martin Ceaser, and Louise Truscott accepted the award on behalf of the group.
Caroline and Simon Clark accepted an award on behalf of Crowthorne Foodbank, which was opened by Bob Wade in December 2012.
Since then it has fed 52,803 meals to almost 6,000 people, thanks to a team of 20 volunteers. Demand is rising and in July, they served 630 meals alone.
Shirley Taylor and Liz Boswood collected an award on behalf of Crowthorne Good Neighbours, which was set up in 1971 by Churches Together in Crowthorne – the committee still has a representative from each of the churches.
The group of volunteers help arrange lifts to hospitals and doctors for the people of Crowthorne.
There were also two special, surprise awards on the night.
Mr Ceaser, who is leaving Crowthorne next month, was thanked for his work in the village since 2007.
He was surprised and thankful for his nomination. He said: “It is not often I’m gobsmacked.”
And Lesley Lawrence, who retired from Crowthorne Library last year, was recognised for her work at the High Street venue over the past 30 years.