SOME of Wokingham’s unsung heroes were honoured at a special ceremony held in the Town Hall on Friday, January 26. The annual Civic Awards, organised by Wokingham Town Council, is an opportunity to thank people who live or volunteer in the borough for the things they have done to make it a better place.
Wokingham Town Mayor Cllr Peter Lucey welcomed people to the ceremony, held at the town hall in Market Place and attended by the High Steward of Wokingham, Lady Elizabeth Godsal, and her daughter Lucy Zeal. It was announced last week that Mrs Zeal will take over the High Steward duties from her mother in May.
Cllr Lucey said: “It gives me great pleasure to present these awards and recognise your contribution to the town.”
Nigel Hopkins then acted as MC for the evening, introducing each award and welcoming friends of the winners to the podium to give their citations.
The first couple to receive their award were Chris and Carol Barnes, who were hailed as “two of the most community minded people” for their work with a number of charities and groups, including WADE and Wokingham Baptist Church. This includes devoting a huge amount of their time to the Day Centre, volunteering on the WADE buses, regularly cooking for attendees and working in the garden.
“They give their time and efforts unstintingly,” Jackie Wilson said.
Wokingham Scout leader Roger Ilett – who normally sits on the judging panel along with Wokingham Paper editor Phil Creighton – was honoured for his work with youngsters across Wokingham as district chair.
“He never stops working,” Lorraine Bolam said. “Roger ensure that all Scout groups in Wokingham are working.
“Everyone is always so happy to see him. Any problem? Roger is always there.”
The familiar voice of Jack Sulman was next to be honoured. He is the MC for the Winter Carnival as well as the Wokingham Borough Sports Awards, one of the most prestigious events in the local sporting calendar.
Dave Donaldson from the organising committee said: “It gives us great pleasure to nominate Jack. It is, if I may say so, long overdue.
“He is an excellent communicator and totally reliable.”
And Mr Sulman made the unusual step of thanking people for his nomination.
“I’m grateful for the support,” he said.
The final award presented on the night went to Sheila Bailey from the British Red Cross.
Clive Pearce thanked her for the work for the charity, saying that she is “a very experienced volunteer with a caring nature”.
There are two more awards to make: Stan Hetherington and Jean Ibbotson. They were unable to attend and they will be presented at a later date.
Mr Hetherington was nominated for his dedication to Wokingham through the events he puts on, charity work and support for businesses, including the Winter Carnival, the May Fayre, the open air cinema, the Wokingham Walk and charity balls.
And Ms Ibbotson was nominated for her service to Wokingham Lions CLub over the past 10 years. She helps run the Message In a Bottle scheme which alerts professionals to health and medication details when a person is in crisis), the Starmaker theatre trips for the elderly and disadvantaged youths.
Speaking afterwards, Cllr Gwynneth Hewetson, Chairman of Civic Committee, said: “As a Town Councillor as well as a trustee of The Cultural Partnership: more arts, I love attending the Civic Awards.
“I know most of the recipients but can never fail to be surprised by the number of groups they help, the other activities for which they volunteer. My congratulations to the Civic Award recipients.”
Cllr Lucey added: “Each year it is always wonderful to see that so many people have been nominated for our Civic Awards and read how much work they do within the community.
“Nominations come from friends and family, charities, societies, and individuals – from anyone who feels the nominee should be recognised by our town.
“We look forward to next year’s awards and would encourage anyone to come forward with nominations.”