Gallery: Stowmarket celebrates the great and the good at inaugural awards ceremony

Mayor Gerard Brewster, centre, with his wife Audrey, right, Roy Hudd and his wife Debbie, at the Sto

Mayor Gerard Brewster, centre, with his wife Audrey, right, Roy Hudd and his wife Debbie, at the Stowmarket Town Awards. - Credit: Archant

It was a never-to-be-forgotten evening and one which will linger long for those who attended the first ever Stowmarket Town Awards.

Guests heard of dedicated individuals, businesses and organisations in the community who had given their time, effort and energy for the sake of others with the unsung heroes and heroines having their moment in the spotlight as they strode up to the stage.

As the citations were conveyed via video onto a screen there were many who were left with a lump in their throat along with burning admiration for the award winners’ efforts and contributions to their community.

The event, held at the town’s Cedars Park Community Centre, was backed by a host of businesses in and around the town who sponsored the 11 categories and attended by more than 100 people.

The awards was an initiative spearheaded by town clerk David Blackburn and supported by the East Anglian Daily Times and its sister title the Stowmarket Mercury, with main sponsors PPG.

Friday evening’s ceremony was attended by a number of the town’s civic dignitaries including the town’s mayor, Gerard Brewster, and guest of honour, TV and radio personality Roy Hudd, who lives locally.

He helped set the tone with a number of light-hearted and amusing tales.

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He even told of how someone had asked him if he had bought along his Emu ... a reference to him often being confused with Rod Hull, who was a TV entertainer in the 1970s and 1980s and appeared with Emu, a mute, highly aggressive arm-length puppet.

He also praised the community spirit of the town and added: “The people of Stowmarket are terrific, everyone is marvellous and I congratulate all the winners here tonight.”

Mr Brewster also echoed the same sentiments saying: “Tonight is a celebration of our town and the achievements and contributions of some very special people who live, work and play in the town.

“It is fair to say that we have been simply overwhelmed by the response to the awards. They have really struck a chord with the local community.

“I cannot let the moment pass by without expressing thanks to our town clerk, David Blackburn for his attention to detail and impeccable planning of the event, and to councillor Anne Whybrow who has worked alongside him.

“I have realised just how many exceptional people we have in our community.

“Tonight is about community and an opportunity for us to come together and celebrate our unsung heroes and champion performers – and importantly, to show them, that the people of Stowmarket are very, very proud of them all.”

The 11 category winners were: Local Business of the Year, Timberwolf; Employee of the Year, Colin Akehurst; Teacher or Youth Leader of the Year, Caroline Davies; Young Person of the Year, Emily Vaughan-Wright; Environmental Champion, Nigel Rozier; Sportsperson of the Year, Katherine Rednall; Community Hero of the Year, Jane Gurney; Where The Heart Is, PPG; Kind Neighbour of the Year, Liz Payne; Outstanding Contribution to the Community, Ted Champion; Pride of Stowmarket, Museum of East Anglian Life.

Many of the award winners praised the contribution of others in the town who were also nominated in the various categories and it was summed up simply and with heartfelt honesty by Liz Payne who said there were many people in the community who were just as deserving as herself.