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Unsung heroes recognised in Pride of Tendring awards

PUBLISHED: 11:34 31 December 2014 | UPDATED: 11:34 31 December 2014

GREAT Britain with skipper Simon Talbot (far right).
Simon has been given a special recognition award in the Pride of Tendring Awards 2015

GREAT Britain with skipper Simon Talbot (far right). Simon has been given a special recognition award in the Pride of Tendring Awards 2015


Unsung community heroes from across Tendring have been honoured in an annual awards scheme for the district.

The Pride of Tendring Awards, launched in 2011, this year recognised groups as well as individuals for the first time.

Winners will be invited to a special ceremony at Clacton Town Hall on February 6 where they will receive their accolades.

The scheme is run by Tendring District Council, and councillors put forward nominations.

Val Guglielmi, council chairman, said: “It is a time of the year when we are able to celebrate the fantastic community spirit we have in Tendring and recognise the achievements of individual residents and groups.

“There are so many people, the real unsung heroes, who make such a difference to the lives of many others in so many ways – many of whom are the more vulnerable members of our society.

“The Pride of Tendring Awards allows us the opportunity to say thank you to these people for everything they do to improve the quality of life of those who live around them. It is a small gesture to acknowledge all that they do.

“Most would probably be more than happy to remain under the radar and go about their good works without any fuss but it is something they richly deserve. It is our turn to do something for them.”

The winners are:

• Harwich Society chairman Colin Farnell, and his wife Aileen who is the group’s membership secretary, are described as central figures in the Harwich community – helping to run seven visitor attractions promoting and enhancing the town’s image and reputation.

Their citation reads: “Colin and Aileen are both very modest characters who fail to see the impact of all that they do within the community and measure their work by the benefits derived by Harwich.”

• Sylvia Hobbs has been volunteering around Jaywick for more than 25 years, taking people to hospital and shopping, and holds many roles including chairman of the Jaywick Resident’s Association, Full Circle Club and Green Team.

• David Shearmur, member of Manningtree Rotary Club for 20 years, is joint organiser of the Manningtree Ox and the town’s festival.

The retired teacher has been church and property steward for Manningtree Methodist Church for 25 years he has co-ordinated efforts to raise funds to keep the church going and in perfect repair. He also started the Stour Choral Society, of which he is currently chairman.

• Brightlingsea First Responders John and Pat Eaton have been saving lives around the town since 2002, and John has co-ordinated the group for the past five years.

Their citation reads: “John and Pat have a very calm nature and give excellent encouragement to all the other volunteers who work on a day/night rota, giving a great deal of assurance to members of the public. It is true that you are only as good as the team you work with, but without their efforts there would not be a team.”

• Phil Clark founded and currently chairs the Great Estate of Bockings Elm Residents’ Association, campaigning for a community centre which has recently been given planning permission for temporary facilities which could become permanent.

His citation states: “Phil represents the true meaning of community spirit.”

• Former mayor of Manningtree Kerry King has won awards for Floral Manningtree as well as the Essex Association of Local Councils Community Award for her Love Where You Live Campaign involving school children and residents caring for their environment.

Kerry is a trustee of the local Manifest Theatre where she has both performed and directed, helped set up the newly formed British Legion branch where she is president, and was part of the team which set up the Manningtree and District Food Bank.

• The youngest award winner is Liam O’Shea, 19, who raised money for cancer research after being inspired by a teacher who died of the disease.

The football-mad teenager, who has played for both Clacton Town and Stanway Rovers, organised a charity football match before which he wore a bright green mankini to raise extra funds. The event raised £400, which was doubled by the Clacton Coastal Academy.

Liam now gives up much of his time to coach and support school PE departments, and ultimately hopes to pursue a career in teaching.

• George Stevens has lived all bar two years of his life in Brightlingsea, during which time he has been involved in a number of groups. He was a member of the Red Cross for 34 years, the Royal British Legion for 54 years including his present role as standard bearer which he has held for 25 years and 18 years as chairman, and the town’s branch of the Royal Naval Association.

• Peter Cole has lived in Lawford for 27 years, serving as a Special Constable for the past seven years giving up his holiday and evenings to patrol the area.

• Bernie Sadler has volunteered throughout Dovercourt during his 40 years in the town, including with the Sea Scouts, at Alexandra House care home, and as a driver of the Harwich Connexions mini-bus service.

He is also an active member and past chairman of the Harwich Society.

• Walton in Bloom committee member Greg Lashmar has been involved with the group for 12 years, including the committee’s annual pantomime for five making costumes and designing scenery. He has been chairman for the past ten years.

Greg also volunteers on the Frinton and Walton Community Bus, helping organise and maintain the vehicle, as well as being a driver.

• Frating Parish Council chairman Mike Brown has been active in the village for the past 17 years, serving on the Memorial Hall committee, acting as official historian and being active in the church.

A former police chief superintendent he helps distribute the parish magazine, served on Tendring District Council’s Standards Committee for six years and was chairman of the Tendring Association of Local Councils from 2003 to 2008.

• Helping Hands runs a volunteer service for anyone in the district aged over-65 and with a disability. Its team of 54 drivers use their own vehicles to offer door-to-door transport at any time of day or night, taking people to medical appointments, shopping, social meetings, and events.

The drivers do more trips to hospitals and doctors’ appointments than any other type of journey. This is especially important for times when public transport is not available, such as a 6am appointment at Colchester General Hospital when the person lives on the coast.

The group’s citation reads: “To know this help is available is a weight off the minds of the clients and their families who may not be available to help because they are working, have children to get to school or simply live too far away.”

• The Bovingdon family, made up of Jan, Graham, Matthew, Paul, Karen and Clare, have formed the nucleus of the successful Great Bentley Scout Group for more than 20 years.

Jan is the group leader, Matt leads the scouts Karen is leader for cubs and explorers, Paul leads at beavers, scouts and explorers and Clare is leader for the cubs.

They have seen the group through good times and bad and ensured the scout hut was completely refurbished.

Their citation reads: “They are a dedicated family who are always enthusiastic to keep the scout movement going forwards from strength to strength and continue to play a major role in the community.”

• Brightlingsea in Bloom has helped to turn the town into a popular tourist destination, making it more attractive since the mid-1990s when many of its community gardens were in disrepair while protests over live animal exports threatened to prevent visitors to the town.

Formed by Val Gilders along with members of the Brightlingsea Horticultural Society, the group met with Essex County Council to look at ways of improving the entrance to Brightlingsea and a number of floral displays were agreed. Volunteers created a commemorative garden at the entrance to the town and waterside areas and an area at the community centre was planted with trees and flowers.

To date they have picked up 36 regional and national awards for their work.

• Friends of the West Cliff Theatre, in Clacton, was formed in 1987 and since then have raised more than £200,000 to revamp the venue with new lighting and sound equipment, carpets, seating and a roof amongst other improvements.

They hold regular events throughout the year, and work both inside the theatre at front of house, and outside maintaining the building and gardens and volunteering in the theatre’s charity shop.

• Special recognition: Simon Talbot

Simon, from St Osyth, has been awarded the special recognition award for his significant achievements in promoting British business worldwide – often using his great hobby, sailing.

In 2013 he was asked by the GREAT Britain Campaign, at a meeting at 10 Downing Street, to skipper the Great Britain yacht in that year’s Round the World Clipper Race beginning at St Katherine’s Dock, London. In six of the 16 legs Simon finished in first place and in five legs he finished in second place.

In each port he visited Simon hosted a function on board GREAT Britain for the British Ambassador and the local business community to promote British business.

Following the race return of the 12 yachts to St Katherine’s Dock in July this year, he and his family were invited for tea at 10 Downing Street where he was thanked for his contribution to the world-wide promotion of British business.

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