Community centre chairman receives outstanding contribution award

Councillor Paul Hopfensperger presents Barbara Bannister with her award Picture: SUPPLIED BY PAUL HO

Councillor Paul Hopfensperger presents Barbara Bannister with her award Picture: SUPPLIED BY PAUL HOPFENSPERGER - Credit: Archant

The chairman of a much-used community centre in Bury St Edmunds has been presented with a special award for her “unwavering commitment”.

Barbara Bannister, 78, assumed the running of the Newbury Community Centre on the Howard estate following the death of previous chairman Ivy Goodman last year.

Mrs Bannister, who has been involved with the centre since 2011, has been presented with a St Edmundsbury Borough Councillor Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Community.

Paul Hopfensperger, borough councillor for St Olaves Ward, presented Mrs Bannister with a scroll of honour for her efforts in the community.

Councillors are able reward up to two people within their wards during their four-year term of office.

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Mrs Bannister, who has lived on the Howard estate since 1964, spends much of her time at the centre, taking bookings and dealing with finances.

She also organised a fete and disco this year to celebrate 50 years since the centre was first built in September 1968.

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The events raised more than £1,000 for the centre.

Work on a new community centre on the Howard estate is expected to start next year and Mrs Bannister has also been involved with the project board from the beginning.

She said: “I was very surprised to receive the award.

“I do enjoy the job, it can be hard work and tiring, but I do enjoy it.

“I started helping out Ivy Goodman in 2011, but after she became very ill and died in October, I took on the role having been vice-chairman.

“I feel very proud.”

In his presentation speech, Mr Hopfensperger said: “When Ivy passed away, Barbara took over as chair, and I think it’s fair to say it was, and I think still is, a tough task, but she has guided the centre through thick and thin to get us to exciting position we find ourselves in today.

“Her commitment to the existing community centre and helping deliver a new centre is unwavering, and so therefore, I would like to give her a small token of my appreciation to show how grateful the community is for her loyal service.”

Speaking of the new community centre, Mr Hopfensperger added: “I am delighted that we are fully on target to start work on the new state-of-the-art centre in 2019 as promised, and to the specifications given to us by the residents of St Olaves Ward.”

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