West Berkshire Council

Community Champion Award winners announced

The winners of this year's Community Champion Awards have been announced.

Community Champion Award Winners 2018

The awards were presented during a meeting of the Full Council on Thursday 6 December.

The awards recognise the valuable contribution local residents make to West Berkshire. Launched in September 2014, the awards have grown and there are now four awards: Pat Eastop Junior Citizen Award; Volunteer of the Year; Community Group of the Year; and the Lifetime Achievement Award.

 Chairman Carol Jackson-Doerge said:

"Community Champion has always been a favourite duty for the elected Chairman. This year, I have the honour of presenting the awards. We have had a fantastic response for each category and the standard of the nominations has been truly impressive. I am delighted that we are able to recognise so many worthy people.

"I would like to thank our judging panel of independent representatives and all this year's nominators. It is very encouraging to hear about the contributions that volunteers make in our community. They are playing an increasing role in the provision of public services and it is important that their contributions are acknowledged."

Pat Eastop Junior Citizen Award

The winner of the Pat Eastop Junior Citizen Award is Kieren Nailer.

Kieren was nominated by Helen Randall, Manager of PALS. PALS is the Partners for Active Leisure Service (West Berkshire), a local charity that supports children and young people from aged five to 25 who have physical disabilities. Sixteen year old Kieren has been helping at PALS for over a year, completing over 100 hours of service in that time. Kieren supports the youth group on a fortnightly basis and also attends every weekend and for the holiday activities that are offered to all our 'PALS'. Kieren befriends the 'PALS' and ensures that they can take part in the activities on offer. Kieren has also run a 10k to raise funds for PALS.

Community Champion 2018 - Pat Eastop Junior Citizen Award winners
Winner of the Pat Eastop Junior Citizen Award, Kieren Nailer

The judges felt that the standard of nominations was so high that they wished to present a Highly Commended award to nine year old Emily Curtis. Emily was nominated by her mother, Maria Curtis, and a family friend, Emily Allen, for the award for her hard work looking after her local environment. Emily, or the 'litter ninja' as she has been dubbed by the local press, takes great pride in her local area and looking after the environment. Emily has been collecting rubbish in her free time for a number of months and successfully lobbied her local councillor to have a new litter bin installed.

Volunteer of the Year Award

The winner of the Volunteer of the Year Award is Janet Wood. The award was collected on Janet's behalf by Barbara Bradford (pictured).

Nominated by Margaret Goswell, Janet has been heavily involved with three local community groups, the Brownies, St Mary's Church Shaw and the Shaw-Cum-Donnington Village Hall. At the age of 18, Janet decided she would like to be a brownie leader (Brown Owl) and took over the first Shaw Cum Donnington Brownie pack. That was 38 years ago and Janet is still Brown Owl today. Janet's service to St Mary's Church in Shaw has also been recognised by Rector Marion Wood and is extremely valued. Finally, Janet has been a member of the Shaw-cum-Donnington village hall committee since about 1980 and inspires others with her enthusiasm and boundless energy.  

Community Champion Awards 2018 - Volunteer of the Year
Winner of the Volunteer Award, Janet Wood. The award was collected on her behalf.

Again the judges were extremely impressed with the standard of nominations and also gave Sue Bennett a Highly Commended award. 

Nominated by Dave Sollis, Sue has contributed in many ways to West Berkshire including being a running coach for the West Berks Run Together Groups, an England Athletics Mental Health Ambassador, a Park Run Race Director and a volunteer and fund raiser for the MS UK charity. Sue has a very demanding job at the front line of West Berkshire's local NHS community service and has been describe as a 'truly inspirational, kind, caring and phenomenally dedicated individual.'

Community Group of the Year

Joint winners of Community Group of the Year are the Burghfield Santas and Pangbourne Dementia Friends.

The Burghfield Santas received three nominations from Ben Twomey, Emma Shumsky and Kylie Duncan. The group organise numerous fund raising events including a pub crawl, fun runs, Burghfest and the Burghfield Box-Kart bash. These activities have raised huge amounts of money for worthy causes (including £150k for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance) and instil a fantastic sense of community.

Community Champion Awards 2018 - Community Group of the Year Joint Winners
Community Group of the Year joint winners, Burghfield Santas and Pangbourne Dementia Friends

Pangbourne Dementia Friends were nominated by Sue Butterworth. The group actively facilitate social interaction for those with or without dementia which reduces the loneliness and isolation often felt by many older people living in our communities. The group started with only six members and in the last two years has grown to more than 18 members.

The judging panel were so impressed with the nominations for this category that they chose to give two Highly Commended awards. These were to Kennet District Scout Council and the Newbury Street Pastors.

Nominated by David Elliott, District Commissioner, the Kennet District Scout Council support over 1500 young people in the community including many children with special educational needs and disabilities. The panel felt the group were a good cause, celebrating diversity and encouraging the pursuit of healthy activities.

The Newbury Street Pastors were nominated by Andy Bone of Thames Valley Police. The Street Pastors provide a range of assistance to those on a night out in Newbury, from giving out flip flops, getting people home safely and giving first aid and water to those under the influence and helping diffuse conflicts. 

The Lifetime Achievement Award

The winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award is Graham Reeves.

Nominated by Cynthia Herbert, Graham is the Treasurer and Co-ordinator of the Carebus Volunteer Group. Graham has provided 30 years of devoted service to providing transport for the elderly and disabled. Graham will be 80 next year and still works every day of the week, arranging pick-ups for hospital appointments. He has also arranged the purchase of two care buses and two cars and recruited volunteer drivers. Graham still drives one of the cars himself taking people to hospital in Reading and Newbury. 

Community Champion Awards 2018 - Winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award
Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Graham Reeves

The panel were extremely impressed by the nomination and applauded the fact that Graham has dedicated the last thirty years to the running of the Carebus. 

Again, the panel were so impressed with the nominations for this category, they chose to give three Highly Commended awards.

Helen Relf was nominated by Patricia Wynne Frankum, Chair of Bucklebury Parish Council. Patricia said, 'Helen has contributed hugely to the enjoyment and knowledge of many of the 2000 people living in the parish and beyond for many years'. Helen helps the library service deliver books to those at home, and organises the Bucklebury walking group and a very popular theatre group. Helen has also fund raised for local cancer charities and overcame her own personal difficulties to offer support to fellow cancer sufferers.

The second Highly Commended went to Mike Hart. Nominated by Richard Jones, Mike has run keep fit classes in the Newbury area for almost 50 years for no financial gain. The nomination was made on behalf of the substantial number of people whose health and wellbeing has benefitted from his classes over the years. Mike has raised large amounts of money for local cancer charities for which he has fund raised tirelessly.

Finally, the third Highly Commended went to Graham Plank. Nominated by John Brims, a large number of local organisations have beneffited from Graham's commitment and enthusiasm. Graham has been involved in many West Berkshire activities for many years. Starting with the Bradfield Young Farmers in the 1960s, Graham has also been involved with Bucklebury Football Club and the Scouts. Graham's fund raising activities have also been numerous and include the Chapel Row Fayre which has raised more than £175,000 over the 20 years it has been run.

Award winners' details will also be recorded in an exclusive book called the "Roll of Civic Award" which will be available to view at the council offices in Market Street, Newbury.

Overall, the number and standard of nominations for 2018 were outstanding. For more information on this year's winners visit the Community Champion Award Scheme page of our website.