THE 2016 Thurrock Civic Awards are being held on Friday, 26 February at the High House Production Park, Purfleet.
This year’s awards ceremony has Keepmoat as the overall sponsor with 44 nominees short-listed in nine separate categories, each keeping their fingers crossed.
The nominees include teenagers and octogenarians as well as several local companies and organisations.
Mayor of Thurrock, Cllr Sue Gray, who once again has her own “Mayor’s Award” said: “These people give up their time without thought for themselves, it is important that those efforts are recognised.
“Tears of joy and surprise are a regular feature of the awards – which we hold every two years – and I am sure Friday’s celebration will be no different.”
Nominees who are shortlisted for awards have been contacted and invited to the ceremony, a black tie event at the Backstage Centre, High House Production Park, in Purfleet
Overall awards sponsor – Keepmoat
Mayor’s Award for Lifetime Achievement – sponsored by HW Wilson Ltd
Jennifer Benet makes such a difference to the lives of many children and women. Described as a “guardian angel” she always has time for every single one of her clients.
Susan Wilson has run the Thurrock Duke of Edinburgh Award Club for around 40 years and is also a Community First Responder and area co-ordinator for Corringham and Stanford.
Anne White has championed the rights and entitlements of disabled people in Thurrock for many years and accepts no praise for the hours and hours of volunteering she has done.
Brian Cheeseman has been a milkman in Thurrock for the last 42 years, going above and beyond to take care and look after many residents. He is a constant who is there every day – same time, same place.
Demus Lee is passionate about Thurrock and the people who live here, constantly campaigning and involved in so many groups. Local people have benefitted from over Â£2 million in grants and fundraising as a direct result of his dedication.
Stronger Together Award – sponsored by Stronger Together Partnership
Len Orpin is an inspiration. At the age of 73 he spends the majority of his time volunteering and supporting his community, and still volunteers for various groups, organisations and initiatives.
Thurrock Prince’s Trust Volunteers have covered all areas of the borough and undertaken a wide variety of projects with 48 teams in 15 years each making a difference to the area while making a difference in their own lives at the same time.
Roger Passfield is an active member of the community, supporting vulnerable people across Thurrock mainly through his chairmanship of Neighbourhood Watch and is always ready to help to further the aims and objectives of NHW.
Jenny Codling has been running the Tilbury branch of the Food Bank for a number of years bringing people together and making them feel included in their community. She also regularly volunteers and is irreplaceable.
Stanford Facebook Group has given the residents of the SS17 postcode area the tool to become a Stronger Community, providing a platform for many other local groups to increase their reach, embodying the true spirit of Stronger Together.
Jordan Gray, also known as Tall Dark Friend, has been so brave and an absolutely brilliant artist, achieving national recognition in a recently televised talent competition.
Hannah Woolmer created her own professional orchestra, Woolmer Philharmonic, in Thurrock and has put on concerts each with a different programme of music; culture delivered locally and combined with dining in a relaxed atmosphere.
Kieran Exley’s dance school has supported not only the Irish community by promoting the amazing art of Irish dance, but also made it accessible for the whole of the community in South Ockendon.
Jan Thurnell has been active within Scouting in Thurrock for nearly 50 years and for the whole time she has been involved in the Gang Show. In her 40 years as Director, she has inspired many hundreds of young people to display their talents on stage.
Nadine Herrett has been running Legends Theatre School for many years, supporting all the children and encouraging them to speak up and be confident. Each Christmas they sing at Lakeside and raise money for charity.
Mark Adams has worked with hundreds of children in the local area in the last 20 years, has been involved with raising money for cancer research and the club also works closely with the Jack Petchey foundation.
Grays Judo – Tessa Sanderson Foundation, since the club started a year ago it has been able to introduce over 25 young people to judo and keeping fit, increasing self-confidence as well as overall fitness.
Paul Hayes has been teaching swimming at Thurrock Swimming Club for the last 18 years enabling them to achieve not only a life skill but confidence and self-esteem in the water.
Trevor Rawson does so much that inspires; he recently established a regular 5km park run every Saturday morning and encourages and trains people to be active and to attempt their own personal goals.
Daniel Hodgson has encouraged members of the The Martial Academy to get fit and lose weight especially getting young children to take part in sport and several have won awards.
Environmental Champion – sponsored by Anglian Water
Friends of Hardie Park have redefined and created a live, tangible example of community ownership for the betterment of residents, attracting investment and support and making the park a place where parents and children want to be.
Elaine Lee, along with Grays Phoenix co-founder Linda Allchin, have worked to clean up the borough by adopting pieces of land that have fallen into disrepair, uniting a community to help themselves and each other to tidy up the borough.
Lin Swords is one of the founders of the Stanford Blooming Marvels group making the area look superb as, alongside her day job she shares her love of gardening with the community through many hanging baskets and planters.
Sandra Still has been a volunteer warden for Essex Wildlife Trust for over 20 years helping manage one of the largest (41 acres) reed beds in Essex at Stanford Warren and managing a team of volunteers.
Peggie King is a founder member of the Friends of Langdon Hills Country Park helping with a wide variety of ways from scenery building, acting and cooking to helping with school visits, play schemes, shows, and guided events.
Young Achiever Award
Rhys McArdle is a young man full of ambition, drive and determination and has achieved many great things already – Thurrock’s young entrepreneur who has three companies he started aged 12.
Sam O’Neill is actively involved in the work of the Youth Cabinet including reviewing health services in Thurrock, counselling training with The Samaritans, working with local transport and training with Essex Police to become a hate crime ambassador.
Jazz Smith has shown true leadership in coaching and encouraging younger students through her time on the Bronze Duke of Edinburgh award. Her dedication and commitment to all roles and activities has been outstanding.
Kate Sunridge is an absolute inspiration to children and teenagers working with the Karis May Darling Foundation. The time she has given in memory of her friend has been a marvel.
Ryan O’Keefe is a Sergeant Major with the Grays Detachment, Essex Army Cadet Force, the highest achieving cadet who has ever passed through the Grays Detachment, achieving his Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award and going for Gold.
Business in the Community – sponsored by the Thurrock Enquirer
Wharf Shipping Services has served the Stanford-le-Hope community in many ways, donating timber, wood and even Christmas trees to improve the visual aspect of SS17. Kevin Sorenson and his company make the area a great place to live, work and play.
Cedar Hall Clinic: Sara and Jacki work tirelessly in their spare time for young athletes, establishing their Sports Sponsorship Programme four years ago and currently sponsoring a dozen young Essex athletes.
The Martial Academy Daniel Hodgson works extremely hard giving his free time to help people be more fit and healthy. The Academy is not just a martial art school it is also a fitness and wellbeing centre offering exercise to all ages at any fitness level.
Madstone Ltd, a local company employing local people, has been involved with a number of projects across Thurrock, including donating and maintaining the Holocaust Memorial in High View Gardens, Grays.
HW Wilson Ltd is a home grown-business that has a vast field of community involvement, doing all they can to lift community spirit and the company is always ready and willing to get involved.
Healthy Living Award – sponsored by Procter and Gamble
Stanford & Corringham Community First Responders have been running for four years. Trained in basic life support by the East of England Ambulance Service, the volunteers attend life-threatening emergencies and are often first at the scene.
Charlotte Yoxall has fundraised tirelessly to provide the community with life-saving defibrillators, including many to local schools, clubs and the ambulance service. In 2014 she was made an ambassador for the Arrhythmia Alliance.
Trevor Rawson – since the inception of Cariads three years ago, Trevor has been a magnificent supporter of the project and his community work promoting health and fitness has had significant and positive impact for local carers.
Kim Currie works with her team at Leatherland Lodge improving the life of those living with mental health issues. She builds up relationships promoting dignity, independence and stimulation, reducing isolation, low mood and depression.
Daniel Hodgson set up The Martial Academy – a charity in Tilbury for ordinary people who want to get fitter and learn about eating healthily, helping hundreds get into healthy living by showing them that there is a way for everyone.
Rachel Middleton Award – sponsored by the Thurrock Gazette
Patricia Webb started the Carers’ Champion Scheme at the drug and alcohol service (formerly Oasis) as well as setting up an Art Group for her daughter and other service users. She is tireless in her community contributions.
Kevin North saw his life change in 2011 when he suffered a stroke at the age of 55. Despite having minimal mobility Kevin is actively involved in stroke awareness raising across Thurrock, including helping keep the Stroke Unit at Basildon Hospital
Richard Banyard brings happiness to so many despite the fact he has suffered for many years with a debilitating lung condition. Dick (with others) runs an over-50s club where, each Tuesday, members have a meal and entertainment.
Barrie Lawrence has dedicated his life to some sort of service to the people of his community, a councillor and an active member of his church, Barrie has retained many of his connections and remains positive despite debilitating illness and injury.