Thurrock set to honour its civic stars


THE 2016 Thurrock Civic Awards take place tomorrow (Friday) 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. Nominees include teenagers and octogenarians as well as several local companies and organisations.

Mayor of Thurrock, Cllr Sue Gray, who 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.”

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 Wilsdon 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 working with many groups to help them fundraise.

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 and 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Creative Excellence

  • Jordan Gray, also known as Tall Dark Friend, has been a brave and 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 many concerts.
  • Cieran 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 South Ockendon community.
  • Jan Thurnell has been active within Scouting in Thurrock for nearly 50 years and for the whole time she has been involved in the annual Gang Show, inspiring 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.

Sporting Legacy

  • 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 with the Jack Petchey foundation.
  • Grays Judo – Tessa Sanderson Foundation: Since the club started a year ago it has been able to introduce more than 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 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.

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 who have created and maintained many floral displays in the town.
  • Sandra Still has been a volunteer warden for Essex Wildlife Trust for over 20 years helping manage one of the largest reed beds in Essex at Stanford Warren.
  • Peggie King is a founder member of the Friends of Langdon Hills Country Park helping with a wide variety of activities.

Young Achiever Award

  • Rhys McArdle is a young man full of ambition, drive and determination and has achieved many great things already – with three companies he started aged 12.
  • Sam O’Neill is actively involved in the work of the Youth Cabinet, The Samaritans, and is 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.
  • Kate Surridge is an absolute inspiration to children and teenagers working with the Karis May Darling Foundation.
  • Ryan O’Keefe is a Sergeant Major with Grays Detachment, Essex Army Cadet Force, the highest achieving cadet to pass through the Grays Detachment.

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.
  • Cedar Hall Clinic: Sara and Jacki work tirelessly in their spare time for young athletes, establishing their Sports Sponsorship Programme four years ago.
  • The Martial Academy’s Daniel Hodgson works extremely hard giving his free time to help people be more fit and healthy.
  • Madstone Ltd 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.

Healthy Living Award – sponsored by Procter and Gamble

  • Kim Currie works with her team at Leatherland Lodge improving the life of those living with mental health issues.
  • Daniel Hodgson set up The Martial Academy – a charity in Tilbury for ordinary people who want to get fitter.
  • 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.
  • Trevor Rawson: Since the inception of Cariads three years ago, Trevor has been a magnificent supporter of the project, promoting health and fitness for carers.
  • Daniel Hodgson set up The Martial Academy – a charity in Tilbury for ordinary people who want to get fitter.

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.
  • Kevin North suffered a stroke at the age of 55. Despite 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.
  • Barrie Lawrence has, despite illness, dedicated his life to service to the people of his community and as a councillor and an active member of his church.


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