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Stars of the community rewarded for their efforts

PUBLISHED: 10:58 24 April 2015 | UPDATED: 11:05 24 April 2015

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Civic Recognition Awards 2015

The stars of the borough’s community services have been recognised by Bexley council at its Civic Recognition Awards 2015.

They were rewarded for their efforts at last night’s (Thursday) full council meeting and received their awards from the Mayor of the London Borough of Bexley, Councillor Howard Marriner.

Twelve people were thanked for their voluntary service to the community over many years. Those recognised were:

Carol Miller, who has dedicated the last 30 years of her life to running a Girl Guide unit in Bexley that has enriched the lives of hundreds of young girls over the years. She also provides support to the local church, St James’ Blendon, and over the years has helped out with the flower arrangements at the altar, organised the tombola for the Christmas fayre and in recent years the grand raffle.

Mavis Gale, who has been a member of the Alzheimer’s Society in Bexley for over 20 years, first as a service user attending the day support group with her mother and then taking over as volunteer cook at the group. This involves menu planning, shopping and preparing a 2 course meal every Thursday for 30 carers and people with dementia.

Gina Youngman, who has been Brown Owl to the 7th Northumberland Heath Brownie Unit for the past 20 years. She has also, over the years, held the positions of District Commissioner for Northumberland Heath and Assistant Divisional Commissioner for Erith and Crayford within Girlguiding.

Dan Fee, who despite the fact that his children left St Fidelis Catholic Primary School over 15 years ago, has continued to be the lynchpin at the centre of every school event including fetes, discos and school plays.

Ilkay Zihni Chirali, who has been a long term volunteer in the Turkish Community in Bexley. With the help of a few friends he started the Bexley Turkish Elderly Day and was secretary, treasurer and chairman. He started the Turkish Language Saturday School at Blackfen School for Girls, which is still running. He was a founder member of the Bexley Police Independent Advisory Group and is now the main contact for Turkish community related issues.

Brenda Ann Howe, who was a Brownie and then Guide from the age of seven, she moved on to become a guider then captain for many years and was also a District Commissioner. She has organised camps for Guides and is now a friend of Cudham Camp Site for which she organises fund raising events. At the age of 80, she is still involved with the guiding movement.

Wendy Leach, the chairman of Bexley and Dartford Branch Parkinson’s UK. In April, the branch will be celebrating its 30th Anniversary. The local committee is made up of people with Parkinson’s and people who have lost a partner or relative with Parkinson’s. The branch raises many thousands of pounds each year.

Jackie Hall, who has been a voluntary assistant in the Cubs for more than 30 years and secretary of the 2nd East Wickham Scout Group for 27 Years.

Beryl Baird, who has been volunteering with her local church for the past 60 years and until recently, ran weekly table sales raising in excess of £400,000 to support many local, national and international charities. She has also been involved with Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice for the last 27 years. S

Colin Seeley, who set up the Joan Seeley Pain Relief Memorial Trust Charity in 1979 and it has run continuously ever since. Every penny of the more than £130,000 raised, has been spent on pain relief equipment, banking, legal and audit services have always been conducted free of charge.

Malcolm Youngs, for more than 20 years Malcolm and his wife have run an amateur community orchestra that meets weekly in Sidcup. It is unlikely that the orchestra, The Marlowe Ensemble, would exist without the efforts of Malcolm Youngs.

Jennifer Dunlop, who has been a member of the Bexley Civic Society for more than 14 years. She has been the Crayford representative and also represented the Society on the Crayford Forum. She worked within the local authority for 20 years, was a school governor at two Schools including St Paulinus C of E Primary School for many years and she was on the Rochester Diocese Church Synod for many years, in addition to being heavily involved within the congregation at St Paulinus Church.

Four others were also recognised at the awards ceremony, receiving civic awards for their outstanding achievement in enhancing ‘the well being of a group or individual, or which has brought credit to the borough.’

Those recognised were:

Paul Weston, of New Generation Schools Trust. The trust opened the first free school in Bexley, Hope Community School, Sidcup. The work of the New Generation Schools Trust has grown from the work of New Generation Church and Lark in the Park. New Generation Church has been serving the community of Sidcup for more than 20 years and Lark in the Park is now 18 years old. Through community trust and respect, the school now has two full classes since opening in September 2013 and a new class year group will be added each year.

Erik Foster, of Rotary Club of Sidcup, who recognised the need for mentoring and contacted the Job Centre Plus Management Team and local schools. Commencing in August 2012 and headed by Erik, twelve members of the Rotary Club of Sidcup run informal weekly mentoring sessions of approximately two hours at the Job Centre Plus Bexleyheath and in secondary schools in the area.

Rachel Hubbard, of Deaf Umbrella based in Bexley. For nearly 15 years, she has worked hard to educate people about the struggles of Deaf people to find jobs, obtain good education and champion talented deaf people. She has invested profits from the company to support the training of interpreters and reinvests profits to provide a fully funded job club and apprenticeship service for deaf people. She founded Deaf Umbrella while on a career break to have children.

Cynthia Masiyiwa, who came to the UK in 2005. Through her experiences of being bullied in school and going through the immigration system at 18, she became passionate about speaking for the voiceless. She is currently working as a program manager for Active Horizons and running her own social enterprise called Divine. With Active Horizons, she is leading an “anti-bullying” campaign focused on tackling bullying within schools. With Citizens UK Cynthia is part of the youth leadership team and the Diaspora Caucus Team.

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