New award in honour of tireless Thamesmead street coordinator
PUBLISHED: 14:38 12 August 2016 | UPDATED: 13:50 16 August 2016
It will be presented to those who go above and beyond the call of duty
A new award has been created for street coordinators in memory of a Thamesmead resident’s tireless service to the community.
Violaine Therond, who recently passed away at the age of 63, worked as a Neighbourhood Watch street coordinator right up until the time of her death and helped to bring the community together.
The annual award will be presented to a coordinator who, like Ms Therond, goes above and beyond what is expected of them in their role as a street coordinator.
Dana Wiffen, chairperson of the Bexley Borough Neighbourhood Watch Association, said: “We were thinking of doing an award for the past two or three years but never got around to it.
“As we have gone on to get more than 1,000 street coordinators, we are now able to do one.
“As we sadly lost her last year, we thought, what better way to celebrate her achievements in her life.
“The trustees were eager to promote her name as well, and lent support.
“She worked when she was seriously ill and she tried to attend meetings right to the end.
“Quite a few street coordinators keep an eve on the elderly and organise street parties, like the recent one for the queen’s anniversary.
“Violaine cared about her community and was prepared to work with any neighbour no matter what nationality or creed, even when she was ignored by some residents she continued, sometimes in the face of adversity, to work to improve her neighbourhood.
“She was French, but she had lived in the UK for a long time. Her funeral had a massive turnout, with a lot of people from different backgrounds. It was quite a sad day.”
The first Violaine Therond Award was presented to two local residents, Hugh Neal of Erith and Hazel Ozturk of Thamesmead.
Mr Neal, who became a co-ordinator in November 2009 for Manor Road, Erith, regularly blogs about the Erith area and is keen to stand up to fly tippers and nuisance bikers.
Ms Ozturk has organised street parties to encourage community cohesion, and acted as a bridge between the residents and agencies such as the Council and Housing Associations.