Heroes of Suffolk

UNSUNG heroes of mid Suffolk were honoured in this year's Annual Achievement Awards.The long list of community stalwarts received their awards in Needham Market after glowing tributes to their tireless devotion to their communities.

By James Fraser

UNSUNG heroes of mid Suffolk were honoured in this year's Annual Achievement Awards.

The long list of community stalwarts received their awards in Needham Market after glowing tributes to their tireless devotion to their communities.

THERE were tears of joy and pride.

In a ceremony designed to give recognition and thanks to the voluntary contributions of outstanding members of mid Suffolk's villages and towns Mid Suffolk District Council chairman Tony Fowler said he had been "amazed and heartened".

"Not only by the many different types of voluntary work that area carried out each day and each week in the Mid Suffolk district, but by the sheer number of people involved," he said. "Literally hundreds of people selflessly devote their valuable time and effort into making their communities safer, more accessible, more interesting and altogether better places to be. These all-to-often unsung heroes deserved both our recognition and more importantly, our thanks."

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The main criteria for the award is that all nominees must be residents of Mid Suffolk and that the community work that they are being nominated for is voluntary.

Award organiser and council community safety co-ordinator Christine Jackson said that in the second year of the award scheme "each of the twenty seven nominations didn't come from the district or parish councils but from other members of the community themselves."

The Roll of Honour:

Patrick Roberts has played a central role in bringing the community of Needham Market together to celebrate special events, from organising VE fetes to the Queen's Jubilee.

Victor Gormer as Occold Parish Transport Officer, has tirelessly campaigned to save and improve the village's transport services.

Eddie Crook has, for up to 8 hours a day, 7 days a week over some 12 years, been a volunteer helping the people with learning disabilities in the Stowmarket area. Described in his nomination as, "a truly amazing gentlemen".

Philis Shapland has helped raise thousands of pounds for different charities organising jumble sales and other events in Combs Ford.

Eric and Linda Munson have increased visitor numbers to Claydon church have increased from 68 a year to almost 100 a month with their tireless renovation work, undertaken entirely voluntarily.

David Kemp set up the Haughley Maltings Youth Club five years ago, it has provided local children with a place "where they are allowed to be themselves in a safe and supervised environment."

Rosemary Ingate is usually involved in Worlingworth's community. A part-time school teacher, Rosemary is also parish councillor, footpath co-ordinator and organiser, and local historian. Tracy Livingstone has improved the facilities and safety of Fressingfield's children's play area over the last four years. The community would like to thank her for her ability and drive in making the play area an attractive – and safe – place to be.

Joyce Orves has run luncheon clubs, organised art groups and many other social events to raise funds for the centre and to keep it in use. "Without Joyce, Redgrave's village activity centre would close," according to her nomination form.

Derek Lockwood has served on Great Blakenham's Village Hall Management Committee for over 35 years, 31 of which he was Committee Chairman, whose fundraising efforts made sure the village hall was paid for in under 10 years.

Alan Cooper, parish councillor, is responsible for organising the annual Armistice Day parade. "An honest, public spirited resident of Eye". He takes particular care of the town's elderly residents.

Andrew and Lesley Wilson have played a pivotal role in developing the 1st Debenham Cub pack into the largest in the area, organising camps and activities that entertain and educate for 15 years.

Dorothy Dye is known as 'Dot on the Green' for her commitment to the local community spanning 40 years – from joining the church choir at 7 years old to even publishing a book about her life in Mellis village. She has taken participated and organised the Historic Churches cycle ride well into her 70s.

Margaret Newstead has given service to the Mellis community and church for most of her life Sunday School teacher, secretary to the Parochial Church Council for 50 years, a Lay Elder for nearly 20 years, an active Church fundraiser, Brown Owl, writer and producer of three village pantomimes.

Martin Wake is instrumental in organising and establishing community projects such as the Stradbroke Alive and Thrive Group, the Local Villages Project and most recently, the Vital Villages Projects, tackling vital issues such as self-help for the long-term sick and disabled, housing and transport.

Andrew Thistlethwaite became the local tree warden in 1997 and has provided the Wetheringsett and Brockford community with a lasting and visible amenity helping to organised the planting of over two thousand native English trees.

Roger Harrison has been the Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator in Stowmarket for the past 8 years and was instrumental in getting the very successful Neighbourhood Watch newsletter off the ground. Until his recent retirement, Roger was also an active member of the Mid Suffolk Crime Prevention Panel.

Doug Mingay's "loyal devotion and conscientious contribution to the upkeep of the Hall has enabled the Norton community to benefit from a Village Hall it can be proud of." Doug has dedicated over 30 years of his life to managing and maintaining the hall.

Frederick George Armstrong has served on the parish council for over 50 years. Whilst ill health has forced his resignation late last year, the Tostock community would like to express its heartfelt thanks to his commitment.

Daphne Wells > has thrown her limitless energy and valuable time into helping and supporting members, organisations and individuals of all ages in the Debenham community since retiring from teaching. She is involved in all sorts of church events and duties and was responsible for the Debenham Parish Magazine for many years.

Cora Munford could be playing a huge number of other roles including "chauffeur, nurse, vet, organiser, historian, companion and good neighbour," - when not wielding a sponge and bucket cleaning the street signs of Drinkstone. A PPC member for over 50 years.

Lorraine Down's "unstinting devotion to Parish matters," "calmness, efficiency and diplomacy," and ability to "negotiate professionally at the highest level with County Highways, Police and District Council" have led to her nomination among the Gedding community.

Irene Beckwith is a founder member of Mid Suffolk Axis and for 16 years she has supported the group in many ways. She has also acted as booking secretary for the vehicle in Gislingham and also edits a newsletter for the group.

John Sargeant devotes a huge chunk of his week to helping disabled people in the Stowmarket community. As well as assisting Axis members, John is also Rethink Disability treasurer.

David Wildish who started at Axis as a bus driver eight years ago stayed to become a treasurer and is now a main support within the group. According to his nomination, is a "committed and dedicated person."