Tendring’s own New Year’s honours list has been announced to recognise a host of community heroes from across the District.
The 17 recipients of this year’s Pride of Tendring Awards – which was held for the first time six years ago - have been revealed today (January 4, 2018).
The announcement will be followed by a special ceremony at Clacton’s Princes Theatre on Friday February 23.
At the ceremony all the recipients will be officially recognised and presented with their accolades.
The initiative is aimed at highlighting those deserving stalwarts from all walks of life who have made a real difference to others in the community.
The awards are run by Tendring District Council (TDC) and have the support of the Clacton, Frinton and Walton Gazette, the Harwich and Manningtree Standard and East of England Co-operative Funeral Service in Clacton. Dong Energy are sponsoring the running of the event.
Tendring District Councillors were given the opportunity to put forward their own nominations and as always they represent a wide variety of groups and organisations throughout the area.
They include men and women of all ages who do so much good work in and for their communities and are richly deserving of these accolades.
TDC Chairman Mark Platt thanked all those who have supported the special event again this year.
“There are so many deserving people in our community and the nominations for the Pride of Tendring Awards continue to flood in from right across the District,” he said.
“The overall standard is once again as high as ever and this is our opportunity to honour some of those who do so much for others.
“Many have been giving of the time and efforts over many years benefiting the most vulnerable people in community.
“The award winners are truly amazing people who do not look for any reward for their actions.”
Cllr Platt added that the announcement of the awards is a very positive way to start the New Year and looks forward to meeting all those who are to be honoured at the Princes Theatre in February.
JEAN WHITE AND DAPHNE WEST
Jean White and Daphne West are sometimes referred to as the 'Litter Ladies' of Frinton. Every Wednesday morning come summer or winter, they can be seen picking up litter and tidying up, armed with black bags, old shoes and gardening gloves.
They started cleaning their own road ten years ago, but soon extended their range to cover the area by Frinton Station, and outside 'The Gates' to the bus stops and shelters along the Frinton Road and Elm Tree Avenue. Returning through the gates, they visit Pole Barn Lane, Greenway and Upper 3rd and Upper 5th Avenues.
The most remarkable thing about the pairs is their combined age of 164. Daphne is 80 and Jean is 84!
The pair are thoroughly deserving of wider recognition for their faithful public service, and also for their great example that age need not be a barrier to serving your community. The 'Litter Ladies' of Frinton are not planning to stop any time soon!
Antony Sanders is the life blood and pulse of Tendring Brass Band. Born in Kingsbury, London, Antony began his love for music with the trombone at the age of 15 going on to perform in every musical section of the National Brass Band Championship.
In 1996, Antony was appointed as Assistant Musical Director of the Clacton Co-operative Band before taking up his position as Musical Director with the Harwich Royal British legion Brass Band, now called Tendring Brass Band.
Antony has a passion, dedication and professionalism for sharing his musical abilities. Three evenings every week, he volunteers his time and skills to developing budding musicians from across the District with a view to them becoming part of the Tendring Brass Band that goes on to perform both across the United Kingdom and abroad.
This musical family is now some 40 strong with ages ranging from eight to 80 and they perform for many Parish Councils with horns, trumpets and bugles playing the Last Post on Remembrance Sundays, and a variety of concerts and performances.
HARWICH SECRET GARDENS
The Harwich Secret Gardens event is a unique festival that raises much needed funds for local good causes, brings a large number of visitors into Historic Harwich aiding the town’s tourist economy and perfectly expresses the remarkable community spirit in Harwich.
The town’s medieval grid pattern of narrow streets and inter-connecting lanes means that many houses and gardens are hidden away and are accessed in unusual ways. On a chosen weekend each year the participating householders open up their gardens to the general public, in many cases allowing visitors to pass through their homes in order to access the secret garden behind the property. Visitors purchase a passport programme that acts as an entry ticket and includes a map to help locate the hidden gems within Historic Harwich.
This annual thrives on and adds to the unique character and atmosphere of Harwich. Over the last six years, an average of 30 households have taken part in the Harwich Secret Gardens event raising over £13,000 for local good causes, funding additional tree planting in public areas and bringing thousands of visitors into the town.
MAD ABOUT THEATRE COMPANY
This Clacton-based theatre company has developed its members’ acting skills as well as carrying out sterling charitable works. They give freely with little or no gain for themselves and so many people have benefited from their devotion.
It is their amazing work with the young people in the community that has specifically won them a Pride of Tendring award.
Mad About Theatre actively reach out to youngsters with low self esteem who lack the confidence to face the challenges of modern times. They have gone above and beyond, breaking down barriers of communication and developing personal and social skills allowing those in their care to realise and grasp the aspirations of youth.
The company do so much more for they have developed a unique nurturing ability which shines through on stage and certainly convinces others that these young people have developed a courageous determination to enjoy their new found boldness and self reliance.
Jim originally moved to the village when he married a St Osyth girl. Since then he has made a considerable contribution to the village community life. Along with his band of helpers he has helped reform the St Osyth branch of the Royal British Legion after it nearly folded. He is the principle organiser for the Poppy Day flag collection.
Jim writes and acts as quizmaster for numerous quizzes held not only in the village hall but more recently all over the District. These quizzes raise much needed funds that help to keep various voluntary village organisations functioning. Whenever the WI needs male assistance whether it is to act as scorer for their darts team or to act as clown in their annual pantomime, Jim always volunteers.
At Christmas time, he gets together a group of carol singers to raise money for the CLIC Sargent fund. In the past he has run village carnivals, sports teams in the District sports and helped with the Scouts or Youth Club.
As he puts it, if he has any spare time he enjoys playing golf and is secretary of a group of golfers who raise money for charitable purposes at Clacton Golf Club
Juliet lives in Thorpe, works in the care sector and five years ago decided she would set up a club for adults with learning disabilities (LD). She gave it the name Rock It Club, and that’s exactly what they have been doing every Monday for five years.
Rock It Club is predominantly about having fun, bringing people out of their nine to five routines and integrating with society. Users have mixed levels of disabilities and are brought by their care homes, independent living units or make their own way to the event at The Crown each week. It has increased the independence of many of the users.
Juliet also managed to secure Dial-a-Ride transport for many attendees which in turn saved people large taxi fees and enabled new users to attend. Initially four attended, that turned to eight and within a few weeks word had caught on that Rock It Club was the place to be and now on average 40 people attend each week.
There are regular themed nights such as valentines, Halloween and an end of year Christmas Party. Juliet is helped by her husband Paul who without fail has a smile on his face each Monday when they get home.
Walton Carnival has struggled to exist for the past five or six years. Enter Karlie McGregor who agreed to form a new committee and be the Chairman.
This year the committee decided to run the Carnival over a two day weekend. The theme was Walton's Heritage and the Carnival was supported and represented by a wide range of community groups and individuals. In addition to the normal Carnival procession a family fun day was held on the Bathhouse Meadow and this included a wide range of stalls, an exhibition of military tanks and local groups of young people carrying out a range of performances. Walton's Heritage was also exhibited via presentations, slide shows, videos and memorabilia in the Columbine Centre.
On the second day, a Kennel Club registered dog show was held on the Bathhouse Meadow together with stalls. The event culminated with live music, dancing and food and drink. An absolutely fantastic two day event was enjoyed an appreciated by hundreds of local residents and visitors.
A total of £8,000 was raised and around £2,000 will now be donated to local groups and charities. Karlie and her committee put huge amounts of time, energy, enthusiasm and passion into ensuring the success of this year's Carnival.
LESLEY ANNE STRONGE
Lesley has done many lovely and kind things for so many people. She always looks out for everyone.
Lesley has been a volunteer at Colchester Hospital on the stroke ward, helping with whatever needs to be done or simply to talk to the patients and keep them company.
She has taken part in the London Moonwalk for the last nine years - walking over 26 miles through the night to raise money for Breast Cancer charities. Lesley has raised over £10,000 doing this.
In September 2017 Lesley decided to raise money for another charity - Little Haven Children's Hospice by having her head shaved, this raised over £2,000. Lesley always puts others first and would do anything she could to help others.
THE MAYBUSH INN VOLUNTEERS
Mark Godfrey has galvanized the local community by inspiring over 138 individuals and organisations from Great Oakley and beyond to create a volunteer based community hub to resurrect the last pub in the village that closed and went into receivership.
The Maybush Inn was re-opened on the 12th February 2016, and it has been open every day since - run entirely by a dedicated team of volunteers. The Community Hub is now over one year old and has provided much more than just a friendly welcoming village pub.
In addition to creating a great social place to meet new and old friends, The Maybush hosts themed lunch and dinner events; beer festivals; weekly bingo; quiz or puzzle nights; regular coffee mornings; afternoon games sessions for the retired; a library; three dart teams and two pool teams.
The Maybush is again the home to Great Oakley FC and continues to encourage and support sporting activities and is an official stop off point for the Tour de Tendring Cycle Race.
BRIGHTLINGSEA LITTER PICKERS
Brightlingsea Litter Pickers were formed in 2011. There are now 30 volunteers in the group and on average 18 turn up for each meeting. The group meet once a month and as well as covering the streets, they also cover specific areas such as the War Memorial gardens; the wooded area by The Colne School; the cycle path near All Saints Church and areas of new development such as the Robinsons Road site.
Many members do extra picks near their home area. They also liaise with organisers of other events such as the carnival; music festival and car show and carry out litter picks before and after the event.
They liaise with the Town Council - which fits in perfectly with the activities of other volunteer groups in the town. There is a social side to the group’s activities as after the monthly picks they meet up at a local cafe and have a couple of evenings out during the year. All of this adds to the wonderful community spirit in Brightlingsea.
MONICA LINDSEY GRAVES
Monica has always been involved with the community of Harwich. In her early days she used to help run the Harwich Post Office with her family so always had her finger on the button with what was needed in her community.
For many years, Monica has been involved with helping out the youth of the town and was a volunteer at the Hub Youth Club at the Mayflower School on many Friday nights in the past. She is now a big fundraiser for organisations such as the local hospital, RNLI, Food Bank and Harwich Mayoress’ Appeal to name just a few.
Monica has also supported most of the local schools in the town and is still doing it today. She has also raised considerable funding for a number of individual causes.
With her dedication and fundraising efforts, those who know Monica know precisely where to find her at any time of the week as she is always out and about in the town helping to raise much-needed money for those not so fortunate. She is an unsung hero who just gets on with what she knows best.
Beryl is 86 years old and has lived in the village of Great Bromley all her life. She has been a very active member within the community. She is a member of Great Bromley WI and has been for 70 years, during which time she has been secretary and served on the committee for over 35 years.
She has been a member of Great Bromley Friendship Club for more than 20 years and during this time has been chair of the club for 15 years.
She was also a Village Hall Trustee for 30 years -involved in raising money for the Millennium Room extension to the hall and was a member of the local pantomime group for 20 years.
When Great Bromley had a carnival Beryl was on the committee, was a church council member and treasurer of Burnt Heath Methodist Church until it closed. Beryl is now a church council member of Elmstead Methodist Church and involved in the now defunct Burnt Heath Silver Band and has been for a number of years.
Ellen has worked tirelessly for the Elmstead Community for more than 47 years and is always willing to help with anything that needs her support. She makes time to talk to anyone who needs a kind word, even if it is just a chat over a cup of tea.
Ellen was Elmstead WI secretary for 17 years only retiring recently. Her commitment to the job was phenomenal. She was always supportive of the committee and members, as well as the other WIs in the Estuary Group.
She has been the mainstay of the Elmstead Community Centre for many years. She has raised essential funds, cleaned up, painted and done whatever needs doing. She is also secretary to the Community Centre committee.
She was part of the team which set up the successful yearly Fireworks Night in Elmstead, which has raised quite considerable funds divided between Marketfields School, the Community Centre and Elmstead Primary School.
Ellen is secretary to the hardworking Elmstead in Bloom and additionally looks after the Memorial Wall and the flower tubs at the church. She is a member of the Elmstead knitting group, which has different projects each year.
Patrisha spends around 50 hours a week helping those in need. One parent families seek her help when they are in trouble; she shops regularly for the elderly and also those with mental health issues. She ferries people without transport to and fro, be it to the Hospital, a doctor or shopping.
Despite being unwell herself and with her husband being poorly, she still finds time to sit with those who have a terminal illness.
When the gas explosion took place in Cloes Lane, Clacton, she organised everyone at the Community /Centre.
Patrisha has an immense knowledge of the residents on the Percy King Estate and the problems they have to deal with. She is an unsung hero who gives of herself freely to those who seek her help and is a true pillar of the community.
Steve was a serving firefighter in London for 35 years until his retirement. Four years ago, he joined the Brightlingsea First Responders and has since become the co-ordinator for Brightlingsea.
Many times he has had to cover shifts through shortages of persons, sometimes doing all seven days in a week without a break. Steve has spent many hours fundraising, attending fetes, car boots, local shows and events.
He has helped with the group to raise enough money to have defibrillators fitted in several parts of the town and then takes it upon himself to fit them and train anyone who is interested.
Steve has spent many hours talking to children and local groups advising them in basic first aid and how to cope with an emergency. He helped to organise the Responders’ 20 year anniversary.
When attending to an emergency, Steve’s professional and reassuring manner helps to put his patient and members of the family at ease. Steve is a very calm and collected person and nothing is too much trouble, particularly if it means helping someone else.
Tim Sutton has been on Clacton lifeboat crew for 23 years; he has been the station mechanic for eight years and helmsman for 15 years and carried out over 300 service calls.
He began visiting hospitals eight years ago after his daughter Amy had cancer and was treated at Addenbrook’s Hospital. She is 11 now and well, so his way of saying thanks was to start an Easter egg run. In the first year 150 eggs were donated which he delivered to Colchester children’s ward and Addenbrook’s cancer ward.
At Christmas he collected toys and selection boxes. The first year he delivered 250 and each year the donations have got bigger and bigger. This year he delivered 1,500 presents at Christmas and 2,000 Easter eggs. Tim now has to borrow a minibus to do the hospital run. This year he did Colchester, Addenbrook’s Hospital, Harwich Minor injuries, three children hospices (Colchester Ipswich Cambridge) and two respite homes in Clacton.
At Easter time Tim dresses up as Stormy Stan the lifeboat man and at Christmas is Santa. For the past five years he has worked with the East of England Ambulance Service as one of the Community First Responders.
Winterfest was launched in 2015; it was started by Brightlingsea resident Alix Sheppard, who lost her partner Joe Keighley when the well-known musician from the band the Vipers ended his life after a long battle with depression.
Alix organised a first event in Joe’s memory and it was also aimed at raising awareness of mental health issues as well as raising funds for the mental health charity, Mid and North Essex Mind. The festival has grown from 1,500 attending to 2,000 last year and more expected again this year. Alix, 40, is a public health specialist but she volunteers to organise the event, backed by a committee of other volunteers.
In addition to raising funds for Mind, Winterfest aims to give people an opportunity to get out, meet new people and try new things in the middle of winter. There is plenty of evidence to suggest how getting involved in community events and participating in arts and music can contribute to better mental health. Winterfest shows what can happen when a community comes together.