Sunday, April 21, 2024
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Thatcham celebrates its heroes with a record awards year

Thatcham’s Mayor has been presenting the Thatcham 2021 Civic Awards to deserving local citizens.

In February 2021, Thatcham Town Council invited nominations from the public, looking for amazing people and groups who do great things within their community, so that they could be formally recognised with a Civic Award 2021.

Each year a maximum of three Gold Awards are presented and these can be for those individuals or groups who have either achieved a significant milestone that year, or who have done something special for the community in the past 12 months. A new category was added this year relating specifically to those individuals and groups who stepped up and helped during the pandemic.

The adjudication panel, led by the Mayor Mike Cole, met in March to consider the nominations and they awarded as follows:

Civic Award- Gold badge and certificate

Mrs Denise Newport – Denise retired this year after 37 years as Leader of 5th Thatcham Brownies and 46 years as a Girlguiding Leader. She has had the joy of leading 500 young girls throughout her Guiding career and has left 5th Thatcham Brownies in a healthy situation- awaiting a new leader with fresh ideas to keep the unit going.

Mr Andrew Washbrook – Andy has been the volunteer parade marshal at Thatcham’s Annual Remembrance parade since 2002, prior to that he assisted his brother Tony in the role. With up to 1,000 participants in the parade and over 3,000 spectators, expert organisation and precision timekeeping is paramount in the success of the event and the safety of all those involved. Andy is keenly aware however, that a huge proportion of the parade are children and young people who may be marching for the first time and so he will gladly adapt his manner to help relax the children.

Thatcham Youth – Celebrate 10 years of youth provision in the town and have recently secured National Lottery funding, ensuring their future is secure for at least another 5 years.

Mayors Award- Blue badge and certificate

Mr David Weller – In recognition of the many active roles he holds, or has held, in Thatcham’s community, including school governorships, charity treasurers and an Elder at the United Reformed Church.

Mr & Mrs Stephen & Linda Duke – Committed volunteers with ABC to Read, dedicated to improving children’s literacy and increasing self-confidence. ABC to Read are based at Thatcham Park Primary School and during the pandemic, adapted their sessions so that they could still reach young people who needed support.

Mr Dan Carter – celebrates a decade with Thatcham Youth and who goes the extra mile with the organisation.

Certificates of Commendation

Mrs Kathleen Little – became a Neighbourhood Watch coordinator in Thatcham in 2016, as well as undertaking Forces charity work in the local area.

Friends of Thatcham Library – Their crucial support to Thatcham Library, helping keep the critical service open.

Mr Phil Dewsbury – for his hard work and due diligence when he was Treasurer of Thatcham Memorial Foundation- he undoubtedly secured the charity’s future and its assets for the whole community to enjoy for many years to come.

Mrs Rachel Peters – She has worked hard to establish a new enterprise called Berkshire Partners bringing together charities, volunteers and service providers.

Covid Heroes Awards– new for 2021 and receiving a certificate and badge in the iconic rainbow style- synonymous with the past year:

Cook & Butcher – During the first lockdown, owner Pete Congerton and his family really went the extra mile to secure groceries for Thatcham’s shielding community. With local stores depleted Pete travelled to Covent Garden in the early hours of the morning, almost daily to purchase essential food items. His brother then delivered to shielding customers (despite having a broken toe!).

Mrs Tanya Patey – Tanya teaches art at Kennet School and also runs art groups for adults. During lockdown she foresaw the power that art can have on people’s mental wellbeing and quickly established free of charge online classes and a WhatsApp group so that those who were shielding and potentially isolated could join in with the art challenges that Tanya set and feel connected to a community again.

Skin Wizard Tattoo – Paul and his team are real advocates for mental health awareness. They raised over £1,000 for 8 Bells for Mental Health before lockdown.

Newbury & District Hackspace – They laser cut over 1,000 face shields and delivered them to key workers, even during the Easter weekend. Eventually they set up a funding page and all surplus money was donated to NHS Charities Together.

There are four more winners who, at time of print, had yet to receive their award.

Usually, the awards would have been presented at the Mayor’s Civic Reception but with the current restrictions in place that was not possible this year. Instead the Mayor either visited the winner at their venue or made the presentation in the Town Council Garden.

Councillor Mike Cole, Mayor of Thatcham, commented:

I was delighted that we were able to proceed with the Civic Awards this year, having had to postpone it last year at the start of the crisis. The sheer number of nominations that we received reflects the amount of great people we are lucky to have, doing great things in Thatcham’s community. Having the additional Covid Hero category this year meant we could recognise those who had really stepped up during the pandemic- some we had heard about as a Council and others we would not have known about and so it was great to have them recognised too.