Ashford humbled as role models across the borough receive their awards

Contributed by editor on Jul 13, 2018 - 01:15 PM


In every corner of Ashford Borough there are people who are quietly remarkable. There are people who possess great strength of character, who make a substantial contribution to their community; people who enrich the lives of others and improve where they live.

There are also people who have made a huge personal sacrifice in order to achieve something fantastic. These people are largely unrecognised – until now.

On Thursday 5 July, Ashford Borough Council held its second Civic Awards ceremony, in which 12 of the borough’s local ‘heroes’ and ‘heroines’ were rewarded for making their community a better place to live.

Launched in 2012 to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the Civic Awards were conceived as a fitting tribute to Her Majesty the Queen through the celebration of dedication to public service. It was Ashford’s opportunity to honour local people who had helped others in a voluntary capacity, in their own way, at a local level.

This year, the awards - which were held at the beautiful Chart Hills Golf Club in Biddenden - were the perfect opportunity for the council once again to thank and honour those individuals who have been tirelessly and selflessly contributing to the greater good of their local communities over the last few years.

Winners with their trophy

Nominees had to show caring and devotion for others and be a shining example of community spirit; people who give selflessly of their time and their talents to support and help individuals within communities – essentially, the dedication of those people nominated had to shine through as an example to others, with their personal efforts an inspiration to those around them.

In narrowing down all of the entries to determine the 12 winners, the council were both humbled and overwhelmed to learn of the extent to which true community spirit is alive and well in Ashford Borough.

The winners on the night were:

Richard Carley from Woodchurch
Andrew Carney from Kennington
Joyce Crannis from Bethersden
Caroline Hannah from Ashford
Kelsey Lapthorn from Kennington
Shirley Looker from Woodchurch
Darryl Spicer from Charing
Aniko Szocs from Great Chart with Singleton
Judy Vinson from Rolvenden
Joanna Watts from Singleton
Nigel Wills from Charing
Dr Hilary Moorby (posthumous) (Kingsnorth)

Representatives from Ashford Borough Council were present on the night, along with the Mayor of Ashford, Cllr Jessamy Blanford, who had the honour of presenting the specially designed granite and glass awards to each winner.

Each award - designed by Annie Ross, a glass sculptor from Maidstone - was created in the shape of a flame to tie in with the new Civic Beacon, which the council will be installing in the North Park in November this year to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the end of the First World War. Not only does the flame reflect the fire of the Civic Beacon, but it also represents the warmth and sustenance that the award winners give to the community.

Cllr Gerry Clarkson, Leader of Ashford Borough Council and Chairman of the Ashford Civic Honours and Awards board, said: “The Civic Awards have reminded everyone of the sense of community spirit that exists in the county. We are fortunate that Ashford is blessed with spirited people who act with tremendous dignity and who are effectively the heartbeat of their communities.

“We want to honour community champions, those that give their time to improve the lives of others, and those who can take pride in an immense personal achievement. These awards are a platform on which these people can shine.”

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