South Staffs stars celebrated at awards ceremony
Released on 23 July 2022
Stars of South Staffordshire were celebrated in an extra special awards ceremony in memory of a much-loved former council leader.
The event, held in honour of the late Councillor Brian Edwards MBE, saw seven residents and businesses hailed for a series of different achievements – from the Young Entrepreneur Award, to the Community Project Award, and the Brian Edwards MBE Lifetime Achievement Award.
All those who received awards reflected Brian's mantra of 'forging strong partnerships within the community' – and were nominated by community groups, parish councils, and the voluntary sector.
The Brian Edwards MBE South Staffordshire Awards 2022
The occasion, held in The Chamber of the Codsall Community Hub, followed the official opening of the new award-winning council headquarters; the passing of the Queen's Baton Relay through Codsall; and the unveiling of a memorial sculpture in Cllr Edwards' honour.
Chairman of the council, Councillor Matt Ewart, presented six out of seven of the awards, with the final accolade being given by leader of the council, Councillor Roger Lees.
First up was 11-year-old Nathan Griffin, winner of the Young Volunteer Award, whose fundraising efforts for Ukraine saw him run table-top sales and petition for schools to run their own charity events. When given the award, Nathan was described as a 'young man who clearly is passionate about making a difference in the world'.
South Staffordshire Council Chairman Cllr Matt Ewart with 11-year-old Nathan Griffin, winner of the Young Volunteer Award.
Next was Altezza People UK Limited, which won the South Staffordshire Business Award for being a commercial organisation that has provided added value to the community – with 50 per cent of its revenue spent supporting other local businesses.
South Staffordshire Council Chairman Cllr Matt Ewart with Julia Jones of Altezza People UK Ltd, winner of the South Staffordshire Business Award
The Community Project Award went to the Coven Forget Me Not Club, whose main purpose is to bring people together in a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. When granted the award, it was said that without this club, many elderly people would have no social interaction or means of leaving their homes.
South Staffordshire Council Chairman Cllr Matt Ewart with Anne Hall of Coven Forget Me Not Club, winner of the Community Project Award
The Young Entrepreneur Award was granted to Charlie Street, who at the age of 19 set up a barber shop during the pandemic. In addition to running a successful business, Charlie also mentors his peers in how to set up their own companies.
South Staffordshire Council Chairman Cllr Matt Ewart with Charlie Street, winner of the Young Entrepreneur Award
Next up was the Helping Hands Award – granted to an individual or organisation which has gone over and above to others in their community. This was awarded to Ann Becke, who volunteers for a number of charities, and ensured members of the community remained connected during lockdown.
South Staffordshire Council Chairman Cllr Matt Ewart with Ann Becke, winner of the Helping Hands Awards
The Good Neighbour Award, meanwhile, was granted to Penkridge Parish Councillor Helen Adams, who set up the Penkridge Coronavirus Support group which reached out to individuals who were isolated and lonely during the pandemic.
South Staffordshire Council Chairman Cllr Matt Ewart with with Helen Adams, winner of the Good Neighbour Award
Finally, the recipient of the Brian Edwards MBE Lifetime Achievement Award was Marlene Longman.
L-R – Marlene Longman, winner of the Brian Edwards MBE Lifetime Achievement Award, with Leader of South Staffordshire Council Cllr Roger Lees
Marlene, who is in her mid-70s, has been volunteering in the community since she was 25 years old. Her pioneering actions range from acting as a youth leader and a magistrate, plus chairing the Community Association in Staffordshire. She was described as 'a motivator', who 'kept everyone going during the tough times'.
Chairman Cllr Ewart said it was a privilege to assist in presenting the awards – adding that it was especially wonderful to hail 'exceptional members of our society of such a wide range of ages'.
“We already know that our district is full of hard-working, caring, and innovative people – so it was great to be able to recognise some of the shining stars among them," said Cllr Ewart.
Leader Cllr Roger Lees described the award winners as 'outstanding' but 'absolutely key in a time of national crisis'.
“Well done to all of our winners," added Cllr Lees.
“They have each gone above and beyond to help others and make South Staffordshire such a wonderful place to live. The work they are doing in our community is truly outstanding."
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