Nominations for the
Epping Forest District Citizen of the Year 2007
1 Dorothy Comber
Dorothy Comber is one of the most active members of the community in Chigwell Row. Over many years she has supported local activities including the Brownies, Scouts and Chigwell Row Woods. She is a former Chairman of Chigwell Row Action Group and When proposals came forward for the new Chigwell Row Play Area, Dorothy was at the forefront of the development. When she learned about disused allotment land in the Parish, she immediately involved the Brownies in growing their own vegetables.
2 Raymond Sears
Raymond Sears is a Waltham Abbey man through and through. As a schoolboy growing up in the 1940s his experiences on the home front and later while serving in the RAF developed his love of history. Raymond has put that love of history to great use. For many years he has been closely associated with the District Council Museum in Waltham Abbey. He was a warden for the museum and, following retirement from the retail trade, expanded his historical work into holding history workshops for students in local schools. He has been an active member of Waltham Abbey Historical Society and a volunteer supporting the Town`s Festival Week for more than 20 years. Throughout 2006, Raymond assisted Waltham Abbey Royal Gunpowder Mills with a special photographic exhibition and also supports the museum at North Weald Airfield.
3 Don Cramphorn
Don Cramphorn has raised some £340,000 over the past ten years for the annual Abseil Challenge Committee. Don is a long serving member of the Rotary Club of Harlow Tye, having served as Club President in 1993/1994 and as chairman of various committees. He is also a keen supporter of his local village hall in Matching. He has served as a member of the hall committee for more than 30 years and is always available when needed, whether dealing with booking enquiries, repairs, cleaning and maintenance and in emergencies even acting as caretaker. For many years he was also Treasurer. Recently, Don was a founder member of Matching Friendly Club. Based at the Village Hall, the club caters for senior members of the community. Don and his committee organise speakers, demonstrations and activities to suit all. Summer Lunch and Christmas Dinner provide special highlights.
4 Richard Morris
Richard Morris has been a Verderer for Epping Forest since 1997. His responsibility for the protection of the Forest stretches across the south of the District into Chingford and Waltham Forest. Additionally, Richard is a keen local historian, as a member and Secretary of Loughton and District Historical Society, and is also involved with the Forest Group of Historical Societies and various other Essex-based associations. Richard has researched no fewer than four books.
5 Brenda Rugeley
Brenda Rugeley from Ongar was the brain-child of Youth Plus. Brenda has lived an amazingly full life, qualifying as a teacher and youth worker before taking further career changes to become a social worker in mental health and a registered psychotherapist. Brenda and her husband Frank have two children, Aiden and Amanda. Aiden has learning difficulties and on leaving school it became clear that a gap had appeared in his life. Brenda decided with the help of Amanda to try to do something about this by starting a small social group for similar people. To begin with, five or six people would meet at each other`s homes on a weekly basis. However, word soon spread and from these small beginnings Youth Plus emerged. Today Youth Plus has a membership of around 120 people. Brenda remains the lynch-pin of the Ongar-based group and she brings a very individual style of organisation. Youth Plus is no longer a group only for young people with learning difficulties. It is a rare environment where young people from all backgrounds come together and socialise. Brenda refuses to dictate or lead but instead mentors by example. She is patient and creates an atmosphere of inclusion, self-respect and confidence among the young people. She gives them the space to be themselves.
6 Joyce Kuhns
Joyce Kuhns from Loughton believes that keeping the special bond between parents and their children can be one of the most difficult challenges when marriages break down. Sometimes the only way to achieve this is by providing a safe and neutral environment in which to meet. That was the ambition of Joyce Kuhns fifteen years ago when she raised the idea at a meeting of the Mothers` Union. Today it is the Tower Room Contact Centre based at Loughton Methodist Church. Joyce carried out research, found the premises and with others contacted local solicitors. She persuaded people to become volunteers, organised toys and games and became a volunteer herself. Thanks in large part to her personal energy and commitment, the Tower Room Contact Centre has become a lifeline for families dealing with separation and divorce. Families are referred by the solicitors of the parents. The Centre is staffed by trained volunteers who are present with the families during the meetings. Impartiality and confidentiality are fundamental elements of the work. Joyce remains deeply committed to the Tower Contact Centre. In addition to her co-ordination role, Joyce works as a volunteer and willingly covers at short notice. She has often been known to walk from her home in Buckhurst Hill all the way to Loughton to ensure the Centre opens and families are not disappointed.
7 Brian Herring
Brian Herring was nominated by his friends and associates at Home-Start Epping Forest. Home-Start is a local voluntary organisation committed to promoting the welfare of families with young children. It offers friendship, support and practical advice to families under stress with the aim of building confidence, self-esteem and parenting skills. Last year the group supported no fewer than 116 local families. Brian plays a crucial role in making this possible. Brian is both Treasurer and Company Secretary to Home-Start. He continually applies for grants to fund the work of Home-Start. He attends meetings as a representative of the organisation, carries out risk assessments, fire safety checks, general health and safety and the recruitment of new volunteers. His role is not just behind the scenes. Brian’s commitment is total. With such a role at Home-Start, it would not be surprising to find that Brian had little time for other commitments. However, this is far from the case. In fact Brian has many other interests. Since his own children were young 30 years ago, Brian has been involved with the Third Ongar Scout Group. He is also a religious man and supports the Children`s Holiday Club run by his Methodist Church. Brian also travels with the Three Valleys Singers, holding Nursing Home concerts and still finds time as an administrator and emergency driver for Ongar and Villages Voluntary Care. Described as kind, generous and friendly, Brian makes a fantastic contribution to the community.
8 Philip Nation
Philip Nation, who owns Wyziwyg, the sign writer and graphics shop in Epping is not just a local businessman. For more than 26 years Phil has been a Cub Scout Leader for the Fourth Epping Ash Pack. He is also heavily involved in the Parent Teacher Associations of Roding Valley High School. From 1978 to 1982 Phil was also a Firefighter and worked for the Conservators of Epping Forest for over 17 years. Philip`s nomination said Countless hundreds, probably thousands of young people have benefited from his years with Scouting.
Click here to view webcast – Citizen of the Year awards
Each year the panel of judges struggles to find an outright winner from among the so many deserving nominees and this year has been particularly difficult.
After much debate and soul-searching, the Panel finally decided that the two remaining nominees could not be separated and the only fair way of resolving the dilemma was to make not one but two awards. For the first time, the Epping Forest District Council Citizen of the Year Award 2007 goes to the joint winners Brenda Rugeley and Brian Herring.
Click here to view webcast – Chairman of the Council Mrs Ann Haigh’s closing words
The evening raised £1,694.25 with proceeds going to Aim, Home-Start Epping Forest and First Responders.
Chairman of the Council Mrs Ann Haigh said “What a fantastic group of award winners we have this evening, it is a great honour and I am proud to be associated with such exceptional and terrific people.”
She added “When I think of our District, I visualise it as a wonderful patchwork quilt of different fabrics being our small market towns, villages and suburbs. Look closer and you see the detail – village greens, historic buildings, industry, and central to it all, Epping Forest sits as the great unifying jewel in our crown. The people are the real wealth of our District and over the last ten months or so I have been afforded the opportunity to meet many of them – the unsung heroes, whether professional people or friends and relations who give their time and energy voluntarily for their neighbours. As someone who knows and works with volunteers, I would like to say how much personal satisfaction people can receive from the pleasure of giving.”