The Epping Forest District Citizen of the Year 2013 is Diana Collins of Theydon Garnon. Jaymey McIvor from North Weald was named Young Citizen of the Year when the Annual Civic Awards were presented at Gilwell Park on Friday 15 March.
The evening hosted by the chairman of Epping Forest District Council, Councillor Brian Rolfe was dedicated to the many thousands of volunteers who work behind the scenes and often without recognition across the district.
The awards were covered live by the Epping Forest Guardian with local reporter Zoie O’Brien tweeting as each winner was announced.
Presentations took place in the presence of Lord Petre, Lord Lieutenant of Essex, Christopher Palmer-Tompkinson, High Sherriff of Essex and Eleanor Laing, Member of Parliament for the Constituency of Epping Forest. Young people, partnerships and community spirit featured strongly in the awards with presentations also going to Youth Councillors Olivia Tinker, Carina Sander, Ella Foster and Hamzah Qadri.
High Commendations where received by Alan Burgess from Roydon, Keith Campen of Loughton and John Duffell of Epping, each of whom has contributed significantly to the welfare of the district’s young people.
Other presentations were made to council stalwart Richard Morgan and the retiring Chief Executive of the Scouts Association, Derek Twine CBE.
Councillor Rolfe presented his latest contributions of £1,500 each to his Chairman’s Charities, The Dream Factory and Chigwell Riding Trust for Special Needs as well as raising another £1,070 during the course of the evening.
Anyone driving through the district can see we are blessed by the forest, the countryside, our towns and villages. But what they don’t see are the hundreds and thousands of people shaping and building our community through kindness, patience, consideration and compassion for others.
These people usually don’t have titles. They don’t often publicise what they do and they can be very hard to spot. They go about their business quietly and often without reward. They don’t expect any recognition.
But these people are the life-blood of our district. As a family turns a house into a home, they make Epping Forest a community. That’s why it is so important to protect, nurture and recognise the invaluable work they do.”
Guests listened as Master of Ceremonies Robert Persell described some of the work carried out by Di Collins, who is better known in her former capacity as Leader of Epping Forest District Council. Among the credits for her voluntary work were support for Epping Forest College, local PCT health services, the League of Friends for St Margarets and Abbeyfield, the NSPCC, RNLI, Red Cross and Jubilee Lodge in Chigwell. Di’s house is frequently used as a venue for fundraising events.
Congratulating Di Collins on her award, Councillor Rolfe said: “Di, I think you are a marvellous choice as our Citizen of the Year. It seems incredible, knowing the time and commitment you have made to the District Council for so many years, that you found the time for so many other roles. The Civic Awards is one of the few nights in the year when we put politics aside and I think this award for all your other contributions is absolutely fantastic.”
Councillor Rolfe continued: “I hope Di will not mind me saying this, the Citizen of the Year tends to be a slightly older person. But one of the things I love most about the Civic Awards is the focus on our younger citizens. I would like to congratulate our four Youth Councillors, Hamzah, Carina, Ella and Olivia.
The establishment of the Youth Council some years ago now, was one of the best things I think this council has done. I know that Di Collins was strongly in favour of its foundation. Anyone who thinks our young people can be a soft touch or don’t care, should spend an hour or two with the Youth Council as our new Chief Executive Glen Chipp and our Member of Parliament Eleanor Laing have both done recently. The Youth Council is an impressive and formidable group of young people.
And what can one say about Jaymey McIvor – our new Young Citizen of the Year? What an incredible young man. Jaymey is a credit to himself, his family, his school and our district. While we can produce young people like Jaymey, the future is assured.
And it is important to stress that while Jaymey and our other young award winners may have been singled out, they represent a much larger group of young people. I am sure Derek Twine, as someone who has dedicated his private and professional life to our younger generations will agree, our community is blessed by the rich contribution our young people make.
I don’t know if it was a co-incidence or something deeper, but the spirit of mutual support and respect between the generations seemed to flow through tonight’s awards. Alan Burgess, Keith Campen and John Duffell, have each in very different ways made such a large and positive impact on the lives of our younger people.”
Epping Forest District Civic Awards 2013 Front L-R Councillor Richard Morgan – Distinguished Service, Diana Collins – Citizen of the Year, Derek Twine – Distinguished Service. Back L-R Carina Sandler – Youth Council, Alan Burgess – High Commendation, Hamzah Qadri – Youth Council, Jaymey McIvor – Young Citizen of the Year, Councillor Brian Rolfe – Chairman of Epping Forest District Council, Kevin Haywood – Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, John Duffell – High Commendation, Keith Campen – High Commendation, Ella Foster – Youth Council, Olivia Tinker – Youth Council