Stars shine bright at civic awards

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It was a bittersweet Epping Forest District civic awards ceremony at Gilwell Park on Friday 18 March as councillors and guests came together to honour the district’s finest.

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In pictures

Civic Awards 2016

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Citizen of the Year

The evening hosted by the Chairman of Epping Forest District Council, Councillor Elizabeth Webster, culminated with the announcement of the prestigious Citizen of the Year Award to Thornwood resident and Neighbourhood Watch Coordinator Mick Sheen. Mick passed away suddenly on 30 January. He knew he had been nominated for the award but did not know that he was the winner. Colin Green of Toot Hill was highly commended for his long years of service to Essex Police and volunteer work in and around Ongar.

Chairman Liz Webster paid tributes to all the award winners but particularly Mick Sheen whose family were understandably unable to attend. Mick’s friends Caroline Wiggins and Colin Freeman accepted the award on his family’s behalf.

Chairman Webster said: ‘I hope this recognition will give Mick’s family some small comfort at such a difficult time. Our hearts and wishes are with his wife June, daughters Samantha and Sue and the rest of their family.’

Volunteer Team of the Year

Epping Forest Countrycare received a special Volunteer Team of the Year award. Ray Ellis, Cherry McCredie, Polly Nichols, Jack Welchman, Mary Dodd, Pam Mayes, Abigail Oldham and Kevin Mason received the award on behalf of all the district’s Countrycare volunteers.

Young Citizen of the Year

Molly Gayler from Lambourne End is the Epping Forest District Young Citizen of the Year. Introducing the award, Vice-Chairman of Epping Forest Council, Councillor Jeane Lea described Molly’s wonderful work supporting children with disabilities and her passion for sport. Samantha Burton and Jordan Michaelson, both from Waltham Abbey received commendations in the Young Citizen category. Ellouise Lemon who also received a commendation was unable to attend the ceremony.

Community Service Medals

Councillor Mary Sartin introduced the Community Service Medals awarded to Sub Officer Jonathan Ford of Red Watch, Loughton (Essex Fire and Rescue Service), Collette Howell represented by Stuart Miller (East of England Ambulance Service), and PC Paul Richards (Essex Police).

Youth Council Cup

Epping Forest District Youth Council Cup winners Joseph Pasco, Malachi Fontenelle, Chloe McKendrick and Doncho Atanassov were introduced by Councillor Richard Morgan.

Sports and Creativity Awards

Councillor Richard Morgan also invited Naomi Harryman of Thornwood to receive the Sports Award of £1,000 from the Chairman. Taylor Danson, Allie Munro and Lynne Jefferies of The Shambles Theatre Company received the Creativity Award for £1,500 to support their ground-breaking work holding violence against women up to the spotlight and tackling the issues around mental health for men.

Chairman’s Charity

Master of Ceremonies Ted Prior announced that almost £1,000 had been raised for the Chairman’s Charity, the Royal British Legion, in a raffle during the evening.


Flying the flag for Commonwealth Day

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The Commonwealth flag was raised outside the civic offices in Epping to celebrate Commonwealth Day.

Joining with local authorities throughout the UK on 14 March 2016, this year’s theme An Inclusive Commonwealth celebrates the diversity of the Commonwealth.

Chairman Liz Webster with the Commonwealth flag

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Proud to be part of

Chairman of Council, Councillor Liz Webster said: “The Commonwealth is made up of 2 billion people from 53 countries, of many faiths, races, languages and cultures, we at Epping Forest District Council are proud to be part of this great family.”

An Inclusive Commonwealth

This year’s theme celebrates the diversity of the Commonwealth, which is made up of more than 2 billion people. Every one of them is different, and each of them has something unique to offer.

The Commonwealth Charter asserts that everyone is equal and deserves to be treated fairly, whether they are rich or poor, without regard to their race, age, gender, belief or other identity.

The Commonwealth builds a better world by including and respecting everybody and the richness of their personalities.

Find out more


£900 raised at charity quiz

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The annual Chairman’s quiz night raised over £900 for this years Chairman’s charity, The Royal British Legion on Friday 26 February at Theydon Bois Village Hall.

Chairman's quiz 2016

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Quizmasters Ian Willet and John Gilbert both former council employees along with current members of staff all gave their time for free to ensure the quiz ran smoothly.

Chairman of Council, Councillor Liz Webster presided over the night, with 17 team taking part. In one of the closest completions in many years, the Scrambled Eggheads, led by Councillor Stephen Neville’s, took the lead with longstanding champions the Grand Slammers coming second.

1st place in the fancy dress competition went to the HR Hurricanes. Dressed in sheepskin bomber jackets and fake moustaches, they were paying tribute to the WW2 pilots who flew from North Weald Airfield.

Wonderful way to bring the community together

Chairman Liz Webster said: “We had such a lovely evening. Thanks to the amazing turnout we raised over £900 for my charity, The Royal British Legion. The quiz was a huge success and is a wonderful way to bring the community together and have fun while raising money.”

Volunteer Essex website goes live

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Finding volunteering opportunities in Essex is easier than ever with the launch of the Volunteer Essex website.

The website was simultaneously launched across Essex on 14 January 2016, the Epping Forest launch taking place at Loughton Library. Epping Forest District Council Chairman, Councillor Liz Webster cut a ribbon to mark its launch.

Give volunteering a go

Search for volunteering opportunities throughout Essex by

  • Postcode
  • Interests
  • Activities

Visit the Volunteer Essex website

Volunteer Essex new website launch

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The Volunteer Essex website has a comprehensive directory of volunteering roles that are maintained, managed and quality checked by the Volunteer Centres Essex network. It also has a range of features and information to help people get involved.

One-stop shop for volunteering

“The Volunteer Essex website is a one-stop shop for anyone interested in volunteering” said Chairman Liz Webster.

“It holds details of more than 2,000 unique volunteering roles, available to residents throughout Essex. It also promotes the fabulous work of over 1,000 community groups and charities active in the county.”

“Voluntary Action Epping Forest manages the volunteer centre in the Epping Forest district. It does not just help local people to volunteer – it also offers support to community groups and organisations to develop volunteering roles.”

Chairman Liz Webster ended with: “These are challenging times and as a community we need to work together to ensure a happy and healthy community for all.”

Why volunteer?

People choose to volunteer for many reasons. Some want to make a difference to the people around them and give something back to the community. Others want to develop new skills and knowledge. All find it both challenging and rewarding.

Epping Town Mayor Councillor Michael Wright, Loughton Town Mayor Councillor Judy Jennings, Myrna Gilbert Trustee for Voluntary Action Epping Forest, Maggie Gilchrist Volunteer Centre Coordinator, Sally Panrucker, Marc Balkham Staff at Voluntary Action Epping Forest, Volunteers Alan Oyston, Linda Mays and James Gilchrist all helped to promote the launch.