Call for volunteers at gala event

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Some of the finest citizens of Epping Forest District were applauded at a glittering awards ceremony hosted by Epping Forest District Council Chairman Tony Boyce at Down Hall on Friday 27 February.

Letitia Berry was announced as the Epping Forest District Citizen of the Year 2015 and Evangeline Foster is the district’s new Young Citizen of the Year.

Among the other awards were presentations to the emergency services and Epping Forest Youth Councillors. Creativity (Arts) and Sports Bursaries were also presented to some of the district’s most promising young people. In what Councillor Boyce has called his ‘Year of Volunteers’, the voluntary contribution of local people across Epping Forest District was celebrated late into the night.

The Award Winners

  • Back Row L-R Youth Council Cup – Thomas Bromwich, Leonora Troshupa, Matthew Tinker, Olivia Storey, and Sports Bursary/Young Citizen nominee – Daniel Rowden
  • Middle Row L-R Police Community Service Medal – Tony Ellis (Essex Police Crime Prevention Tactical Advisor), Young Citizen nominee – Marnie Cairns, Highly Commended for Citizen of the Year – June Giles and Fire Community Service Medal – Roy Manning (Essex Fire and Rescue Fire-Fighter)
  • Front Row L-R Citizen of the Year – Letitia Berry with Epping Forest District Council Chairman Councillor Tony Boyce and Young Citizen of the Year – Evangeline Foster

£20,000 target

Councillor Boyce also thanked Daniel Sugarman of Remedy Recruitment, a family business in Loughton and Mr and Mrs Vadher of the hardware shop House to Home in Epping who have played a huge part in helping him raise £14,000 since June towards his £20,000 chairman’s charity fundraising target. The Chairman has already made a donation of £9,000 to Voluntary Action Epping Forest for a new purpose-built mini-bus capable of carrying wheelchair and seated passengers.

His other main charity, Ongar and District Healthcare League of Friends is also set to receive a major donation. Others to receive special mention for their fundraising support included Coles of Epping and Andy Vincent of Woodford Cycle Centre.

The chairman renewed his target with guests at the awards to raise £20,000 by the end of his term of office with the promise of abseiling from Church Langley Water Tower.

First rung on the ladder

However, in an emotional closing speech in which he paid a special tribute to his wife Jan for her support, Councillor Boyce insisted that the most important thing anyone can give is their time. He asked everyone to think what they could achieve if people donated just half a day a week to doing something for other people. He was especially proud to introduce Poppi and Lili to help draw the winning tickets of his prize draw which raised over £1,000 on the night.

The event represented the “first rung on the ladder of helping their community” as the chairman thanked Poppi and Lili, his “fantastic granddaughters”.

Citizen of the Year

Letitia Berry has been at the heart of Epping for 50 years or more. Among her achievements, Letitia was a founding member, treasurer and chairman of the Epping Townswomen’s Guild. She is currently branch secretary for North Weald. An Epping town councillor for more than 20 years including a term as mayor, she is an Honorary Freeman. Letitia is also a key figure in Epping Horticultural Society, a member of St John’s Choir and President of the Epping Forest Band. Her town-twinning efforts have brought people of Epping and Eppingen together in friendship. Letitia provides assistance to musically gifted children from low-income families with the Hope Hambourg Musical Trust.

Other roles include work for St John’s Church, Epping and Theydon Garnon Charities, Theydon Trusts and St Clare Hospice.

June Giles of Ongar was highly commended for her community work bringing company and friendship to elderly and disabled people in Ongar. June is a fantastic cook who regularly caters for up to 60 people at a time. The residents of Frank Breton House in Ongar are particularly thankful for her wonderful generosity. June spends much of her time using her cooking skills to raise money for charity including Rotary and the Ongar League of Friends

A private person who usually stays behind the scenes, Councillor Boyce was particularly delighted to give June public recognition for her work.

The official photos

Young Citizen of the Year

Young Citizen Evie Foster is an elite triathlete. She trained for weeks before raising money on behalf of the Teenage Cancer Trust by swimming an English Channel relay. After the training requirements needed to win two London Regional Championships, Evie now spends more time volunteering to help children with mental and physical disabilities learn to swim.

Evie is also a Lance Corporal in the Combined Cadet Force, Epping Forest Youth Councillor and ‘I Will Ambassador’ in the Step Up to Serve campaign. As part of a team with the Police and Crime Commissioner, Evie helped to produce ‘Generation X’ a video being used to improve the relationship between teenagers and the police across Essex.

Community Service Medals

Tony Ellis of Ongar retired just before Christmas after 50 years as a police officer and crime prevention officer. Fire-fighter Roy Manning has worked from fire stations across the district and worked closely with young drivers on road safety.


Athlete Daniel Rowden (17) from Buckhurst Hill received a Sports Bursary of £1,000. He was also nominated along with Marnie Cairns (14) of Waltham Abbey for the Young Citizen award. Hockey player George Farrant will receive £500. Laurence Williams will receive a cheque for £1,400 and Rebecca Ford a cheque for £1,305 as part of the Creativity Awards.

Smaller awards are to be made to Bethany Trower, a dance student at DNA Studios in Waltham Abbey, Eleanor Ireland, a performing arts student at the E15 Acting School in Loughton, Alex Lamden a young musician from Loughton with a passion for the oboe, and Lydia Dronfield on behalf of the Youth Theatre Group based in Epping.

Epping Forest Youth Council

The Epping Forest Youth Council Cup is awarded to up to four youth councillors each year. 2015 winners Thomas Bromwich, Olivia Storey, Leonora Troshupa, and Matthew Tinker received the awards for their special contributions to engagement between young people and older residents of the district.

The presentations

The speeches

Councillor Tony Boyce was assisted in the presentations by Councillors Liz Webster, Richard Morgan, Ken Angold-Stephens, Gary Waller and Mary Sartin.

The whole set