Residents in Bury St Edmunds have been recognised for their significant voluntary contribution at an annual awards ceremony.
On Tuesday, Bury Town Council named Daniel Davis and Lynda Seldis as joint Citizen of the Year winners and Jessica ‘Jessie’ Davis as recipient of the Young Citizen of the Year as part of its St Edmund’s Day Awards celebrations.
Ms Sheilds was nominated by Cllr Pat Warby for her commitment over more than 42 years as a volunteer for various groups, including Red Cross Therapeutic Care at West Suffolk Hospital, Eastgate Ward Community Association, Abbey Gardens Volunteers and Abbey Gardens Friends, Bury Water Meadows Group, Bury In Bloom and St Nicholas Hospice Care gardens.
Mr Davis, who has volunteered for the Bury Sea Cadets for the past 12 years, 10 years as its commanding officer, was nominated by administration officer Tracey Walsh who said he had raised the profile of the cadets, given support as a unit to other groups in the community and was valued by the rest of the team for his good leadership and passion.
Mr Davis said: “Commanding a cadet unit after so many years is just a normal everyday part of my life. To be nominated and awarded the Citizen of the Year award joint winner is an honour and very much unexpected.”
Other nominations for the award included photographer Andy Abbott for his dedicated role in the community including as chairman of the Southgate Community Partnership, Pat Church who has worked at the Abbeygate Cinema for nearly 50 years, Colin Green who has run the Suffolk Summer Sixes Darts League for 16 years and William Pawlowski for his work with Suffolk Lowland Search and Rescue.
Michael Coleman, CEO and trustee of the Bury Drop In charity, was also nominated, along with Alan Jarey who is a past member/chairman of many town groups including the Bury Society and Bury in Bloom, Bernard Sexton who has been the Westgate Street ‘lollipop man’ for five years and barrister Alan Murdie for the advice he offers people on legal matters and for his valuable contribution at Howard Estate Association of Residents and Tenants meetings.
Young Citizen of the Year winner Ms Davis was described as ‘an amazing role model’ by her nominee Jim Clever, headteacher of Westgate Primary School, where she is a pupil.
He said she was actively involved in the school, in Year 4 as a librarian, school counsellor and member of the interviewing panel for the new deputy head where she represented the voice of her fellow pupils, and as a junior road safety officer and playground leader since being in Year 5.
Out of school, and in spite of her own medical problems, she fund-raises for a children’s charity, helps raise awareness of ‘tuberous sclerosis’, a rare genetic condition her brother suffers from, and was recently shortlisted as a finalist in the Inspirational Young Person of the Year category of the Raising the Bar Awards 2016.
Her proud mother, Paula said: “She was surprised to win. She just thinks everyone should be kind and then the world would be a nicer place.”
Also nominated for the award was Peter Castle for his work with Southgate Church’s Liquid youth group, Elliott Potter for such things as calling bingo numbers for an Over 60s club, helping to produce a magazine for the Howard estate and raising money for charity, and Jake Game who set up the Help Find Missing Corrie McKeague Facebook group which now has more than 62,000 followers.
Jake was nominated by Corrie’s mum Nicola Urquhart, who went to the awards evening with Corrie’s younger brother Darroch McKeague.
Jake said: “Just being nominated is special. I thought she didn’t have to do that – she’s got much bigger worries than that.”
In the allotments competition, Patricia and Chris Cole won Best Allotment for their plot at the council’s Nowton Road site while Ian Fenn, who has a plot at The Vinefields, was named Best Newcomer.
Sponsors of the awards night included Adnams Southwold, Bury Garden Centre, Cants of Colchester, Cineworld, Glasswells, Guildhall Feoffment Trust, Kings Seeds, Marlows Home & Garden, Mr Fothergill’s Seeds, Tesco and Thompson & Morgan.