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Community honours its finest citizens

Monday night's Newbury Town Civic Awards recognise its exceptional service by individuals and business

Fiona Tomas

Fiona Tomas


01635 886639

Community honours its finest citizens

DEDICATED service to the local community was rewarded at the Newbury Town Council Civic Awards on Monday evening.

Sandra Goodyear, who was named the winner of the Newbury Town Civic Award, was praised for her “immense” involvement in the local community, despite caring for her husband, who suffers from severe Parkinson’s disease.

Mrs Goodyear served as a volunteer on the Pre-school Learning Alliance national executive committee for more than 13 years, promoting the importance of good quality, multi-cultural pre-school education.

She has also sat on the parent-teacher association board at John Rankin and St Bartholomew’s schools and offers support to the bereaved in Newbury as a CRUSE volunteer.

In 2016, Mrs Goodyear also achieved 50 years service to Girl Guiding as a Brownie leader – one of only a handful of people to achieve such long service.

Wendy Berkeley, who owns the Empire Cafe in Cheap Street, triumphed in the inaugural Business Civic Award, for which the Newbury Weekly News was also nominated.

Mrs Berkeley came to the shop as a child in 1947 and took over the running of the business from her parents in the 1970s.

Lauded as being “part of Newbury’s social fabric” in a speech read out by town crier Brian Sylvester, Mrs Berkeley was recognised for her role in reaching out to Newbury’s older generation.

Up until recently, she cooked customers Christmas turkeys in the bakehouse oven at no extra cost and participates in Coffee Companions, an initiative which aims to combat isolation.

The Empire Cafe is also part of a network of dementia-friendly businesses in Newbury.   

Mrs Berkeley, who also gives bread to West Berks Foodbank, said: “I’m absolutely gobsmacked. It’s just fantastic to be recognised – I never thought I’d win.

“I would like to thank the council for recognising the part small businesses play in the community.

“Many of our customers have become my friends over the years.”

Trinity School pupil Ellouise Greenall claimed the Young Persons Civic Award in recognition of the help she has given to neighbours and her active voluntary role within the local area.

The 15-year-old was described as a “caring and considerate young lady” who regularly helps the elderly.

An active member of Newbury Youth Council, she helped her mother recover from surgery last year, despite suffering from her own health setbacks.

A keen rugby player, the teenager is the only person from Newbury to play for Berkshire RFU and is aspiring to one day represent her country or become a nuclear engineer. Not even recent ligament damage to her ankle could keep her from collecting the award.  

She said: “Volunteering is a good thing to do – you learn a lot about yourself. I’d encourage more people my age to give it a go.”

Newbury mayor David Fenn, who helped present the awards, said: “To see the variety of different people serving our community is great. It has been so impressive to see such a high calibre of nominations this year.”

Pcso Susan Gillespie and West Berkshire Homeless shelter organiser Erica Gassor and Gardner Leader (Business) were highly-commended.

All photos courtesy of Colin Lewis. 

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