Thatcham recognises its Covid-19 heroes and civic award winners
THATCHAM has struck gold through a new batch of heroes who have been recognised for decades of dedication or for stepping up to support their community during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Thatcham Town Council awards recognise amazing people and groups who do great things in and for the town.
A maximum of three Gold Awards are presented each year to people or groups who have either achieved a significant milestone that year, or who have done something special for the community in the past 12 months.
A new category was added this year relating specifically to people who stepped up and helped during the coronavirus pandemic.
Mayor of Thatcham, Mike Cole, said: "I was delighted that we were able to proceed with the Civic Awards this year, having had to postpone it last year at the start of the crisis. The sheer number of nominations that we received reflects the amount of great people we are lucky to have, doing great things in Thatcham’s community. Having the additional Covid Hero category this year meant we could recognise those who had really stepped up during the pandemic - some we had heard about as a council and others we would not have known about and so it was great to have them recognised too."
This year's civic awards were presented to Denise Newport, who retired as the leader of the 5th Thatcham Brownies after 37 years and 46 years as a Girlguiding leader.
Mrs Newport had had the joy of leading 500 young girls throughout her Guiding career and has left 5th Thatcham Brownies in a healthy situation - awaiting a new leader with fresh ideas to keep the unit going.
Andrew Washbrook received a gold award for his 19 years as volunteer parade marshal at Thatcham’s Remembrance parade. He assisted his brother Tony in the role before taking over in 2002.
The town council said that expert organisation and precision timekeeping is paramount to the event's success, with up to 1,000 participants in the parade and more than 3,000 spectators.
And on the youthful theme, Thatcham Youth were awarded for celebrating 10 years of youth provision in the town and recently securing National Lottery funding, ensuring their future is secure for at least another five years.
Thatcham's Covid Heroes Award, a certificate and rainbow badge synonymous with the past year, were awarded to Cook & Butcher, Tanya Patey, Skin Wizard Tattoo and Newbury & District Hackspace.
During the first lockdown, Cook & Butcher owner Pete Congerton and his family literally went the extra mile to secure groceries for Thatcham’s shielding community. With local stores depleted Mr Congerton travelled to Covent Garden in the early hours of the morning, almost daily to purchase essential food items. His brother then delivered to shielding customers despite having a broken toe.
Mrs Patey teaches art at Kennet School and also runs art groups for adults. During lockdown she foresaw the power that art can have on people’s mental wellbeing and quickly established free of charge online classes and a WhatsApp group so that those who were shielding and potentially isolated could join in with the art challenges and feel connected to a community again.
Skin Wizard Tattoo owner Paul Feane and his team are advocates of the importance of mental health and raised more than £1,000 for 8 Bells for Mental Health before lockdown.
Newbury & District Hackspace, based in The Moors pavilion, laser cut more than 1,000 face shields and delivered them to key workers, even during last year's Easter weekend. They also set up a funding page and all surplus money was donated to NHS Charities Together.
Mayors Awards were presented to David Weller, Stephen and Linda Duke, and Dan Carter.
Mr Weller was awarded in recognition of the roles he holds, or has held, in Thatcham’s community, including school governorships, charity treasurers and an Elder at the United Reformed Church.
Mr and Mrs Duke are committed volunteers with ABC to Read, dedicated to improving children’s literacy and increasing self-confidence. ABC to Read are based at Thatcham Park Primary School and during the pandemic, adapted their sessions so that they could still reach young people who needed support.
Mr Carter received his award for a decade with Thatcham Youth and the town council said that he goes the extra mile for the organisation.
Certificates of Commendation were presented to Kathleen Little for her work as a Neighbourhood Watch coordinator and armed forces charity work in the area.
The Friends of Thatcham Library were commended for "their crucial support" to helping keep the service open.
Phil Dewsbury was recognised for his hard work and due diligence when he was treasurer of Thatcham Memorial Foundation - undoubtedly securing the charity’s future and its assets for the whole community to enjoy - while Rachel Peters was awarded for her efforts to establish Berkshire Partners bringing together charities, volunteers and service providers.
Four winners were yet to receive their award as the Newbury Weekly News went to press on Wednesday.
The awards would have been presented at the Mayor’s Civic Reception but this was not possible this year because of coronavirus restrictions. Mr Cole either visited the winner at their venue or made the presentation in the town council garden.