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Residents gather to celebrate Watford’s local heroes at Audentior Awards
The hard work of Watford residents who give their time selflessly to help others in the town was recognised again at this year’s Audentior Awards.
The 10th celebration of the ceremony was held at the Watford Colosseum on Friday, October 18, and awards were handed out by elected mayor Dorothy Thornhill and the borough’s chairman, Councillor Steve Rackett.
This year the theme of the evening was print, in recognition of the town’s printing heritage.
At the event, guests were entertained by local singer Tom Craven alongside members of The Nameless Three and Lauren Rich Band.
Mayor Thornhill said: "Our annual gathering to celebrate Watford’s local heroes is one of the highlights of my calendar.
"This evening is our way of thanking our top volunteers across the borough. These people have given much of their time to the local community to make Watford an even better place to live."
The 2013 winners are:
Mayor’s award - Owen Parry
Owen has been involved in the voluntary sector for many years. He was a Scout Master and upon retirement in 1993 joined Shopmobility Watford, initially to man the office. Over the years he undertook many more activities such as collections, carnivals and looking after stalls. Owen is now the Chairman of Shopmobility and spends much of this time ensuring the smooth running of the charity.
Despite being disabled himself, Owen has still found the time to be a committee member of The Disability Forum, Chairman of PASS, Vice President of POHWER and a trustee of Roundabout.
Mayor’s award runner up - Patricia Picton
Patricia has been a leading light in Watford Scouting since 1976 and as well as running various units in the 53rd Scout Group, has stepped in to ensure that the Beaver group did not close due to the lack of a leader.
She has also been a volunteer at the Peace Hospice since 1992 and has helped organise a wide range of fundraising events.
Chairman’s award for volunteer of the year - Elizabeth Timmons
Elizabeth spent many years as a midwife at Watford General Hospital where her service and support to families in Watford went far beyond her help at the delivery stage.
Since 1991 she has had a number of volunteering roles with the Peace Hospice. One of her first tasks was to raise funds to set up and maintain the Hospice. She was also instrumental in organising and leading the Irish & Holyrood Hospice Support Group. Since 2000 they have raised over £70,000 for the Hospice.
As well as fundraising, Elizabeth has been a volunteer in the inpatient unit, bringing her own experience to this demanding role.
Chairman’s award for volunteer of the year runner up - Barbara Sargent
Barbara has been a volunteer at Watford Swimming Club for over 35 years. From the 1970’s Barbara has organised and run a stall on club night selling everything from sweets to goggles.
She has also taken the lead for many years in organising raffles, officials drinks quiet and efficiently.
Lewington Price Disability Access Award - Gibson’s Butchers
Gibson’s Butchers is a popular local business situated in Charter Place. Their staff are well known for their helpfulness to any customers with a disability and treat everyone with the same respect. The shop layout is also very user friendly for customers with a disability.
Charitable business award - Freedom Communications
Freedom Communications are a local company that takes responsibility for giving back to the community. In the last year they have given over 200 hours of staff time and every member of staff is allowed to give time to a charitable organisation they care about.
They have undertaken a wide range of projects including helping Westfield Community Centre with administration and design work and the delivery of a new play safe garden.
Charitable Group award - Home-Start Watford and Three Rivers
Home-Start volunteers support families in their own homes at a time when families need them most. They support in different ways such as listening to concerns to supporting the cooking of meals.
Volunteers help families to venture out into their local communities and give children a chance of enjoying their childhood.
Home-start volunteers are enthusiastic and willing to support families in any way they can.
Special achievement award - Roger Gagan
Roger has been Chief Executive of Watford and West Herts Chamber of Commerce for many years.
On very limited resources he has transformed the chamber into one of the most successful in the country. There is not a local business or charity that has not had reason to thank Roger for his help and support.
Special achievement award - Diane Lee
Diane has been Chair of Watford Community Housing Trust for the maximum six year term set out. During this period she has navigated the Trust through its stock transfer, the completion of its first housing developments and the delivery of excellent services to tenants.
Though Diane had not worked in social housing before, the idea of community gateway inspired her and she has had a major role in shaping the organisation.
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