Necton honours local volunteers at the inaugural Community Spirit Awards

Some of Necton’s community spirited residents were recognised and celebrated at the Annual Parish Meeting on 27 April by Necton Parish Council through their new initiative, Community Spirit Awards.

Seven local people were nominated by residents and all received a Certificate presented by guest speaker, Jeremy Goss, well-known previous Norwich City footballer.  From these nominations, three were selected by an independent panel for their extra special contribution to the village.   These three Stars each received a certificate and a £40 voucher for a meal at the Necton Windmill.  These prizes were sponsored by local company, Town Farm Cars.

3 Star winners

Mrs Babs Hastell for her involvement in community life since she moved to Necton in 1968.  Babs has served on the Parish Council as Councillor and Chairman; served on Necton WI as committee member, moving to vice-president in 1977 and later president.  She has been the village Lollipop Lady, Yoga Club Organiser, The Thursday Club Organiser, as well as helping with other groups through the years.  She is still an active member of the Necton Bowls Club.  For 30 years she was the Dinner Supervisor at the village school and for the same length of time looked after The Cubs.

Babs was a campaigner of local issues.  In 1987, she lead a campaign to save the local postal services.  She also organised campaigns to protect local hospital and surgery cuts, which would affect vulnerable people.  Letters to the then Prime Minister, Mrs Thatcher, were all in a day’s work for Babs.

Mrs Babs Hastell receiving her Community Star Award from Jeremy Goss.

Frank Woodward for his life-long commitment to the Parish Council, campaigning for improvements to village infrastructure, managing village assets and being available at any time of the day or night for residents.  His Parish Council career spans 32 years.

Frank began life as a councillor in 1985, whilst still working locally as a full-time white goods engineer.  He worked tirelessly under several long standing Council Chairman as Vice-Chairman, before becoming Chairman himself in the late 90’s.   He was an organiser of the Village Appraisal 2006, a significant project collecting and collating the views of all residents into a detailed report, which helped to inform the objectives of Council and Village Hall committee in providing services suited to the identified needs.

From about 1983 until late 1990’s Frank was on the village hall committee, most of the time as president. During this time, the committee organised fundraising events such as bonfire and firework displays, dances and fetes.    He was also on the judo club committee until its closure.

Today, Frank is the Vice-Chairman of the Parish Council, a member of the Sports & Social Club committee and a trustee on the Iceni Partnership in Swaffham.

Cllr Woodward receiving his Award from Jeremy Goss.

Leonard(Lenny) Luff for his dedication to his role as the Village Caretaker.  One might say he is doing his job, but in Lenny’s case, he does much more than ‘just his job’.  Lenny, now 84, has been officially employed by Necton Parish Council for over six years, although was doing the job for many years before that.  Lenny is out every day – in his yellow high Vis jacket or vest – equipped with litter picker stick and bin bag, walking or cycling his established routes of the village, making sure everywhere is covered at least once every week.   Known by everybody, Lenny has a friendly word and smile for everybody he meets.  He keeps a close eye on fly-tipping issues along our rural village roads, removing what he can and reporting what is not so easily removed.  Every year, he gives the litter and dog-waste bins a wash down, removes posters from poles and generally keeps our village looking very cared for.  He has a soft spot for wild life – known to rescue the odd hedgehog and bring it to the rescue centre.   Lenny’s sunny outlook on life makes a wonderful difference to those people he meets out and about in the village and for some this may be the only friendly face they see that day.

Lenny couldn’t make the evening event and received his award in the company of his lovely wife, Cynthia.

Thank you to those who helped make this event happen

  • Nigel Wilkin for his excellent Toastmaster performance.
  • Jeremy Goss for enthusiastically presenting the awards to our nominees and stars.
  • Town Farm Cars for their sponsorship of the event this year.
  • Our independent panel, serving Breckland Cllrs. Shirley Matthews, Frank Sharpe and Peter Wilkinson, who managed to increase the number of winners from two to three by creating a tie-break situation.
  • Our lovely nominees, who by their generous and unstinting contribution to village volunteering provided us with a reason to celebrate.
  • And our residents, who put forward these lovely people as their nominations for Community Star Awards 2017.

Community Star Awards 2017 – nominees & stars.

Nominations for 2018 are welcome now.  Deadline for receipt is 31 March 2018 – but don’t wait – do it now.

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