‘Outstanding’ volunteers honoured in Barking awards ceremony

The mayor of Barking and Dagenham said it was important to recognise the 'outstanding' work of volun

The mayor of Barking and Dagenham said it was important to recognise the 'outstanding' work of volunteers - Credit: Archant

The best of Barking and Dagenham’s volunteers were recognised for strengthening the community and supporting the vulnerable at an awards ceremony.

Prizes were given for creating safer neighbourhoods and helping disabled people into sport at the event in Barking Town Hall, with borough mayor Cllr Simon Bremner honouring this year’s best charity workers with the Sydney Russell Award, Borough Recognition Awards and Deputy Lieutenant’s Awards.

Speaking after the ceremony on Tuesday last week, Cllr Bremner said it was crucial to value volunteers.

“All the winners and achievers have done very well,” he said. “They do outstanding work and, although they’d do it without recognition, it’s nice to encourage people when they play such a vital role in the community.”

Among the winners was 91-year-old Sidney Westbrook, known to his friends as “our Sid”, who bagged the Sydney Russell Award for his work with Friends of Barking Hospital.

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Mayor Bremner said his work on the committee since 1987 had been “outstanding”.

And he praised 32-year-old Neal Crowley for his work as volunteer lead at Trinity School in Heathway, Dagenham, saying the example he sets is key to inspiring younger volunteers.

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“Being mayor this year has shown me how important it is to encourage young people to volunteer,” he said. “When young people see their peers doing good work, those people become their role models.”

He welcomed the opportunity to thank young people for their hard work in the community at the ceremony, presenting Deputy Lieutenant’s Awards to Cadet Sgt Elle Maynard of the 2048 Dagenham Squadron and Cadet Sgt Rao Khan of the 1147 Barking Squadron.

Also recognised at the ceremony was Shelley Daldy, who founded Step Up, a Dagenham-based charity that offers support to families affected by the sexual abuse of children.

Mayor Bremner also thanked Anne Estlea, presenting her with a Borough Recognition Award for her 28 years of service at King George Hospital and her work since then with youth offenders.

A Borough Recognition Award also went to Sheila Johnson, who has volunteered for more than a decade in Barking and Dagenham, which has seen her head up the fight against anti-social behaviour with her Safer Neighbourhood Team.

Mayor Bremner said that everyone thanked at the ceremony was being rightly recognised for work that benefits the whole of Barking and Dagenham.

“Everyone who won an award really deserved it – what they do is very important,” he said. “It was a very good evening and they’re very important to the borough.”

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