The annual Amersham Mayoral Awards were held last week, celebrating the pillars of the community.
Mayor Nigel Shepherd handed out awards to the citizens of the year, while his special award went to HS2 campaigner Kevin Sowden, at the ceremony in Market Hall, High Street, Amersham.
More than one award marked work done by HS2 campaigners in what was called a ‘critical’ year by the mayor.
Mr Shepherd added: “The evening went extremely well and they were all deserving of the awards.”
Junior Citizen of the Year – Robyn Hughes
Robyn began working for Chiltern Youth Projects as part of the summer team in 2013 as a detached youth worker.
The group’s work was acknowledged by Thames Valley Police as a major contributory factor in reducing anti-social behaviour in the Amersham area.
As part of a small team, she led activities and engaged with about 500 young people over the summer holidays, spending days and evenings dedicated to her role. Since then she has taken over the running of a number of clubs, including MAD about Fridays, for up to 40 children aged seven to 11, and a girls’ club at Café Africa.
Mr Shepherd said: “Her commitment and passion for youth work, with young people often disillusioned by society, has shone through in everything she has done under the Chiltern Youth Projects banner.
“She has developed an excellent relationship with many young people in Amersham.”
Senior Citizen of the Year – Helen Fowler
Helen has been dubbed a ‘pillar of the community’ in Amersham.
She has been a volunteer reading assistant for more than 15 years, both at St George’s Infant School and Woodside Junior School.
It is estimated that she has listened to an average of 40 children read a week and across the two schools this will have meant she has contributed at least 5,000 hours voluntary service.
Mr Shepherd said: “Helen has also been an assistant guide leader of 1st Amersham on the Hill Guide Pack during the mid-1970s for more than a decade and has therefore contributed considerably to the community.”
Business Award – Hamptons International
Hamptons International re-opened their office in Sycamore Road a few years ago, but were applauded for taking Amersham ‘into their heart’ and championing community collaboration and contribution.
“Not only are Hamptons investing a lot of their time in local schools, such as supporting St Mary’s with their key events this year and supplying St Mary’s and Elangeli schools with new football kits, they are hoping to invest more money in local events next year.”
Citizen of the Year – Stanley Mason
Stanley Mason is an active member of the University of the Third Age, an accomplished drummer with numerous local musical ensembles and a leading member of the HS2 Amersham Action Group Committee for at least three years.
During that time he has immersed himself in both campaigning and fundraising activities.
In the last year his HS2 campaigning career has blossomed even more as he has provided help and guidance to other campaign groups along the HS2 route.
Mr Shepherd said: “I fully support this nomination for an individual who has worked tirelessly for the anti-HS2 campaign both locally and nationally and he doesn’t even live close to the line.
“By his prominence in the local anti-HS2 campaign just over a year ago, he was invited to join the Board of AGHAST, the prominent anti-HS2 body – a full-on role, as I know well.”
Mayor’s Special Award – Kevin Sowden
Kevin was lauded for his work with HS2.
Mr Shepherd said: “Kevin has not been one of the public faces of the campaign, but he has been one of the real workers, one of those people who just gets down and gets on with things.
“Kevin’s Herculean efforts to pull together the environmental impact consultation response from Amersham and the Chalfonts cannot be allowed to go unrecognised.
“I hate to think how much time he must have put into it.
“In the end the response was something this and our neighbouring communities can be proud of and formed the backbone for responses from numerous other local organisations and groups – including this council.”