Woking's local heroes recognised at Mayor's Civic Reception

29 April 2014

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Outstanding members of Woking's community were invited to celebrate their achievements on Friday 25 April at the Mayor's Annual Civic Reception.

The event, which recognises the dedication of Woking residents, was held at the H.G. Wells Conference and Events Centre, where the Mayor of Woking, Cllr Anne Roberts, announced Woking's Eminent Citizen for 2014 and the winners of this year's Young People's Civic Award Scheme.

Eminent Citizen

Mrs Jean Smith was presented with the Eminent Citizen award in recognition for her outstanding voluntary work across the Borough.

Jean has devoted 42 years of her life to the Scout Movement and is one of the stalwart members of the Woking District team undertaking a huge amount of work.

As Manager of the Resource Centre, she set up the Scout shop for Woking District twice, once in a small, dark and draughty back room and then in a purpose-built unit in the Hoe Valley Community Building. Jean carried this out despite having several operations on her knees, arms and shoulders.

After spending a few times in hospital, Jean decided to become a regular volunteer in the Bradley Neuro rehabilitation ward at Woking Community Hospital, working quietly and efficiently to help both patients and the multi disciplinary team.

With a total of 14 years of service Jean was awarded the hospital's Volunteer of the Year in 2012 in appreciation for the warmth and enthusiasm she brought to the role.

In the community where Jean lives, she has worked very hard with colleagues and the Council to keep the area clean and never fails to volunteer when someone is needed. Always considerate and mindful of other people's needs, Jean is a truly well deserved winner.

Young People's Civic Award Scheme

Now in its eighteenth year, the Young People's Civic Award Scheme aims to reward young people who make an outstanding contribution to the community in Woking and whose work or achievements may not normally be recognised. The judging panel included representatives from Woking Borough Council, Woking Youth Council, Surrey Police, Sport Woking, and the voluntary sector.

The winners of this year's Young People's Civic Award Scheme are below.

Outstanding Contribution to the Community

Owen Burns - Owen attends Woking College and gives a great deal of his time and talents to help others. During his time at Woking College, Owen has willingly participated in a vast amount of extra curricular activities, such as the choir and as bass guitarist in the concert, funk and pit bands for the College's musical productions. Owen has taken part in fundraising concerts both in College and at local churches for the benefit of the local community.

A very generous young man, Owen regularly helps other students of music with their own recordings by performing for them on bass guitar and helping them to set up and pack away equipment. Owen is also a young carer within a family that fosters children, many with developmental problems. Owen embraces the challenges that such situations bring and welcomes them into the family, making huge efforts to provide a stable and happy family life which they might not otherwise have experienced.

Outstanding Achievement

Jack Mannion - On Jack's 16th birthday (8 October 2013), Jack became the youngest ever qualified pilot in the UK. A dedicated member of the Army Cadets, Jack was taken out by his flying instructor for his normal flying lesson at Fairoaks Airport, completely unaware that he was actually sitting his final flying exam. On landing, Jack was informed that he had passed his final assessment and was handed the keys to the aircraft. At approximately 11.15am, Jack became the youngest ever pilot to fly solo in the UK, a truly remarkable achievement.

Triumph Over Adversity

Isabella Oxnard - Isabella has Down's Syndrome and has had many health issues to contend with during her young life. Despite being diagnosed with Coeliac disease and Type 1 Diabetes, Isabella faces the challenges before her with her wonderful smile intact.

Isabella enjoys attending The Park School, especially taking part in the activities she loves, such as singing, dancing, drama, basketball and most of all making people laugh.

The Mayor of Woking presented each winner with a glass trophy, a certificate, and vouchers including cinema tickets for two people (sponsored by the Ambassadors).

Speaking about the awards, the Mayor of Woking, Cllr Anne Roberts, said: "Congratulations to all of this year's winners, who show such tireless dedication in their hard work and commitment. They set a fantastic example to others in the Borough. I am very proud that as a community, we honour the commitment of these individuals through the Young People's Civic Award Scheme and Eminent Citizen Award."