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Woking congratulates and celebrates outstanding community heroes 

Date: 

Friday, 10 September, 2021

Outstanding members of Woking’s community celebrated their achievements at a Civic Ceremonial Council Meeting on Monday 6 September 2021.

The event, which recognised the dedication of Woking residents during the mayoral years 2019/2020 and 2020/2021, was hosted by the current Mayor of Woking, Cllr Liam Lyons, and former Mayor of Woking, Mrs Beryl Hunwicks, in the Woking Borough Council's Council Chamber.

Eminent Citizens

Each year, the Mayor of Woking, selects a resident who has provided an ‘eminent service’ to the community and appoints them the Eminent Citizen for that mayoral year.

Former Mayor of Woking from 2019 to 2021, Mrs Beryl Hunwicks, selected the following Woking borough citizens.

Alice Potter – Eminent Citizen 2019/2020

Alice was appointed for her outstanding contribution to Surrey Police. Over many years, she has been a visitor to custody suite clients and provided chaplaincy work to the Christian Police Association.

Paul Rimmer – Eminent Citizen 2020/2021

Paul was appointed for eminent service to the community following 31 years’ of outstanding work for Horsell Common Preservation Society, including working with Woking Borough Council and partners to develop Heather Farm and Woking’s Muslim Burial Ground and Peace Garden.

Young People’s Civic Awards Scheme 2020 and 2021

Now in its 25th year, the Young People’s Civic Awards Scheme aims to reward young people who make an outstanding contribution to the community whose work or achievements may not normally be recognised. 

The scheme is open to all children and young people, up to the age of 18, who live or attend school or college in the borough, and comprises the following three categories:

  • Outstanding Contribution to the Community – includes work in areas such as helping older or disabled people, working with children, fundraising for good causes or getting involved with voluntary organisations. 
  • Triumph Over Adversity – includes endurance and bravery, such as overcoming a disability or helping a parent or family member with a disability. 
  • Outstanding Achievement – covers excellence in many fields: sport, music, drama, visual arts and particularly less academic subjects that are not normally recognised or rewarded.

The judging panel included representatives from Woking Borough Council, Woking Youth Council, Surrey Police, Sport Woking, and the voluntary sector. 

The winners of the Young People’s Civic Awards Scheme 2020 and 2021 are summarised below.

2020 winners

Samuel Fox – winner of the Outstanding Contribution to the Community category

Samuel is a dedicated musician who has given selflessly to Woking College’s music department. His performing ability has also brought a great deal of pleasure to the wider community, including playing with Woking High School’s Wind Band as principal percussionist and performing at many local fetes and fairs. Keen to inspire the next generation, Samuel also teaches drums to a number of young children. 

In the face of personal adversity, following the sudden death of his beloved father Colin, Samuel demonstrated his determined spirit and pressed ahead with Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award expeditions to Brecon Beacons and Dartmoor, taking on the role of team leader.

Megan Hall – winner of the Triumph over Adversity category

Megan is a compassionate young carer to her father, who also manages her own special educational needs and disabilities. In her spare time, she attends the Woking Young Carers’ Group which provides advice, friendship and support to local young carers. 

Despite Megan’s medical issues and with the support of her peers, Megan completed her Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award in 2019. 

Lilly Poulter and Jai Kothari – joint winners of the Outstanding Achievement category

Lilly Poulter is an outstanding Woking High School student who represents her class on the school council and is an active role model for other students coping with Dyslexia. 

Outside of school, Lilly is a dedicated volunteer at Woking Gymnastics Club. In 2020, she passed her junior coaching exams and is a registered junior coach at the club. Prior to this achievement, she won ‘Recreational General Gymnast of the Year’ and ‘South East Regional Young Leader Award’ in 2018. 

Jai Kothari is an exceptional young chess player who won over 20 junior tournaments in 2019, often competing against children up to four years older than himself. 

In 2020, Jai was selected by the English Chess Federation to represent England in Greece for the World Cadets/Youth Rapid/Blitz Chess Championship. He also plays for the Surrey County Chess Association squad and Surrey Border League. 

2021 winners

Imaan Kashim – winner of the Outstanding Achievement category

Imaan is a talented and dedicated classical violinist and guitarist. She has attained many outstanding achievements for her musical ability, including studying violin at the Royal College of Music junior department, being a member of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra’s European Youth Orchestra, and performing at many venues including appearing on Britain’s Got Talent playing with the Chineke! Junior Orchestra.

Keshav Raju Meesariganda – winner of the Outstanding Contribution to the Community category

Keshav is an outstanding Goldsworth Primary School student who, inspired by the efforts of Captain Sir Tom Moore, organised and undertook his own fundraising challenge to support the NHS heroes fighting Coronavirus. 

Despite busy days of home learning during lockdown, Keshav and his friend Nikki cycled 40 laps of their school car park every evening until they had each clocked up 500 laps. Their efforts raised an impressive £340 for the NHS Charities Together.

Tyler Hankin – winner of the Triumph over Adversity category

Tyler is a hard working Woking College student and dedicated young carer for her mother and sister. 

Jamie, her sister, has a very rare condition called McCune Albright Syndrome. To raise awareness, Tyler has become an ambassador for her sister and the challenges of her condition, including eloquently delivering a speech on the topic in a school assembly. 

Compassionate and determined, Tyler always pushes herself to fulfil her responsibilities both at college and at home.

About the presentation

The 2020 and 2021 awards were presented by former Mayor of Woking, Mrs Beryl Hunwicks. Each winner of the awards, sponsored by The Ambassadors Theatre Group, were presented with a glass trophy, certificate, and vouchers including Nova Cinema tickets for two people and a £20 gift card.

Speaking about the awards, Cllr Liam Lyons, Mayor of Woking, said: “On behalf of Beryl Hunwicks, former Mayor of Woking, and myself, it has been an honour to host and present awards to these exemplary members of our community. In different ways, they have consistently gone above and beyond what is expected of them in their school, work or private lives. They are a true inspiration to us all and excellent role models for other young people in their peer groups.

“There are many individuals and voluntary groups in Woking that do fantastic work and make significant contributions to the lives of others. I would like to take the time to recognise everyone who we have met in our Mayoral years and thank them for their hard work and continued dedication to serving others in our borough.”

More information

Read more information about the Young People's Civic Awards Scheme, including how to nominate.