Knutsford’s community heroes were celebrated this month at the presentation of the eighth Town Awards in St John’s Church (15th September).
The special awards evening started with presentations community organisations formed in the last twelve months: Crosstown Community Orchard, Friends of St John’s Wood and Friends of College Wood before the Town Mayor, Cllr Stewart Gardiner announced the shortlists and winners of each category.
The awards, organised by Knutsford Town Council and sponsored by the Forum of Private Business aim to recognise the work individuals, community groups and businesses undertake for the Knutsford community. Nominations for the awards were submitted by the community over the summer.
The first award presented was the Youth Award, which recognises the work of those aged 21 and under. The award went to Duncan Jones for his work as a leader with Knutsford Scouts through which the Explorer scout supports the Beaver and Cub groups at both 2nd and 5th Knutsford Scouts. Duncan received multiple nominations which cited his positivity and praised him as a great role model for the children he works with.
Three Civic Awards are presented annually going to individuals who have worked to support the local community. The first Civic Award was presented to Russell Coulston for his work leading the youth activities at Toft Cricket Club through which his endless enthusiasm and inclusiveness is helping reinvigorate the club.
The second award was presented to Sarah Flannery for her work creating and managing the Knutsford Hosts. Sarah’s nomination highlighted the endless hours Sarah gives coordinating the diverse work the Knutsford Hosts do for the town and how valued Sarah makes the individual hosts feel.
The final Civic Award went to Kevin Griffiths for his work improving the environment of Knutsford through a number of community organisations and projects. Kevin is a long-serving member of Friends of the Heath, played an integral role in setting up the Crosstown Community Orchard and co-leads a town wide tree mapping project.
Three people were shortlisted for the award: Maggie Clayton for her work at the Welcome Café, Paul Langley for his work with Knutsford Music Festival and LOL Cheshire and Ian Robertosn for his work with Hope Central.
The 2021 Community Award was presented to Knutsford Rotary Club for their work coordinating the marshalling of the COVID vaccination clinics. Thanks to this excellent support, Knutsford was notably ahead of other parts of the country in ensuring the community was vaccinated. Also shortlisted for the award were the Fresh Start Baby Bank and Knutsford and District Talking Newspaper, with the Fresh Start Baby Bank receiving a commendation.
Four businesses were shortlisted for the Business Award which recognises the work businesses do to support the local community. In the running were Boxed Red Marketing for creating the Knutsford High Street website; TechnoType for their support of community initiatives and events; Dexter and Jones for their impressive expansion but the 2021 award went to The Tea Room in recognition of their wide involvement in community activity. Dexter and Jones received a commendation in recognition of their strong business growth over the last 12 months.
The final award presented was the Extra Mile Award, which recognises those who, in their paid work, go above and beyond the call of duty to the benefit of the town. Five people were shortlisted: June Curbishley in recognition of her long service at Boots, Sandra Curties, Town Centre and Marketing Officer at Knutsford Town Council for her support of the business community throughout the pandemic, Anthony Naylor, Watch Manager at Knutsford Fire Station for delivering wide community support through his role, Sarah Pownall for going above and beyond at the Welcome and Noey West for her role in supporting the local community at Waitrose. The award went to Anthony Naylor.
After the main awards were presented, Alison Hooper, Head of Egerton School presented the Knutsford Schools Award for Sustainability which aims to recognise the achievements of local businesses in supporting the environment through their business. This year two businesses received the award: Kanoa Living and the Bath House.
Speaking on the evening, awards sponsor Ian Cass of the Forum of Private Business said “I sometimes don’t think we realise just how lucky we are, this community really is fantastic. I deal with lots of communities across the UK, who struggle to get engagement, struggle to get projects off the ground, can’t get funding for things or have businesses which don’t support the community. We are so lucky in Knutsford that we have this great community, with great people in it and great businesses in it. It’s my absolute pleasure to support the awards.”
Nominations for the 2022 awards will open in January.