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Mayor’s Community Awards: Best of Redbridge celebrated

PUBLISHED: 17:21 24 March 2017 | UPDATED: 18:10 24 March 2017

Rotary International's Eve Conway, Young Citizen finalists Sophie Marlow and Renee Stafford, Ilford Recorder editor Lindsay Jones, with centre mayor Cllr Gurdial Bhamra. Picture Ellie Hoskins

Rotary International's Eve Conway, Young Citizen finalists Sophie Marlow and Renee Stafford, Ilford Recorder editor Lindsay Jones, with centre mayor Cllr Gurdial Bhamra. Picture Ellie Hoskins

Archant

Passionate activists, high-flying youngsters and dedicated volunteers were honoured at the annual Mayor’s Community Awards last night.

Hosted at Redbridge Town Hall, High Road, Ilford, Redbridge Mayor Cllr Gurdial Bhamra paid tribute to those conscientious citizens who have helped make the borough the happiest in London.

“I am so proud of all the residents of Redbridge who go above and beyond to help others and the local community,” said Cllr Bhamra.

“The giving nature of all the candidates that were nominated for this year’s awards show how many people are willing to offer their time to help others and I would encourage everyone to follow their example and do what they can to improve the lives of other people.

“The nominees and winners all demonstrated great civic pride. They were all driven by an aspiration to make our borough better and they have all made a very important difference to the community, improving things for us all.”

The celebration was welcome respite from Wednesday’s terror attack in Westminster. Cllr Bhamra started with a minutes silence to pay respect to the victims.

The awards reward all of the unsung work that residents put in across the borough, to make it a fantastic place to live.

Chandra Arora, of Woodford Green, won the individual award for Supporting Young People.

The 78-year-old spends 20 hours a week coaching children hockey for free at Redbridge Sports Centre, and was actually late to the ceremony as he had been with the Under 15s at a competition in Crystal Palace.

“It’s always an honour when you are working for over 16 years, to get this kind of recognition is special,” he told the Recorder.

“Once upon a time I coached five or six teams, now I coach 15,” said the former Indian national team player.

And Mr Arora is showing no sign of stopping, despite being almost 80: “I will keep going until I cannot walk.”

Sophia Hubs and Redbridge Timebank won the group Business Contribution award.

They help the many start-ups across south Redbridge, by offering business advice and allowing small companies to trade in kind to get off the ground.

Board member Celestine Ekpenyong said: “We’re really proud. It’s an extra boost of recognition to keep everyone going.”

The Recorder/Redbridge Rotary’s Young Citizen Award went to Aniqah Darr, of Woodford Green.

The aim was to showcase some of the brilliant young people in our borough, and Aniqah is a fine example.

The former Forest Academy pupil cared for her seriously ill mother and disabled brother while getting excellent A-level grades, and a place at Goldsmiths University.

She was unable to attend the awards due to an operation her mother Jilly was having.

Full list of winners below:

Community Champion

Individual: Linda Green

Group: Sophia Hubs and Redbridge Timebank

Caring for Others

Individual: Jessica Unwin

Group: 1NE

Creating a Safer Redbridge

Individual: Jill Stock

Taking Pride in Redbridge

Individual: Marian Temple

Group: Redbridge Music Lounge

Supporting Young People

Individual: Chandra Arora

Group: Frantic Kids

Business Contribution

Individual: Bilal Sheikh

Group: Sainsbury’s Ilford

Recorder/Rotary Young Citizen

Aniqah Darr

Mayor’s Special Award

Terry Marshall

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