Redbridge charity founders and volunteers praised at first ever Community Awards

Inspiring people who give up their time to help others, including a team of street pastors and two charity founders, have been given the credit they deserve at the inaugural Mayor’s Community Awards.

Mayor Cllr Chris Cummins presided over the evening at Redbridge Town Hall, High Road on Saturday, during which eight awards were handed out.

Jack Petchey, who founded the Jack Petchey Foundation, was given a standing ovation as he took to the stage to collect a Lifetime Achievement Award presented by council leader Cllr Keith Prince.

Our Recorder/Rotary Young Citizen Award, which forms part of the community awards, was presented to 14-year-old Grace Boxall, who set up her own charity called Smiles with Grace after battling a brain tumour.

She has won �400 to spend at Exchange Ilford as part of her prize.

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She was joined on stage by the majority of our monthly winners of the Young Citizen Award, sponsored by Exchange Ilford.

The Redbridge Best Business Award went to Barnabas Workshops in High Road, Ilford, which helps people in the borough to get back into work.

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The Caring Redbridge Award went to Jack Weedon, who has volunteered for the Royal British Legion for 53 years.

The 75-year-old of Seven Kings said: “We were bombed out of our home in Britannia Road [Ilford] in 1941.

“My father approached the British Legion, as it was called then, and they paid for us to move back here.

“I never forgot that and I’ve been involved with the Legion since.”

The Redbridge nature conservation rangers picked up the Green Redbridge Award while the Redbridge Community Hero Award went to Redbridge Street Pastors.

The street pastors have been taken to the streets of Ilford every Friday night since 2008, and were praised by police borough commander Det Ch Supt Sue Williams as she presented the group with their award.

The Safer Redbridge Award went to Yasir Sadiq, who works with the London Tigers running football tournaments and doing youth work.

Director of environment and community services Simon Barry, who presented Mr Sadiq with the award, said the 22-year-old has helped “to steer them [young people] away from antisocial behaviour”.

Mr Sadiq, of Ilford, said: “I enjoy football and I enjoy helping young kids as well.”

Devinder Dhillon, 31, of Ilford, was presented with the Contribution to Redbridge Young People Award for running a football club at South Park Primary School, Water Lane, Seven Kings, in an unpaid capacity.

Rounding off the evening, Mayor Cllr Cummins told the audience of more than 150 people: “It’s important to recognise the work people are doing in our community.

“There are people you don’t hear about but do so much on our community.”

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