On Tuesday 7 October, the mayor will meet former recipient of the award, Julie Austin and Tim Richards, who nominated her for the award in 2013. Together they will launch the 2015 Mayor’s Civic Awards for Voluntary Service.
Julie’s outstanding and long-term commitment to her local community of Harpley prompted Tim Richards, on behalf of Harpley Parish Council, to nominate her for the award as a way of saying thank you.
As well taking on the role of Village Games coordinator, encouraging people to get involved in sports and activities and doing all the necessary behind the scenes work to organise teams, transport and equipment to make this as easy as possible, Julie also spent four years developing and maintaining a play area for local children.
This project involved Julie raising in excess of £50,000, through local fundraising and grant applications, negotiating a favourable lease of land and voluntarily monitoring and repairing the area with her husband. To ensure that the play area was fit for purpose, Julie helped local youngsters to set up their own committee and enabled them to take an active role in the planning of the playground.
Whilst devoting time and energy to these projects, Julie continued to look after the maintenance of the village hall, organise community events at the venue, and started two fitness groups to help local people stay active: the Thursday walking club and Saturday Huffers and Puffers.
Tim said: “Julie is vibrant and go-ahead and will throw herself whole-heartedly into any worthwhile local project which helps others. We felt that she had worked so tirelessly, in so many ways, to bring the village together that she thoroughly deserved a Mayor’s Civic Award for Voluntary Service.”
Borough Mayor, Cllr Barry Ayres, said: “There’s something very uplifting up stories such as Julie’s and remembering that throughout our borough there are people who selfless give their time, energy, compassion or expertise to help others or raise vital funds. Such people do not expect recognition or a fuss, but I think we should celebrate their contributions and take time to thank them, so I would encourage anyone who knows of exceptional people like Julie to consider nominating them for this year’s awards.”
Julie Austin, said: "Receiving the award was really special to me. I don’t do the voluntary work for any praise or recognition but for my community and it’s a team effort with lots of others helping me. I get so much joy from seeing others enjoying the benefits. To watch people who have never been active in sport to be able to run 5k is a real buzz. Or to see the mums and children getting together in the park after school makes all the work and fundraising worthwhile. "
To qualify for consideration for an award, the nominee must be a resident of the borough of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk who provides voluntary service or raises funds for charity and has done so since at least 1 January 2012 or someone who lives outside of the borough but provides voluntary services within the borough or raises funds for charities which work specifically in the borough and has done so since at least 1 January 2012.
A panel of judges, headed by the mayor, will consider each nomination and winners of the awards will be announced at a ceremony in town hall on Wednesday 1 April 2015.
The awards are supported by BBC Radio Norfolk