North Walsham man and Stalham woman among 33 to receive new British Citizen Award for years of dedicated service to community

Tony Gowing with his son Coby Carver-Gowing, 6 and wife Ali Carver-Gowing. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Tony Gowing with his son Coby Carver-Gowing, 6 and wife Ali Carver-Gowing. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Two north Norfolk community stalwarts have been chosen as the UK's top citizens and will be honoured with a new award.

Elizabeth Jackson

Elizabeth Jackson - Credit: Archant

Tony Gowing, from North Walsham, and Elizabeth Jackson, from Stalham, are among just 33 people nationwide to be given a British Citizen Award.

The twice-yearly honours were launched in 2015 and the pair will travel to the Houses of Parliament to receive them later this month.

For the past 16 years Mr Gowing, 49, of Birch Close, has transported hundreds of patients to hospital appointments to 'give something back' to the NHS which helped rebuild his life following a horrendous attack.

He was left seriously injured and deeply traumatised after being attacked 20 years ago.

During his three-year recovery he relied heavily on the health service and also the vital patient transportation service which got him to and from his numerous medical and counselling appointments.

The father-of-three juggles his voluntary driving for Car Link with a parcel courier job.

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Grandma Mrs Jackson, 68, of Campingfield Lane, has devoted more than 40 years to her local community.

In 1974 she started a mother and toddler group in Sutton, which ran for a number of years before it changed to a playgroup, still thriving, that she ran with her friend, Mary Edmonds.

Mrs Jackson was a teacher for more than 20 years at Stalham Infant School, where she was also a governor, and the former junior school. Now retired, she voluntarily runs an after-school art club every Wednesday.

For 30 years Mrs Jackson was one of the organisers of the popular Stalham Dragon's Summer Playscheme.

She has been a member of Stalham Town Council since 1980, helping with major improvements to the town's recreation ground, including a skate park.

She was also an active member of the town hall improvement committee, a founder member of Stalham in Bloom, and she and her husband Richard successfully launched a community newsletter, the Stalham Scorcher, in the early 1980s.