Southwold heroes’ hard work praised

PEOPLE committed to making Southwold and Reydon an 'amazing community' were honoured this week for their years of loyal and dedicated work.

At its annual awards ceremony, the Southwold and Reydon Society (SRS) turned the spotlight on a special group of individuals which, it says, have made a remarkable and lasting contribution to the area.

Receiving Excellence Awards from the SRS were inventor Tim Hunkin; the volunteer committee behind the Reydon Scarecrow Trail, former Southwold Town Council parish clerk Jenny Hursell; long-serving businesspeople John and Patricia Purdy, of Purdy's newsagents in Southwold; Tricia Scott of the Southwold Voluntary Help Centre, long-serving Southwold town councillor and SRS member Geraldine Bryant; retired street cleaner John Canham and David and Donna Smith, of the Randolph Hotel in Reydon.

The awards were presented by Barrie Remblance, chairman of Reydon Parish Council, on Monday night when the SRS held its annual meeting at Reydon Village Hall.

John Perkins, the society's secretary, said the awards highlighted the great work achieved by individuals and groups in the area. He said: 'Southwold is full of lots of people who do tremendous amounts for the community and we felt we should recognise people and what they do.

'The awards show that we have an amazing community that is both caring and inventive. We have Tim Hunkin who creates wacky machines at the Southwold Pier, then we have ladies who organised the Scarecrow Trail at Reydon to help fund the village's Christmas lights, and then Tricia Scott who is doing great work at the Southwold Voluntary Help Centre – we just want to celebrate the work they do.'

Mr Perkins admitted that Southwold had faced some challenges this year with its fight against national chain stores and the concerns over ship-to-ship transfers.

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He added: 'That is what makes it such a vibrant community became it faces challenges that arise. Sometimes things can be difficult, but there is a great atmosphere in Southwold and people pull together – that is part of what the awards are about.'

The winners were nominated by members of the SRS and members of the public and more than 100 people packed Reydon Village Hall for the ceremony, which was being held for the second time.

Mr and Mrs Smith, of the Randolph Hotel in Reydon were nominated by Anita Barbrooke after raising thousands for charities. Last Friday, they collected �1,972.65 for local groups at a quiz night – adding to a total of �14,000 in the last eight years.

Mr Smith said: 'When we came to the Randolph nine years ago we wanted to make it the centre of village life. We knew charity work was going to be an important part of that, but we didn't want to make a song and dance about it. We didn't want people to think we were raising money for publicity.

'We have raised �14,000 over the last eight years for various charities and organisations including the East Anglia Children's Hospice, Kessingland Players and Reydon Primary School. We were thrilled that we have been acknowledged by the society for what we have done.'

Tricia Scott, the co-ordinator of Southwold Voluntary Help Centre was stunned to receive an award for her work with elderly people in the area. She said: 'I was shocked to find out I had been nominated for an award. I just didn't feel like I was worthy. I love what I do and have done it for a long time. So to be recognised for something that you love doing is particularly special.

She added: 'At the voluntary help centre we provide a community care service, a befriending service and we make over 6,500 car journeys taking residents shopping – we act as the neighbours which aren't there.

'We have a really lovely community in Southwold. There are a lot of people who go out of their way to make it a vibrant place to live.'

Geraldine Bryant, who has served with Southwold Town Council for 21 years, said: 'I have felt proud to receive an award especially for something I felt proud of being a part of. 'I retired at the last election having worked for 21 years, and been town mayor three times, but it was the right time to go in order to let the younger generation take over.

Describing her memorable moments during her civic service, Mrs Bryant said: 'It was wonderful when they built our new pier. It was huge gamble for our town. Stephen Bourne has done a great job of taking over where the previous owner left off. It was a huge highlight.'

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