The Covid pandemic may have restricted the Council’s Awards ceremony taking place for the past two years, however, it did not stop the continued community spirit and kindness of Woodley’s residents.
Hosted by local celebrity Matt Allwright – host of Watchdog, The One Show and Rogue Traders – the Town Council was delighted to once again honour and celebrate nominated local heroes, including those nominated for the cancelled 2020 Awards.
Matt – a former Woodley resident – was delighted to host the event and celebrate the kindness, generosity and selflessness of those receiving an award.
“Woodley is where I come from. I’m proud to say that I spent the first 12 years of my life hanging around Woodford Park. Now I get to come back and celebrate the remarkable Woodleyites who are making the world a better place. What a privilege,” he said.
Attendees of the event were welcomed with a drink’s reception, followed by the Awards ceremony in the Alan Cornish Theatre, including video footage of each recipient and their nominees.
Matt delighted the crowd with Woodley anecdotes and revealed that his requested fee for hosting the Awards was to share a bag of chips in Woodford Park with the Mayor.
The 2020 winners, who unfortunately missed out on their Awards ceremony due to the Covid pandemic, were firstly honoured with a standing ovation.
Mandy and Allan Dodd were awarded for their work running The Woodford Singers Choir for over 24 years.
Alistair Todd was nominated for his involvement with the Woodley Volunteer Centre for over 20 years; three years as chairman.
Philip Barry was nominated for his contribution as a member of the Woodley & Earley Lions Club for over 15 years.
Sam Milligan was awarded the Mayor’s Award by then Mayor Cllr Kay Gilder for his outstanding contribution to the children and youth in Woodley for the past 26 years. Kay mentioned in her speech that Sam had started out supporting young people in Woodley in a converted van and grew a team of support workers to form Just Around the Corner (JAC). She commended Sam’s ongoing support and help and willingness to always give his time.
Woodley Town Mayor, Cllr Janet Sartorel, then awarded each of the 2022 recipients with an engraved glass plaque, following their video footage, congratulating them individually on their award.
Sue Woodcock was nominated for her endless support for the Me2 Club, especially her enthusiasm and positivity.
One of her nominators, Shaun Polley, Chief Executive of Me2 Club, said of Sue: “She has a genuine passion for helping to improve the lives of children and young people.”
Sue was delighted with her Award and said: “It was a truly special evening from start to finish, and the efforts and dedication of my fellow recipients show what a strong, caring community Woodley is.”
Peter Quemard was nominated for his ongoing support training young footballers, particularly goalkeepers, including continued training via Zoom during the lockdowns.
“With his enthusiasm and willingness to help people, he has been the go-to person for anyone needing assistance with their teams and in addition to the Goalkeeper coaching is now also managing an U10 team plating in the BYDL league,” said Mr Ferris, one of Peter’s nominators.
Peter was very proud to receive the award: “I felt very proud to be chosen by the community to receive this award. It helps show people in our community that the work and effort you put into it will be rewarded. It was a great night and went so smoothly. The individual videos were a great addition. We spent the evening mixing with other winners to see how we in the football world can help other groups and this will bond our community together further. Thanks for a wonderful evening. Well done Woodley Town Council for all your hard work.”
Peter Armand was nominated for his kindness and care, distributing Metro newspapers after work to those who were shielding and also keeping his eye out for any neighbours in need.
Yvonne Glass, one of Peter’s nominators and recipient of his kindness said: “The papers have been a lifeline. Peter is such a cheerful visitor. He always rings the bell and checks how things are.”
Speaking of his award, Peter said: “I was very surprised to receive an award for something I thought was so insignificant. Delivering a free paper at the start of the Covid pandemic when people were reluctant to leave their homes and asking if they required anything from the shop did not take long each day. However, for some people, the daily crossword was something to look forward to. It also gave me some exercise!”
Ann Smith was nominated for editing and being instrumental in the publication of ‘A History of Woodley’, which was co-written by the local Wokingham, Woodley and Reading U3A groups.
“Ann’s continuation of the book during the difficult circumstances of the Covid pandemic is to be applauded. This was an amazing task for one person to coordinate and it is her commitment and perseverance that has resulted in such a valuable resource for the people of Woodley,” said nominator Jane Waddell.
Anne was honoured to receive the Award: “The event was very well organised and it was wonderful to watch the videos and see the other award recipients and why they had been nominated. I was honoured to be nominated along with the people who had done much more than I had, such as delivering food parcels and other good deeds during the pandemic. However, it was the first time I had won an award since I passed my cycling proficiency when I was 11, so it means a lot to me.”
Carolyn Wildman, who has volunteered with the Woodley Lunch Bunch since the first lockdown in March 2020, was nominated for her outstanding contribution to the scheme.
Tonia Crossman, nominated Carolyn, said: “Carolyn thoroughly deserves recognition for her excellent community work that stretches nearly two years now and is still going strong. She is extremely dedicated and determined to keep the initiative running and to use her words – she doesn’t want to let the families down.”
Juliet Sherratt, who co-founded Woodley Lunch Bunch during the first lockdown in March 2020, was also nominated for her outstanding contribution to the scheme.
Sheena Matthews nominated Juliet for: “Prevention of ‘holiday hunger’ by setting up and sustaining the Lunch Bunch. For mobilising colleagues, volunteers and suppliers. For providing meals and activity packs during school holidays to over 140 children.”
“I was thrilled to receive the award and that all our committee could be there on Friday night, as I feel it is an award for all us. We had a lovely evening and enjoyed meeting Matt Allwright – that was a nice surprise!” said Juliet.
Ronnie Goodberry was nominated for coordinating the Covid 19 Facebook Group and particularly for always going out of his way to help others.
Emma Vowell, one of Ronnie’s nominators said: “Where the group goes and what we continue to action for the local community this could not be done without Ronnie’s tireless energy, motivation, and concerns and support for the local community.”
Jackie Goodberry was nominated for her stalwart and ongoing support to Ronnie and the whole of the Covid 19 Facebook Group.
“A true example of a dedicated citizen supporting others in her community,” said Noreen Calnan, one of Jackie’s nominators.
The Mayor also chose to award Ronnie Goodberry the Mayor’s Award for his tireless support, drive and determination to always go above and beyond to help.
“Ronnie’s generosity and drive to support the community of Woodley is humbling and inspiring. He has tirelessly worked to support residents throughout the pandemic and still continues to do so. Not to mention also recently extending this to Ukraine. Thanks must also go to his wife, Jackie. You are both an amazing team. Your kindness, compassion and support will never be forgotten,” the Mayor said in her speech.
Ronnie was very surprised to also receive the Mayor’s Award. Speaking on behalf of himself and his wife, he said: “Myself and Jackie were both highly honoured to receive the Woodley Citizens’ Award, but it came as a complete surprise that the Mayor had also chosen me to receive the Mayor’s special recognition award for 2022. I see what I do as just doing my bit for our community when it is needed. The generosity and kindness of the Woodley residents is a timely reminder of how communities come together when it’s truly needed. On a personal note, the ceremony was run to perfection, organised by Woodley Town Council’s friendly staff who made things run very smoothly and effortlessly. A big thank you from us.”
The Awards Ceremony was followed by a buffet reception in the Carnival and Maxwell Halls at the Oakwood Centre, including a raffle to raise money for the Mayor’s Charity – Macmillan Cancer Support. The raffle raised £259 on the night and thanks go to the companies who generously donated gifts: Home & Gifts, House of cards, Woodley Pets, Crumbs, Fiona Parry Boutique and Woodford Park Leisure Centre.
Cllr Janet Sartorel, Woodley Town Mayor, said it was a privilege to attend the annual Awards Ceremony.
“My special thanks go to the Council officers and staff for the huge amount of work done to make it such a wonderful evening. I am sure that the people of Woodley are proud to have so many unsung heroes in the community. Each award presented to the nominees is a small token of acknowledgement and thanks for the time and effort given by them to those who are not so fortunate. They were all very well deserved.”
The Council would like to thank Matt Allwright for hosting the event and bringing pizzazz to the ceremony.
We’d also like say a special thank you to Francesca Reed, a Year 12 student at Waingel’s College, who took photos on the night. She was very professional, a great credit to the school and took some fabulous photos.