A MUCH-LOVED lollipop man, a former soldier, and a nine-year-old volunteer litter-picker were among those honoured in this year’s South Ribble Community Awards.
The glittering ceremony, staged by the South Ribble Partnership, at The Leyland Hotel on Thursday night, saw the shining stars of the community recognised for the work they do to improve the lives of others.
Arthur Parker, lollipop man at Leyland Methodist School, Canberra Road, Leyland, brightens the lives of hundreds of children every school day when he “high-fives” each child he helps cross the road.
The children love him so much that at Christmas, Easter and the last day of school, he receives dozens of gifts.
Parent Caroline Taylor, who nominated him for the Spirit of the Community Award, said: “Mr Parker is one-in-a-million and we are so lucky to have him. He’s lovely with the children and they adore him. High-fiving the kids may only seem like a tiny gesture, but it’s one that brings so much joy. It puts them in a good mood for the day ahead and makes them excited to come to school. My children insist on crossing the road every day for their ‘high-five’ even if I’m not parked that way!”
The awards were handed out by Vice Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire, Colonel Alan Jolley.
Colonel Jolley, told the crowd: “Voluntary work in any community makes a far a stronger community. All of you deserve the utmost praise for the time, effort and dedication you show. You all make a recognisable difference to our borough.”
Volunteer litter-picker Alfi Turner was the youngest winner of the night, picking up a Special Certificate.
Unlike most nine-year-olds Alfi shuns time playing computers games or watching TV in favour of picking litter down his street.
He believed he was attending a networking event with his parents, not knowing that he had secretly been nominated for the Special Certificate.
Winner of the Special Achievement was Phil Burton, founder of Leyland Veteran’s Café.
Former soldier Phil recognised the need for a focal point for veterans to come together to give mutual support and advice and re-create the armed forces ethos and camaraderie in a civilian setting.
Not only has his veteran’s café – which has been supported by South Ribble Borough Council, Brothers of Charity Services and BAE Systems – been a huge success, but it has also been instrumental in reuniting long-lost family members after it was featured on Granada Reports.
Now in its fifth year, the South Ribble Awards celebrates the pride of the borough and is sponsored by Progress Housing Group, Eric Wright Group, Birchall Blackburn Law, Leyland Festival, Runshaw College, BAE Systems and South Ribble Borough Council.
Mayor of South Ribble, Councillor Mick Titherington, said the winners were the “glue that holds our community together” and said himself and the Mayoress, Carole Titherington, marvelled at the “amazing people in our community”.
• Business in the Community: THE MILL CAFE (at St Catherine’s Hospice), a point of connection for many going through a difficult time, but also the café has the ethos of supported employment, volunteering and hosts a wide range of activities… not to mention amazing food and coffee”
• Volunteer of the Year: ANDY HORNBY, Lostock Hall Junior Football Club, for his mission to make sure that young footballers of today who might not be picking the game up as quickly as others are not left behind.
• Community Impact: SLEAP young people’s homeless charity, celebrating 25 years of providing emergency accommodation to young people in their moment of need.
• Young Volunteer of the Year: HANNAH CROFT for giving young people a voice, and despite overcoming her own challenges, giving something back in her support of the Barnardo’s Bay 6 Project in Leyland.
• Spirit of the Community: ARTHUR PARKER, cherished lollipop man at Leyland Methodist School whose positive spirit gives many of our youngest little residents a great start to their day.
• Special Achievement: PHIL BURTON, founder of Leyland Veteran’s Café, whose hard work has given veterans the space for a chat, a butty and vital support.
• Partnership Award: ALIVE TO DRIVE by Chorley Advanced Motorists, an event which takes place over two days in September and helps keep our motorists, cyclists and pedestrians safe on the roads.
• Certificate of Recognition: Jean Bolton (TESCO Community Champion), Brothers of Charity, Carol Metcalf (Leyland Netball League) and Stephen Wilson-Heywood (Jack K Johnstone Foundation)
• Special Certificate: ALFI TURNER, 9, for dedication to his community by litter-picking.