Say thank you to your community champions at West Norfolk Mayor’s Civic Awards

Julie Austin, a 2013 winner of the Mayor's Civic Awards for Voluntary Service, with Tim Richards (left) who nominated her, and mayor, Barry Ayres, at the launch of this year's awards in Harpley's children's play area

Julie Austin, a 2013 winner of the Mayor's Civic Awards for Voluntary Service, with Tim Richards (left) who nominated her, and mayor, Barry Ayres, at the launch of this year's awards in Harpley's children's play area

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Residents are being urged to say thank-you to those who do the most for others in their communities by nominating them for the Mayor’s Civic Awards for voluntary service.

The awards, which will be presented at Lynn Town Hall next spring, were launched by West Norfolk’s mayor, Barry Ayres, on Tuesday.

And, to mark the occasion, former award winner Julie Austin was presented with a symbolic ‘Thank You’ card in recognition of her work for the community in the village of Harpley.

Mrs Austin was nominated in 2013, having spent four years raising £50,000 to provide and maintain a play area in the village.

She is also Harpley’s Village Games co-ordinator and has helped to look after the village hall, organise events there and set up two community walking groups.

She 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.”

Parish councillor Tim Richards, who nominated Mrs Austin, 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.”

First staged in 1995, the awards aim to recognise and celebrate the valuable contribution made by people who volunteer their time to help others or raise funds for local good causes across the borough.

And Mr Ayres said: “There’s something very uplifting up stories such as Julie’s and remembering that throughout our borough there are people who selflessly 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.

“I would encourage anyone who knows of exceptional people like Julie to consider nominating them for this year’s awards.”

To be considered for an award, nominees must either have been living in West Norfolk, providing voluntary services within the borough, or raising money for charities that work specifically in the borough since January 1, 2012.

Nomination forms are available in the Mayor’s section of the council website, www.west-norfolk.gov.uk, by emailing civics.officer@west-norfolk.gov.uk, or phoning the civic office on 01553 762124.

The closing date for completed forms, which can either be emailed or posted to Civics Officer, King’s Lynn Town Hall, King’s Lynn, PE30 5DQ, is Friday, January 16.

The awards will be presented at the Lynn Town Hall on Wednesday, April 1.