2019 Recipient: Matthew Ball
Awarded by Cllr Roderick Hogarth
Matt moved to Sevenoaks 10
years ago and since his arrival has written two books about the history of WW1
and the men named on the Vine War Memorial and the effect of the war on the
people of Sevenoaks. He has created an invaluable resource of historical
information on his website sevenoaksww1.org and he has given his time freely assisting with several school projects.
Last year Matt organised three guided walks/talks on the War Graves at Greatness Cemetery in Sevenoaks to coincide with the 100 year anniversary of the end of WWI, all of which were well attended by local people. He has also undertaken historical research about the Vine War Memorial.
Matt has submitted numerous press articles to Sevenoaks Chronicle and shared his research on social media, with his twitter account @7oaksww1. He also assisted in the arrangement for a Service of Remembrance at the Vine War Memorial in 2014 and through his research managed to make contact with relatives from all over the UK of WW1 soldiers named on the war memorial who lost their lives in the Great War. This resulted in many people visiting the town for the first time in many years. During 2014-2018 Matt has researched the lives of the local men and women involved in WW1 and has shared this information enabling families to learn more about their own history. During 2018 Matt has worked with Sevenoaks Town Council on a project encouraging young people to research and remember those involved in WW1. This involved young people writing a letter to someone who served in WW1 and describing how their contribution has benefited young people today. Some of the resulting letters have been posted on the Sevenoaks Town Council website. And from these letters, it can be seen just how successful this project has been in teaching children about family, local and national history of the period and raising their awareness of the war.
The whole of the local community has benefited through the sharing of his knowledge and the weekly articles he wrote in the Sevenoaks Chronicle.
However, the main beneficiaries are the young people of Sevenoaks whose thirst for historical knowledge has been awakened.
Matt has visited schools and liaised with teachers to bring the past to life in young minds and in doing so he has helped put schools in touch with representatives of the Armed Services and has liaised with local Cadet forces fostering greater communication. Through his sharing of knowledge there has been an increased interest in family history which has in turn benefited inter-generational understanding.
Lastly, but also importantly, his sharing of his research has led to international communication with Sevenoaks, particularly from relatives of former Belgium refugees.
To summarise Matt has:
- Fostered a deeper understanding of the history of WW1 and its effects on the residents of Sevenoaks.
- Engendered an interest in the Great War in young people. Leading to further research of the past and how their relatives formed part of the Nation’s history.
- Brought together different sections of the community who would not necessarily normally come into contract with one another leading to greater understanding and harmony
- Provided invaluable reference resources for future generations
2018 Recipients: Steph Harrison and Breast Cancer Care
Awarded by Cllr Maxine Chakowa
This year the Mayor’s Award was presented to Steph Harrison for her tireless work for Breast Cancer Care not only this year as the Mayor’s charity but also for many years previously.
Steph was instrumental in bringing Pink Week to Sevenoaks raising awareness and thousands of pounds of funds to help those suffering from breast cancer.
During the Mayor’s year of office Steph has worked to provide a more permanent form of assistance for local people by the opening of a weekly Support Group. Funding has been provided by Freemasons to enable this Support Group to be available for three years. Steph and her good friend Ann Ruddle run this providing helpful and welcoming advice and or a listening ear.
Cllr Chakowa said: “There are few people in Sevenoaks who do not know of the Pink Lady and how hard she works for the charity. However I wanted to officially recognise her work in the community.”
2017 Recipient: Simon Lake
Awarded by Cllr Andrew Eyre
Civilian Instructor Simon Lake is the backbone of 2158 Sevenoaks ATC Squadron and has supported it through what has been a difficult year for them with changes to military personnel. He has arranged and coordinated support for events including Mayoral events occasionally at short notice and has led an increase in membership as well as maintaining the support team at the Squadron. I would like to make the Mayor’s Community Award for 2017 to Simon Lake.
2016 Recipients: Norma Lawrie-Hutchings and Chance to Dance
Awarded by Cllr Stephen Arnold
For her 20 year dedication bringing together dancers aged 3 upwards from dancing schools to perform together on a professional sized stage at the Stag Theatre Sevenoaks. In 2015 over 1,200 dancers had the opportunity of performing together enriching their lives.
2015 Recipient: Roni Hollands
Awarded by Cllr Simon Raikes
Roni Hollands started working with people with a learning disability about 15 years ago. She is a RAA accredited artist but has devoted her time in helping vulnerable people to paint just for pleasure.
She has run art classes at Rockdale, for MIND, Beechmont Saturday club and Phab club. She has devoted a considerable amount of time to help people with mental health issues but most of all she has been devoted to people with a learning disability.
The Mayor in presenting the Award stated that “Roni is a lady who is an inspiration to all the people she meets.”