Mayor of Kingston recognises outstanding individuals in the community at prestigious awards


Twelve community-minded locals were honored by Councillor Julie Pickering, Mayor of the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, at the prestigious annual community awards, held on Tuesday 13th March.

Twelve community-minded locals were honored by Councillor Julie Pickering, Mayor of the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, at the prestigious annual community awards, held on Tuesday 13th March.

The event at Guildhall was held to thank local organisations for all the good work they carry out relentlessly in the the borough and present awards to individuals whose service to the community is worthy of special recognition.

Mayor of Kingston, Councillor Julie Pickering said: “I am honoured to have presented these individuals with their awards. There’s a huge amount of community spirit in Kingston and the Community Award ceremony is a time to reflect this, both by celebrating those receiving an award this year and remembering all in Kingston who go that extra mile to help our local community thrive.

“Each and every one of these individuals have made huge difference to their communities. Thank you to all.”

This year, the winners were:

Timothy Blackburn, in his role as Chair of Kingston Children in Care Council, he has been a fervent campaigner for ensuring looked after young people and those leaving care get their voices heard and their views help shape services and deliver better outcomes for this group of young people.

Andrew Connolly from The Kingston Pound Community Interest Company. He was awarded for an attempt to create a better community and support local businesses. Kingston Pound is a digital currency that allows its members – participating residents and businesses – to trade between one another instead of using Sterling.

Jay Dodia a local shop owner has been a huge advocate for the small shopping parade and worked with the other traders to build local trade. Together with his family, Jay offered friendly and helpful support to the local community by accepting deliveries on their behalf and holding house keys for people who were out at work but wanted to provide access to tradesmen.

Marcus Dyke was successfully elected as National UK Youth Parliament Member for the Borough of Kingston. Marcus is an active member of the Kingston Youth Council in 2016 and was recognised for his ongoing involvement in the council, his passion and commitment to his role and his confidence in putting himself forward to represent Kingston on a national level.

Fiona (Noni) Farrelly, together with her husband, founded Growbaby alongside Kingston Vineyard in 2003. Growbaby provides baby clothes and equipment for 0-5’s, free of charge, regardless of income, faith or background. Since it opened its doors it has served thousands of families in the borough.

Clare Jefferies makes a real difference to people’s lives through her voluntary work, having established a range of nine community social events each month in the borough for older people, including small tea parties in her office. The tea parties have grown in size over the past seven years and Clare now organises quarterly afternoon tea at Warren House in Kingston giving older people, particularly those affected by dementia, a date in the diary to look forward to.

Robert Markless joined Kingston Group for Racial Understanding after moving to Kingston in 1985 and has been an active volunteer representing Kingston Liberal Synagogue, working both to get people from the borough’s diverse communities to come together and to oppose all forms of racial discrimination. Robert also volunteers as a teacher at the Kingston Liberal Synagogue acting as a Barmitzvah Coach and has successfully taught over 125 pupils since 1995.

Frances Marsh’s work in the community began in 2009 with the concept of the Residents' Association in Raby Road. For five years, Frances also played a key role in the organisation of the New Malden Farmers’ Market. This market, aside from encouraging local residents to support small businesses, has given a voice and platform to many small community organisations and charities, raising over £10,000 in the process for groups such as the Air Ambulance, KCAH, Yorda Adventures,CIC and Express CIC.

Alison McWhinnie is a longstanding Metropolitan Police Volunteer and in 2017 was awarded Volunteer of the Year by Lord Bernard Hogan-Howe, the then Metropolitan Police Commissioner. Alison also serves her community through Neighbourhood Watch and is involved in many other activities within the community, including developing stronger links between businesses and the police, fundraising with many different charities within the Borough, as well as raising awareness of health issues, safety issues and community concerns by getting involved with the Surbiton Festival, Turn it on Surbiton, Surbiton Farmers Market and the Surbiton Wildlife.

Belinda Paul is a professional musician who performs with leading period instrument orchestras, the Globe and National Theatre, and her own chamber groups, through which she is involved in the amateur scene around the country. She runs the very popular Canbury Bandstand Concerts in the borough, encouraging local and youth groups to participate.

Jonathan (known as Ben) Qulliam over the years gone above and beyond the call of duty to enable so many young people that pass through the cadet force are given the opportunities, skills and chances they would never have been able to get. He has shown an exemplary and commendable level of dedication in the moulding of so many young people, offering, one to one support relating to their personal lives, delivering military lessons to develop training and has been the backbone of the Kingston Detachments for over 2 years.

Helen Shipp, a community minded and caring person who took it upon herself to be the champion for the area of Tolworth Broadway, Surbiton, where she lives. For the past fifteen years, she has put an enormous amount of her time and energy into improving conditions. She will be seen regularly walking the street, inspecting, litter picking and reporting any issues to the council, ward councillors and the police.

A group award was presented to Macmillan Centre volunteers Ranjan Patel, Eliza Wade, Gabrielle Bain, Juliet Barker, Linda Haines, Helen Green, Deirdre Bradley, Manisha Arora and Albert Dutoit who have all been volunteering at Kingston Hospital. Clinicians at the hospital send their patients to the centre because they feel that not only have their patients benefited physically, but the therapies and volunteers have helped them on the road to recovery, both mentally and emotionally. This service simply cannot run without the time, dedication, care, kindness, generosity and above all professionalism of the team of wonderful volunteers. 

A Mayor’s Special Joint Commendation is also being presented to Ben Longhurst and Edward Paterson, at Leander Sea Scouts. Ed and Ben have both been long-standing members of Leander Sea Scouts at its Riverside Headquarters in Lower Ham Road. In September last year, their bravery and commitment contributed to saving a man’s life at the Kingston riverside. Police Chief Superintendent Sally Benatar, Kingston Borough Commander, expressed her thanks to Ed and Ben for the assistance given.