Community honoured at Mayor of Havering’s Civic Awards

Mayor honours local heroes
Published: Monday, 22 November 2021

Havering has been honouring its many local heroes at the Mayor’s Civic Awards in recognition of their contribution to the community.

The eclectic line-up of residents was recognised by former Mayor Councillor Michael Deon Burton who served as Mayor between 2019-2020, after the awards were set back a year due to the pandemic.

Among the 25 recipients were:

  • Paralympic swimmer Brock Whiston who has been chosen for the 2022 Commonwealth Games and set three world records at the 2019 World Championships
  • Staff at Havering Volunteer Centre for turning it into a vibrant community hub
  • Parade Marshall Simon Moore for his contribution to organising the Armed Forces Day Parade
  • Netball tutor Viv Allaway – a sporting inspiration, who led pupils to the London Youth Games and continues to coach pupils at Newtons Primary School although retired.
  • Representatives from Take a Knife, Save a Life, the Queen’s Theatre, Havering  Multi-Faith Forum and local businessmen
  • The ceremony was held at Havering Town Hall in the presence of Councillor Michael Deon Burton and present Mayor Councillor John Mylod, whose awards will be made in Spring.

Councillor Michael Deon Burton said:

“It’s a great honour to host the Mayor’s Civic Awards to recognise the many people in our community who have gone above and beyond what they needed to because they care about others. They have stood the test of time and remained committed and supportive during the pandemic.

“My heartfelt thanks and congratulations go out to each and every person.”

Each person received a pin and certificate to acknowledge their achievement.

Shelley Hart with the MayorShelley Hart

Shelley Hart, CEO of Havering Volunteer Centre, said:

“It is an absolute honour. We don’t take it for granted that we will be recognised so to be recognised in this way means a great deal and is a testament to us really.

Shelley, who set up the service from scratch, said:

“In a short space of time we have really excelled. Our philosophy is if you have a strong and thriving voluntary sector, you have a strong and thriving community.”

The centre has responded to emergencies in London such as the 7/7 bombings, Grenfell fire in the past.

Shelley added:“Prior to the pandemic, we had put a disaster recovery plan in place, so we were already one foot in front of everyone and were able to respond quickly when people were out of food and families were dispersed. We were able to adapt our service overnight to crisis support.”

Shelley said that during the pandemic they encountered many lonely people and were able to help 2,900 households, deliver 4,700 prescriptions, checked on and chatted to 350 people and walked 45 dogs.

More recently, the service helped to support the newly-arrived Afghan families. Their appeal resulted in more 1,000 boxes of donations.

Shelley added that some firm friendships have been formed through volunteering.

Rabbi Lee Sunderland, Rev Canon Mike Power and Tariq MahmoodTariq Mahmood

Tariq Mahmood was one of three member of the Havering Interfaith Forum to receive the Mayor’s Civic Award.

Proudly wearing his pin badge, he said:

“It has increased my confidence to continue to do what I am doing. It makes me know I am going in the right direction.”

Mr Mahmood has been part of the forum for the past 20 years and facilitates discussions between the different religious groups that make up the forum.

Along with members Rabbi Lee Sunderland and Rev Canon Mike Power, he was presented with the mayors pin medal and a certificate which he says he will proudly display at the pharmacy where he has worked for the past 35 years.

He said the group have regular discussions to help them understand each other better.

These discussions have focused on issues such as why certain foods are forbidden, why particular clothing is worn and marriage rituals.

“No question is out of bounds and every question is taken seriously,” said Mr Mahmood.