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News | Celebrate Maidstone Meet the pride of our town

VOLUNTEERS stole the show as the Jubilee Church hosted its largest ever Celebrate Maidstone awards ceremony at the Kent County Showground, Detling.

The new venue for the annual spectacle, now in its third year, meant 380 people could enjoy a three-course meal and entertain- ment. The award schemewas set up by

a group of volunteers at Jubilee Church under the charity Restoring Hands to champion Maidstone’s multitude of inspirational figures. This year’s focus was on volun-

teers, with Voluntary Action Maid- stone chief executive Charlotte Osborne-Forde giving a speech. More than 150 volunteers helped ensure the event ran smoothly. New Line Learning Dance Group, Creative ArtsAcademy and Vita La Groove treated the audi- ence to live dance and music per- formances, while pupils from Mid Kent College took care of the cater- ing. A panel of independent judges

chose the following winners of the eight awards from a list of nomina- tions.

Sports and performing arts – Bubbles Swim Club Agroup of about 30 volunteers who give up their time on Tues- days, Thursdays and Saturdays to enable children and young adults with learning and physical dis- abilities to swim. (Runner-up: Julia Giles; nominees: Donna Carr, Steven Grantham, MarkWells).

Clubs and charities – David Reay Amember of Maidstone Samari- tans for 20 years and former direc- tor of the Maidstone andWeald branch. The gifted musician regu- larly plays at functions promoting the charity. (Nominated: Bill and Margaret Milner, Roger and Car- ole Smith, Colin Trelfer, Christine Allen, Eve Bradshaw)

Education – Vianne Gibbons Cover supervisor at St Augustine Academy and chairman of Loose Parish Council. Vianne’s passion is

From left, David Reay, Vianne Gibbons, Jack Gregory, Geraldine Brown and Endel White

teaching food technology. (Run- ner-up: Molly Tipples; nominated: Doreen Larkin, Lucy Arnott).

Next generation (under 16s) – Jack Gregory Leads a group of anti-bullying ambassadors at his school, St Simon Stock, and internationally, where he has addressed EU mem- bers about the problems young people face with bullying. (Run- ner-up Ronnie Pickup; nominated: Emily Jung)

Wildlife and ecology – Endel White Volunteer within the Kenward Trust Garden Enterprise, a plant nursery and wood work centre in the grounds of the rehabilitation

centre in Yalding. (Runner-up: SteveWright; nominated: John and Gil Brook, Peter Payne, Jenny Gibb).

Impact – Geraldine Brown Chairman of Yalding Parish Coun- cil for the past 20 years. Instru- mental in the communication and clear-up efforts during and after the Christmas floods in the vil- lage. (runner-up: Pat Thomas; nominated: Jenny Lloyd, Abigail Hogg).

Neighbour – Laraine Saliman Volunteers as a governor at Oaks Academy primary school, off Sut- ton Road. Spends a day aweek at the school library reading books, many of which she has donated,

to children who can’t read.Well- known for her care for people and pets in the area. (Runner-up: Jacquie Day; nominated: Judith Cannacott, Jacquie Day, Marilyn McMahon, Geraldine Brown)

Lifetime achievement – Mike FitzGerald Former mayor, borough and parish councillor who devised the World Custard Pie Throwing Championships in Coxheath in 1967.Helped set up MAPS, linking charities and organisations in Park Wood. Chairman of the trustees of Fusion Healthy Living Centre in ParkWood and chairman of Maid- stone Christian Care, a charity dedicated to helping the homeless and hungry in Maidstone.


From left, Laraine Saliman, Bubbles Swim Club and Mike FitzGerald

Light suit dancers put on an impressive display at the award ceremony 10 Maidstone Town April 2014

Dan Maudhub and Neil Pattison hosted the gala event

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