People of Dover awards recognises those who make a positive difference to the town

Thursday, 3 May 2018
A project which has led to pebbles from Dover beach travelling all over the world, a reception class teacher at a primary school and a man who cleared up builder's rubble after it was dumped near his home are among those who have received People of Dover awards.

The awards were organised for the sixth consecutive year by Dover Town Council, but new categories were introduced this year so that more people could be nominated.

The well-attended award ceremony was held on Wednesday evening, 2 May, at the town council offices following the annual town meeting.

New categories for 2018 included best teacher, best local employer and happiest neighbour. Nominations had been short-listed and then put to the public vote. More votes were cast this year than ever before.

But Graham Tutthill, who compered the evening, said there could have been more nominations if people who had submitted them had given more details about why the person or organisation was worthy of an award.

"A few just wrote a single line, saying that they were really great people or worked very hard at what they were doing," he said. "We really do need to know more than that." He encouraged more people to submit nominations next year and to write more about them.

"All the nominees do so much for the town and for the people who live here, and we are very grateful to them all. It is amazing how much good work goes on in Dover, much of it unsung and almost unnoticed."

The best teacher award, presented by Alison Lawrence of East Kent College, went to Philippa McPherson, a reception class teacher at Charlton Primary School. She and her family had specifically returned to Dover so that she could work at the school. Runner-up was Gareth Doodes, headmaster of Dover College.

Dover jeweller John Angell presented the award for best local employer to Maureen Potts of Bradleys solicitors, and the runner-up award went to Dover Town Council.

There were three strong contenders for the Hyper Helper category, with the award going to the Dover Community First Responders, who give up their time to answer emergency calls when an ambulance might be some distance from the patient.

Runners-up were Noel Beamish, who has been involved in a number of projects including the Outreach Centre and the winter night shelter, to benefit less fortunate people in the town, and Community Warden Alison Beaumont. The award was presented by Neil Wiggins.

Amy Nicholas, who received the best ongoing event or project award from Dover Mayor Cllr Neil Rix, said she set up Channel Rocks to encourage children and young people to do something positive during their school holidays.

She started by hiding 20 painted pebbles around the area. Now, thousands of specially decorated pebbles, stones and shells, some containing messages, are found throughout East Kent and beyond, including overseas. People who find them report their discovery on the Channel Rocks Facebook page. Then they take the rock somewhere else and hide it again. There are now nearly 12,000 members.

Runners-up in this category were Christine Walton, of the White Cliffs Branch of the Royal British Legion, and the Dover Walking Festival.

John Fagg, from Oswald Road, won the award for the happiest neighbour after residents nominated him for all the work he does to make their lives brighter, and to clean up the area. His volunteer efforts included restoring large containers of plants and flowers after a builder dumped rubbish all over them in an alleyway between Oswald Road and London Road. The award was presented by Honorary Freeman of Dover Dick McCarthy.

Before each award was presented, the audience watched interviews with the nominees put together by Dover-based video production company Visual Line.
People of Dover awards recognises those who make a positive difference to the town

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