Three special winners of the Lord Mayor’s Award

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Three local people who work tirelessly behind the scenes to benefit others have received Lord Mayor’s Awards in recognition of all they do.

The annual award scheme, which is in its 21st year this year, honours people who go the extra mile to help others. They are nominated by members of the public, and the final judging is made by a cross-party panel of city councillors.

This year’s winners and their citations in summary are:

Gillian Grainger. Gillian has been an advisor at Canterbury District Citizens Advice for more than 27 years. During this time it is estimated she has helped more than 4,500 people. Gillian always strives to ensure clients are treated fairly and her waspish sense of humour goes a long way in keeping up morale when battling unending benefit delays, threats from bailiffs and employment issues. She is greatly admired by both staff and colleagues alike.

Marian Russell. Marian has been volunteering with Canterbury Food Bank since it started in 2013 and leads a team at the warehouse who pack all of the food parcels. Another of her roles is to send lovely thank you emails and handwritten letters to supporters who make donations. Previously, Marian has helped at distribution cafes and at the soup cellar project in Whitstable, offering free soup to anyone who would like some.

Steve Sproston. Steve has built, and continues to grow, an amazing community resource in the Canterbury Bike Project. He developed it to engage students that have challenges with mainstream education, working with young people through schools, and now also runs workshop sessions in the evening with the public, ex-military personnel and local mental health charities. He also repairs bikes for free, loans out bikes and runs cycle marking sessions – all to help people fall in love with cycling.

The Lord Mayor of Canterbury, Cllr Terry Westgate, said: “We had a very tough time deciding the winners this year, such was the outstanding quality of the dozens of nominations we received. But that doesn’t surprise me, as I’ve met so many inspiring volunteers at engagements across the district over the last six months.

“Congratulations to all three winners on their richly-deserved success.”

The awards were presented at Tower House last Thursday (17 October).