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Local community celebrated at City Council ceremony

Special award presented to the RBL Carlisle & Stanwix Branch. The photograph was presented to Major Paul Chandler who is the President of the branch and other branch representatives.

Local community champions have been recognised for their achievements at a Carlisle City Council Community Awards presentation, held at the Shepherd’s Inn last night (Wednesday, 13 March).

The awards have been the highlight of the Civic Dinner since 2002 and this year’s winners are:

Celia and Paul Diggle

Celia and Paul Diggle both live in Wetheral. Paul helped develop the Wetheral Community Association (WCA) and has been a Director for almost 10 years. Under his leadership, WCA has managed the building and now the purpose-designed community hall for Wetheral. The project has taken a number of years and it is to the huge credit of Paul and his fellow-directors that it has been seen through from beginning to end.

The hall has now been open for four years. It offers a wide range of facilities and activities for Wetheral and the wider community and most importantly it has proved itself financially viable.

The project has taken 15 years, and without Paul’s imagination, drive and sheer hard work, it would never have been achieved. Paul continues his active involvement in WCA, which owns and runs the hall and many other important facets of village life, such as the annual village fete, held in the summer, and the village show, held in the autumn each year.

Celia has been fully involved in the project since its inception, but her influence and input have become clear since the hall opened. She has used her considerable artistic talent to give immeasurable enrichment to the ambience of the hall. Those who come to evening events are likely to find things such as table decorations, wall hangings and coloured lighting, which turn a badminton hall into a tasteful and atmospheric venue for cultural events.

Those who call in by day will find the lobby decorated with framed photographs and paintings and fitted out with brightly coloured seating. Celia has also overseen the introduction to the hall of artistic events of many varieties, including drama, music, art exhibitions and children’s entertainment. All the events are gathering their own followings and are now established parts of the hall’s calendar. She adds her own enthusiasm and hard work to numerous village events, including the fete, the Christmas fair and many others. Celia continues to develop Paul’s work and ensures that the benefits can be shared by the whole community.

This award is for a husband and wife team who have been willing to put their talent and enthusiasm, separately and together, into the life of the Wetheral community. It is no exaggeration to say that social life

in the village has been transformed in the last 15 years and that much of the credit for that lies with Celia and Paul.

Paul and Kerry Donaldson

Paul and Kerry Donaldson both work and care for their disabled daughter, Emily. Emily has complex needs, but one would never know, as Paul and Kerry are amazing parents who provide such a fun, challenging, learning environment for her to grow, like every other child. About three years ago, they set up Carlisle Cult Cinema Club. This meets once a month at Harraby Community Campus. Not only does this give everyday people a chance of seeing films on the big screen, which they may not otherwise have, but it is a fun evening with raffles and socialising. It is also very reasonably priced. People attend these evenings, who may not otherwise have a social life. It gives them a chance to meet likeminded people and feel as though they really do belong to a community.

Then about 18 months ago, Kerry set up “Carlisle Litterbug Initiative”. Like many people, Kerry was becoming distressed and disheartened about the amount of litter being dropped, especially if it were near rivers, where it may reach our oceans. Instead of just moaning about this, she got up and did something about it. The Litterbug Initiative has grown, via its Facebook Page. Suggestions are made as to which areas to clean. Then people meet and spend a few hours litter picking. It is amazing how empowering this can feel. That, literally ANYONE can really make a difference to any area of our beloved city. Carlisle City Council have been very kind in lending out equipment e.g. hi viz vests, litter picking equipment and bags, but it’s been great fun. Again, this has proved to be a social event too, as regular people turn up to each litter picking event and friendships have been formed.

They have created a safe space for people, who may under everyday conditions, feel socially awkward, to not only meet up and interact, but to make our city a better place. They genuinely have created a sense of community and a sense of what can be achieved when people stop moaning, get together and start working for the greater good.

Kim Trotter and Billie Percival

Both winners work at Carlisle Trampoline Club which has been based at Yewdale Community Centre more or less since the day it opened back in 1992 some 27 years ago. This is the only facility in the City that can coach from beginners through to National level ability in Trampolining. The club has many volunteers and support however the ongoing success is due in most part to the main coaches Kim Trotter and Billie Percival.

Kim started trampolining as a child at Yewdale Community Centre and progressed over the years to become a coach. She coaches trampoline sessions four days a week at the centre and coaches’ children most Saturdays at the community centre as an unpaid volunteer. She dedicated many hours to coaching as well as bringing up her family and working as an NHS community nurse. Many of the children she has coached over the years have or currently compete in the Regional and National Competitions.

She also mentors some of the children who have an ambition to become coaches themselves many of which we employ as junior coaches or Trampoline Assistants at the community centre.

Billie coaches many of the sessions at the centre and mentors the young coaches and assistants. She dedicates hours of unpaid volunteer time to coaching as well as bringing up a small child herself. Billie has expanded the trampoline sessions at Yewdale Community Centre and has introduced sessions to toddlers and adults as well as to children with learning difficulties and disabilities to great success making trampolining a sport available to all regardless of ability and age. She organises sessions in partnership with schools around the district and puts on dedicated sessions for Yewdale Primary School each week.

She also organises and runs trampoline camps during school holidays too. Many of the children she coaches alongside Kim have progressed to regional and National competition level.

They both work selflessly for their sport and the community which is their passion and are continuously fund raising in order to purchase everything from trampolines to mats to keep the club going.

Michael Pearson

Michael Pearson has served the community of Carlisle and the wider community of North Cumbria over many years with his involvement as Trustee of Hospice at Home Carlisle and North Lakeland for 10 years followed by a further five years as Chairman of the Charity raising vast amount of money for this charity.

He is Chairman of the Cumberland Building Society Charitable Foundation which supports various community activities in Carlisle and Cumbria. He is a past President of the Rotary Club of Carlisle and is its current Chairman of Community and Club Projects Committee which raises money for various charities in the Carlisle District.

Michael has in the past been a Governor at Stanwix School, Church Warden at St Michael’s Church Stanwix, and Publicity Chairman for the first Great Cumbria Run which raised vast amount of money for various charity organisations both locally and nationally. Michael was a member of Carlisle Retailers Foot and Mouth Recovery Committee and is currently on the Friends of Carlisle Cathedral Committee and also Finance Committee of the Friends of Carlisle Cathedral.

For his work in the local community he was awarded the international Paul Harris Fellow for Rotary. Michael has been a wonderful champion for his community.

David Wilson

A former postman, David has walked, worked and lived in Currock and Upperby area for most of his life. To walk the streets with David is to rarely arrive at your destination on time, not because he has slowed his pace in any way but more because any number of people will recognise him from any number of community activities.

As a trustee of Petteril Bank community centre he has taken a very active role in all aspects of running the sight. This includes opening up, setting up, taking bookings, supporting colleagues and making sure the centre remains at the heart of the local community. He runs the weekly Petteril Bank bingo night and has a dedicated following in the bingo group.

For most people volunteering and running groups at a community centre would be enough but David also volunteers his time with other community groups including the committee of Upperby parish hall, and a regular attender at the Friends of Hammond’s pond meetings.

It can be easy just to turn up to meetings, but David takes an active role in supporting these groups such as; organising fundraising events for the parish hall to keep it running; or volunteering to help at Hammonds ponds community centre.

David Wilson is a former City Councillor and Mayor of Carlisle but regardless of position or responsibility he has always been and continues to be a servant of his local community.

Cath Wilson and Colin Carter

Colin and Cath have been staunch supporters of the Mayor’s Charity Committee for many years.

They have raised money through their organising of Valentine’s Balls and Cath has personally done a sky dive to raise money and awareness of the Mayor’s Charity fund.

These events have raised more than £25,000 and over the years they have also raised funds for other good causes in the community. The overall figure they have raised for the community is estimated at £70,000.

This year apart from organising a Valentine’s Ball for the Mayor’s Charity Fund they are also fundraising for the Hospice in memory of Tony Hopper. All this fundraising is done in their spare time while working full time and despite difficult personal circumstances.

Royal British Legion, Carlisle & Stanwix Branch

Our next winners are receiving a special award and it goes to the Royal British Legion, Carlisle & Stanwix Branch.

Prior to 2006, there were two separate branches of the Royal British Legion in Carlisle. The founding branch was Carlisle and Branch generally supporting the City and the younger branch was the Stanwix and St Ann’s Branch for the areas north of the Eden. In 2005, it was agreed that the 2 branches should amalgamate to form the Carlisle and Stanwix Branch that we know today.

The new branch has flourished with a completely new committee, although members of the old committees watched and advised as the new committee developed and became more experienced. The first Branch President was Major Peter Farmer, former Mayor of Carlisle and the first Branch Chairman was Mrs Irene Stephenson, both from the Carlisle Branch. All the other committee members were new appointees.

Records show that in the year prior to that amalgamation, the 2 former Branches collectively raised about £38,000 for the annual Poppy Appeal in the Carlisle area.

At the meeting held in January 2006 to formally amalgamate the branches and form the new committee, Mr Colin Wadsworth was elected as the Poppy Appeal Organiser for the newly formed Branch. It is a matter of fact that Colin took on the logistical aspects of the Poppy Appeal and his wife Margaret helped with the administration.

That duo, supported throughout the year by RBL members and many volunteers, has seen the Poppy Appeal annual total increase year on year. In the first year the total increased from £38,000 to nearly £56,000 until in the Poppy Appeal year ending 30th September 2018, the total has already exceeded £116,000.

This could not have been achieved without major involvement of the Branch members and many supporters and volunteers, including local Rotary Clubs, Women’s Institutes and other organisations and companies across Carlisle.

However, the British Legion in Carlisle isn’t all about fund raising. As the national Custodians of Remembrance, the Carlisle and Stanwix Branch has been at the forefront in organising and supporting Remembrance events and major anniversaries Every year members of the Women’s Section ensure that every war grave in Carlisle Cemetery is marked with a fresh Remembrance Cross, likewise at Stanwix Cemetery and at Harraby. For a number of years, the Branch has organised the School Children’s Remembrance Service – so important in ensuring that the fallen in conflict are never forgotten. In 2018, members of the branch, together with the County Council organised the County Remembrance event in Rickerby Park to mark the centenary of end of the First World War. The Branch also established the

Memorial Garden outside St Cuthbert’s Church and has organised Carlisle’s annual Festival of Remembrance.

Added to all this is the welfare work that goes on behind the scenes in a quiet and confidential manner. By the end of November 2018, it was confirmed that the Carlisle and Stanwix Branch, under the guidance and inspiration of Colin and Margaret Wadsworth, and with the help of its volunteers and members, had raised more than £1 million since its formation in 2006.

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