Published on

14 March 2024

Mayor shines a spotlight on community champions

Cllr Beth Rowland presented awards to individuals who were nominated for making a difference in the borough

Mayor's Awards

Acts of bravery, commitment and generosity were honoured by Wokingham Borough Mayor Cllr Beth Rowland, who hosted a special thank you event to celebrate people who have gone above and beyond for their community.

More than 100 people attended the event at The Oakwood Centre in Woodley on Tuesday 12 March, including the winners of the Mayor’s Honour Awards, family, friends and representatives from charities and the voluntary sector.

Cllr Rowland launched the awards in August last year and held three rounds of nominations to search for those who had excelled and deserved to be put under the spotlight.

Dozens of nominations were received and a total of nine winners were chosen. They were invited to the thank you event, where they received a certificate and lapel badge from the mayor, while group winners received a shield and certificate.

Cllr Rowland said: “Firstly, I want to thank everyone who made a nomination. There were lots of amazing stories to come from this year’s awards and that made it much harder to pick a handful of winners. Congratulations to all of our winners. It was lovely to share an evening with them and find out more about the brilliant work they do.

“Many of the individuals who received an award – as well as those who were nominated – don’t seek reward for what they do: they simply do it because they want to make the borough better for everyone. That in itself is exactly the attitude that can be an inspiration to others to take up volunteering or help someone they know, because small gestures make a big difference and deserve to be recognised.”

And the winners are...

  • Ojas Ritesh: For his immense courage saving his sister when caught in a current surfboarding in Cornwall
  • Michael Schult: For his enthusiasm, passion and drive to get more girls playing football in Wokingham Borough through Laurel Park Football Club
  • Freely Fruity: For planting community orchards, gardens and working with schoolchildren, as well as helping borough residents live more environmentally friendly and sustainable lives
  • Edward Clee: For his handyman work with Age UK Berkshire for the last 20 years, supporting the residents of Wokingham, completing approximately 23,000 separate jobs for Wokingham Borough Council and Wokingham Hospital
  • Alex Baker: For ten years of volunteering with Wokingham Libraries, encouraging teens to write with the teen writing group Igniting Writing
Mayor's Awards


  • Lynne Shipton: For her exceptional contribution, working tirelessly to support people diagnosed with breast cancer across Wokingham Borough and beyond following the birth of the charity Chemogiftbags in 2013
  • Julie Riddell: For her work with the NHS over the last 40 years. She has worked at Finchampstead Surgery for the last 23 years, dedicating her life to nursing and caring for others
  • Jack and Cleo Wheatcroft: For their active litter picking all round Three Mile Cross virtually every day, for at the last ten years
  • Diane Darling: For being a volunteer with Citizen’s Advice Wokingham for the last nine years, specialising in benefits, helping residents to improve their understanding of the support available while also being on hand to help to support new staff and volunteers

The Mayor’s Honour Awards is open to adults, children and young people and community groups who work, live, study or provide services in the borough.

Cllr Rowland was accompanied by deputy mayor Cllr Adrian Mather and a speech was given by Richard Davies from Woodley Foodbank, which is the mayor’s charity of the year.

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