Knebworth Response Team Volunteer and Community Awards 6th September 2020

We were so very proud to have our first volunteer and community awards event on Sunday 6th September 2020 at Knebworth House Park as the guests of Henry and Martha Cobbold.

Happily the weather was cool but kind to us and over 120 people came to celebrate our work, our volunteers and our local shops and businesses.

certificate

Our proud “Excellence” award winners were presented with a scroll. Our “Knebworth Together Community Award” winners were presented with a gold framed certificate and local Lessiters luxury chocolate and as at the moment we don’t make champagne in Knebworth we used Moet. Our “Above and Beyond” winners were given a gold framed certifcate, chocolates and champagne.

So the day started at 12.30pm with us making sure we were safe and compliant with our Insurance Company rules and the Government rules. Tables loaned to us by Trinity Church were carefully sanitised. We then set up our awards and drinks tent.

Our volunteers their family and friends  arrived and our marshals, Steve Crome, Lisa Nash and Neil Michaelson made sure every family was socially distanced, and were issued with a safety leaflet and name badge. All of the awards were sanitised and put on a sanitised tray.

Stephen Crome looked spiffy in his KRT Marshal cap and hi-vis jacket.

At around 2pm our lovely guests arrived and set up their socially distanced picnics.

Et Voila ! Off we went! Councillor Steve Deakin-Davies launched the awards as the master of ceremonies. SDD introduced the Chair of the Knebworth Response Team. Renata Crome Chair of the KRT. Who welcomed our guests and explained how we were making the event as safe as possible.

The first person to give out the “Excellence” awards was Kate Dickinson, the Command Team Head of On-line and Phone services. Kate’s team took hundreds of calls and emails and hundreds of mask orders. She gave awards to Rob Smith and Hugh and Judy Smith.

Our next “Excellence” award presenters were Neil Michaelson Command Team Head of medicines and shopping collection and Linda Graham who was the KRT’s vital point person working with Lloyds pharmacy. Our pharmacy liaison manager.

Neil and Linda announced the “Excellence” award winners, Jane Oliver and Henry Robertson who were both outstanding in making sure local folk got the medicine and supplies they needed. Sadly Henry, who was our youngest volunteer could not be with us as he competing in a national shooting competition final, we have made sure Henry got his scroll.

Our next award presenter was Councillor Lisa Nash Command Team Head of  Volunteers and co-sponsor of the Knebworth Response Team.

Ruth Burr won her “Excellence” award for organising the team that has managed the delivery of around 30,000 newsletters to our local people. The newsletters were highly regarded by the significant number of our older folk who did not have the internet.

Lizzie Jeanes “Excellence” award winner for her work in setting up our “Befriender” friendly ear service and for her help in making Link-Up on wheels work so well.

Lisa also announced an “Excellence” award to Julia Cooke who was not able to be with us today and then handed over to Renata to announce the next “Excellence” awards.

These awards were given to those persons who had made an incredible effort and gave freely of the time to see that safe masks and filters were made and delivered to us here in Knebworth. Over 500 masks made by volunteers and the WI. Renata gave special mention to Jenny Utting and Joy Hall for their amazing and selfless work. Our volunteer mask people spent over 600 hours making masks for the local people.

The award winners were Julie Targett and Jason Walker.

Jason delivered a huge number of masks, on his bike, from Datchworth to Old Knebworth and from Codicote to Welwyn, what a star!

Julie Targett who was not able to be with us won her “Excellence” award for cutting out nearly every mask we made, 500 of them, she cut out well over 1,000 mask material parts. Imagine that…

The next award category was the KRT “Knebworth Together Community Awards”. These awards recognised the local people, shops and businesses that help keep us and Knebworth running during lock down and have helped all of us have a better community over many years.

The award winners were:

Kathy Cole, Chair of the Link-Up Club, she and her team managed the transition to the hot home meals service Link-Up On Wheels which cooks and delivers hot food to around 35 local folk per week. Link-Up has been with us in Knebworth since the 1980’s.

Darren Gilbert was our next KRT “Knebworth Together” award winner for his amazing work in organising community spirit events in Knebworth over many years and for his wonderful help in making Link-Up On Wheels the success it has become.

Another KRT  “Knebworth Together” award winner was Paul Robertson of Triographics Ltd who could not be with us as he was away supporting his son Henry in the shooting competition. Paul has printed 30,000 newsletters for us, to tight schedules and never let us down. He also delivers our newsletters in his own patch. We could not have helped so many people without his dedication.

Ashley Smith and the COOP team got their award for making sure we knew what food was available, being kind and helpful in tough times and being a jewel in our high street for years.

Toby Akindele and the magnificent Lloyds pharmacy team deserve all our thanks and especially from us at the KRT. They worked very closely with us to make sure people who were locked down in their homes got the medicines they needed. They displayed incredible resolve in helping all of us.

Dogan (Don) Sahin and his wife Sakine who became Facebook stars when local people in Stockens Green gathered outside his shop Knebworth Stores to thank and salute them both. Dogan and Sakine kept all of us that live in that area of Knebworth going during the lockdown and this award is richly deserved.

Anjana Odedra of Village News near the railway station was outstanding in helping and supporting all of us in lockdown. She and her team kept us supplied with vital supplies when the supermarkets come under so much pressure.

Derek with his bread stand outside of the Lytton Arms pub was so kind and generous to us here at the KRT. He raised £1,000 in donations for us which meant we could use the money and our expertise to get Link-Up on wheels operational. Derek was away selling bread in Cambridge but we made sure he got his award. Thank you so much Derek.

Paul Elleston and the great people of Trussells are so deserving of our KRT “Knebworth Together Community Award” the years they have been here for us, winning so many awards and being real friends to the Knebworth Community, even providing us with fresh Veg when the other stores did not have it in stock, thats dedication to our community.

The next category of awards was the “Above and Beyond” awards, recognising the total effort, selflessness and dedication people gave to the KRT in the most dismal of times. These people are truly outstanding.

Linda Graham: for the hundreds of hours she put in to make sure people had their medicines, on-time, often as an emergency delivery, and setting up and running the medication database, she was an inspiration.

Elise More for the hundreds of hours she commited to us, setting up and managing our volunteer database, organising mask makers and supplies, washing material, delivering it and all the components to mask makers, taking and tracking orders and making sure masks and filters got delivered.

Frankie Mortimore, our vital web sorter outer…. she gave her time for free, to us, to help, out of a sense of compassion for others. The website you are looking at these pictures on was made by Frankie. Frankie couldn’t be with us so we will make sure she gets her award and champagne.

The final above and beyond awards went to Kate Dickinson and Neil Michaelson who stepped up to the mark during the lock down and uncertainty of how bad the Covid-19 virus could be. None us  knew, and to some extent we still don’t but they were both there when we needed dedication, ideas and sheer hard work.

Kate Dickinson “Above and Beyond” award winner 2020

Neil Michaelson “Above and beyond” award winner 2020. Check out Neils KRT custom top hat to go with his award.

In a break to our script Cllr Steve Deakin-Davies (Command Team Head of Operations and Finance. Co-sponsor of the KRT) interrupted proceedings to give a special award for leadership to Renata Crome, to recognise the doggedness, argument stopping and being the grumpy person antidote she has been for the last 6 months and as a reminder that we need her as our boss.

Renata finished off the award ceremony by thanking our wonderful local donors, those that gave £2 and those that gave £4,000.

This money allowed the KRT to grant money to start up the new Link-Up on wheels, to buy PPE for Stepping Stones pre-school and Knebworth Youth Football team, to help Hal Fowler at “waste not want not” to make his people safe, to buy masks and sanitiser for Garden House Hospice, and the Trinity Two Step club, and to provide food and treats for our local Knebworth people via the Stevenage food bank, it was all of you, and the people of Knebworth’s generosity that made that possible.

Finally Renata reminded us all ” We do not know what will happen next with the Covid virus, we hope things do not return to the dark days of lock down, but with all of you and all of us, Knebworth Together, we stand ready to help”.

Thank you all for coming.

Our photographers were Joy and Barry Hall and David Cole, thank you so much for your images. Our PA was very kindly supplied and operated by Rob Wilson.
This article was written by Steve Deakin-Davies.