Brightlingsea has featured strongly in the annual Pride of Tendring Awards, with John and Pat Eaton of Brightlingsea First Responders, Royal British Legion member George Stevens and Brightlingsea In Bloom gaining recognition for their community efforts.

The awards are run by Tendring District Council (TDC) and have the support of the Clacton, Frinton and Walton Gazette and the Harwich and Manningtree Standard.  The awards are aimed at highlighting those stalwarts from all walks of life who make a real difference to others in the community. This year, for the first time, the Council is also recognising community groups as well as individuals.

All Tendring District Councillors were given the chance to put forward their own nominations earlier this year. As always they represent a wide variety of groups and organisations throughout the area.

TDC Chairman Val Guglielmi said: “It is a time of the year when we are able to celebrate the fantastic community spirit we have in Tendring and recognise the achievements of individual residents and groups. There are so many people, the real unsung heroes, who make such a difference to the lives of many others in so many ways – many of whom are the more vulnerable members of our society.

She added: “The Pride of Tendring Awards allows us the opportunity to say thank you to these people for everything they do to improve the quality of life of those who live around them. It is a small gesture to acknowledge all that they do.”

John and Pat Eaton

Brightlingsea First Responders John and Pat Eaton have been helping to provide the East Of England Ambulance Service with an immediate local response in cases where minutes save lives since they signed up in 2002. John has been co-ordinator since founder John Clarke died five years ago.

The group has been going since 1997 and in 2008 – along with Mersea – was awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. John and Pat have a very calm nature and give excellent encouragement to all the other volunteers who work on a day/night rota, giving a great deal of assurance to members of the public.

George Stevens

George Stevens has lived all but two years of his life in Brightlingsea and was a member of the British Red Cross in the town for 34 years, receiving a certificate to honour 25 years’ service in 1987. For the past 54 years he has been an active member of the Brightlingsea branch of the Royal British Legion – 25 of those to the present day as standard bearer. He has been chairman for 18 years.

George has helped maintain the Memorial Gardens in the town and is responsible for making sure the correct flags are flown at all times. He is also a member of the Brightlingsea branch of the Royal Naval Association; Colchester Guards and was chairman of Clacton Royal Artillery Club until its closure.

Brightlingsea In Bloom

By the mid-1990s Brightlingsea’s community gardens were in disrepair. Protests over live animal exports were deterring visitors to the town and Val Gilders, along with members of Brightlingsea Horticultural Society, stepped into the breach.

They met with Essex County Council and Highways to look into ways of improving the entrance to Brightlingsea and a number of floral displays were agreed. Volunteers created a commemorative garden at the entrance to the town and waterside areas and an area at the community centre was planted with trees and flowers. To date they have picked up 36 national and regional awards for their efforts.

(Edited) News from Tendring District Council