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Harlow’s finest recognised with Civic Awards

Communities / Fri 21st May 2021 at 10:30am

HARLOW Council paid tribute to individuals and organisations that have made outstanding contributions to the local community at last night’s (Thursday 20 May) Annual Council meeting, which began with the 2021 Civic Awards.

Due to the COVID-19 restrictions the awards themselves were handed out on Wednesday and Thursday by the outgoing Chair of the Council, Maggie Hulcoop, in a socially distanced ceremony. Councillors read out details of the winners at last night’s meeting.

This year’s Civic Awards are the first to have been nominated by members of the public.

The awards were given to:

David Tetley Taylor


David was nominated for giving his all to St Mary Magdalen Church over the last year. He has spent many a day cutting the grass in the graveyard making it look loved again, and along with other volunteers has cleared the church roof of moss. Due to his hard work he is making it possible for the church to hold a fete again after several years of not being able to. He does all of this whilst looking after his wife.

Volunteers at Harlow Ethnic Minority Umbrella (HEMU)


The HEMU volunteers help various communities in our town. They assist residents with essential support, general housing advice, completing paperwork, providing clothing and assisting with transportation to attend hospital appointments. They also go above and beyond in supporting vulnerable and shielding patients. HEMU has grown into a formidable yet unassuming team, serving Harlow in very tangible and effective ways.

Nishal Garala


Nishall began a six-year stint as a Harlow youth councillor at the age of 13, working to give the youth a voice that would be heard at the highest levels of the town. Nishall has also represented Harlow’s youth on many forums and committees, and was seen as a key point of contact by many organisation to gain insight into young people’s needs and wishes. He was elected Student Governor of Harlow College, where he attended as a student, and in 2014 was asked by the college to attend the One Young World Summit, representing the UK, alongside 1,000 young people from across the globe who wanted to make a change in their societies. Nishall also sat on the Waterhouse Moor Residents Association as the founding and first Vice-Chair, so he could bring young people into the association’s conversation. Nishall currently works with Harlow Police as a Police Support Volunteer and sits on their Independent Advisory Group, representing Hindus in the local community, to ensure they are fairly represented. Nishall has also run the #BigUpHarlow campaign since 2014, which promotes the town and is one of Nishall’s biggest accomplishments.

Susan McKenzie


Susan is the Unit Leader of the Nursing Cadet Division of St John Ambulance, Harlow. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic she has continued to work for St John and, throughout, has maintained contact with the cadets whilst the unit is unable to meet face to face. She is now running an online meeting night to keep the cadets involved. Before Christmas, she worked to become a trainer, qualified to teach the public-recruited St John Volunteer Vaccinators, and has been employed as a trainer at the Stansted Airport (Raddison Blu) Hypercentre. She has also encouraged the cadets to help out at the hypercentre, giving them the opportunity to gain evidence for their Duke of Edinburgh award.

The staff at Princess Alexandra Hospital


All the staff at the Princess Alexandra Hospital deserve special recognition for the way they have worked through this last year. They have put the health of other people before their own and that of their loved ones. Staff have not been able to see their families or friends, along with doing extra hours under lots of stress to give the best care to all Harlow’s population. Through continued difficult times they continue to work with kindness and empathy for our community. All hospital staff, both clinical and non-clinical, have gone above and beyond to support our town during the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to do so until it ends.

Crosskeys Netball Club


Crosskeys has been embedded in the local community since it was established 40 years ago. In addition to being a place of sport, it is also a place of safety and support for club members and supporters of all ages. Success is measured not only by their place in the league tables, but also by how much they contribute to the local community, mostly through fundraising initiatives, but also through participation in awareness schemes like ‘Knives Not Lives’, that help keep young people safe. The club regularly celebrates the contributions of volunteers – publicly, through awards and nominations, and privately, with positive feedback and small gifts and tokens as appropriate. The club’s ethos is to ensure that money should never be a barrier to participation in sport; to support this, membership costs are kept to a minimum and trips and travel are subsidised either through fundraising (quizzes, raffles, dances) or through profits from tournaments.

Harlow Ballet


While the Playhouse has been closed and regular face-to-face lessons haven’t been able to take place, Michael and Henrietta from Harlow Ballet have opened up their kitchen to run virtual lessons over Zoom. They recognise the importance of fitness and socialisation and routing over these strange times. Claire Hickles, one of the main dance teachers at Harlow Ballet, has also been doing online Zoom classes for all her students; adults and kids, as well as doing volunteer work at Harlow Food Bank and Lister Medical Centre.

Makin’ Steps


Makin’ Steps continues to put the needs of its pupils first and foremost. Having worked tirelessly to provide dance classes on Zoom for everyone who belongs to Makin’ Steps, the team have kept the routine going as much as normal, providing continuous exercise and wellbeing for all students. When restrictions allowed, Makin’ Steps ensured that the centre was COVID-safe, ensuring all measures were addressed. They arranged masterclasses with professionals in the industry through Zoom and ran competitions to keep the children engaged. They even produced a charity single for the Princess Alexandra Hospital, with all proceeds going to PAH. They have really kept the health and wellbeing of the children at the forefront.

Sarah-Jane Marshall


Sarah-Jane is a fitness instructor and teaches Zumba and clubbercise classes. When the first lockdown hit in March 2020, Sarah continued her classes on Zoom for free for the first 12 weeks and was paying for extra costs out of her own pocket. Even now, she charges so little just to be able to pay the costs. Sarah’s commitment to teaching these classes has helped with mental health and wellbeing. She’s kept so many people sane in these crazy times not only with her amazing classes, but with her online get-togethers and thoughtful messages. Sarah even still taught the classes even when she had COVID-19 herself. Sarah is a real inspiration.

Commenting on the awards, Councillor Maggie Hulcoop, said: “In what has been a difficult year or all of us, as one of my last duties as Chair of the Council I was thrilled to be able to hand out Civic Awards to some fantastic people and organisations. Times have been so tough for so many over the past year or so, and yet many of the winners of these awards have continued to go over and above for the community here in Harlow. Each and every one of them should be very proud!

“I would like to thank all the residents that took the time to put forward their nominations for the awards.”

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