Chichester residents receive civic awards

Award recipients from the left Enzo Macari, Roderick Fennell, Jean and Paddy Rist, Lois Peake, Aiden Skinner,  Chichester Mayor Tony French, Andy Barnes, Margaret Brown and Reverend Ken Benjamin.'''C120187-1 Chi feb9 Civic Awards  Photo Louise Adams
Award recipients from the left Enzo Macari, Roderick Fennell, Jean and Paddy Rist, Lois Peake, Aiden Skinner, Chichester Mayor Tony French, Andy Barnes, Margaret Brown and Reverend Ken Benjamin.'''C120187-1 Chi feb9 Civic Awards Photo Louise Adams

People who help make the city a fantastic place have been thanked for their dedication at Chichester City Council‘s Civic, Heritage and Young Citizens Awards.

Winners were presented with certificates at a ceremony in the Assembly Rooms on Monday.

Mayor Tony French said the humbling evening recognised people who had ‘given more than they really should do’.

Andy Barnes, who founded the business Game, Set and Match joked his ashes would be thrown over Priory Park when he collected his award for his contributions to sport.

Described as a leading figure and a driving force at Chichester Priory Park Cricket Club and Chichester Hockey Club for many years, Mr Barnes is a coach and has been a player with regional, national and international recognition, and someone who has helped thousands of young sportspeople.

Cllr Peter Budge said: “He is a truly exceptional man and a wonderful ambassador to sport in the city.”

Also receiving an award was Reverend Ken Benjamin of Chichester Baptist Church in Parklands. Originally from London, he studied economics, then worked in retail, then completed a second degree in theology, moving to Chichester to become minister in 1996 with wife Sue.

Cllr Clare Apel said Rev Benjamin was very well liked and described him as a ‘great spiritual enabler’ who led from the front. He has doubled the congregation and boosted volunteer numbers for a number of causes including the annual NOISE project.

Cllr Apel said he had made the church a vibrant part of the community and that he and his team were always there to help.

“Sixteen years later I feel very much part of this city,” he said.

“It’s a privilege to accept the award on behalf of the church I serve. As a church I feel it’s very much part of putting faith into action to be helpful and contribute to the life of the city.”

Margaret Brown received an award for her work with twinning group Friends of Chartres, as well as supporting guides and schools in Chichester. A former lecturer at Chichester College, she retired after contracting the debilitating condition ME.

She became involved in the community after her husband Ray, a former governor at Lancastrian Infant School asked her to note take at a meeting.

At one point she was editor, secretary and chairman of the Friends’ newsletter all at once and under her influence the group set up the successful schools art competition with Pallant House Gallery.

Mrs Brown said she was gobsmacked and dumbfounded about the award and that people were the key.

“To Ray and I people are really, really important this city. It has been a joy to be part of this city.

“People are important and when I was mayoress I had the great privilege to go around meeting so many great people. Chichester is a fantastic place to live.”

Rod Fennell, development coordinator at the New Park Centre was recognised for his role at the helm of a project to update its facilities, a project which he said was currently on time and on budget.

He got involved through his love of cinema and said he hoped it was an ongoing story. Paddy and Jean Rist joined community transport group Contact 88 in 1990 as volunteer drivers and since then have been key members of the team.

Paddy was chairman until he retired last year and with their help passenger numbers and volunteer numbers have increased.

Orion Developments (Southern) Ltd was presented with the heritage award for its restoration of the Buttermarket.

The company’s Enzo Macari said: “We have been honoured to be involved in the restoration of this important building.”