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Civic Awards 2024: Community superstars honoured

Published date

People and organisations who make a genuine difference to the lives of Harlow’s residents were honoured at the 2024 Harlow Civic Awards last week (Thursday 23 May).

The awards are held each year before Annual Council and feature three categories: Citizens of the Year, Sport and Culture and Young Citizens of the Year. Award winners are nominated by members of the public.

This year, awards went to:

Citizens of the Year

June Fleming

June, who is almost 84, came to Harlow from Yorkshire in 1961 and is a trustee of local charity PACT for Autism. She has a wealth of experience in special educational needs and helped to set up the charity, which has been going for 20 years and is well respected in the local community.

Paul Blake

Paul has lived in Harlow for 69 years and started decorating his house with Christmas lights 30 years ago. In recent years he has added to the display he creates and now collects money for local charities from people who come from all over to see his lights, either via JustGiving or Paul’s donation box.

Sport and Culture Awards

Brenda Taylor

Brenda has been teaching dance in Harlow for most of her life, and has run and taught at the Brenda Taylor School of Dance and Performing Arts for almost 60 years. Brenda has always endeavoured to enable Harlow children to access the arts and achieve the very best they can. In 2016 she was awarded a British Empire Medal in the late Queen’s New Year’s Honours List, for her service to dance and the community.

Nicole Murton

Nicole has been dancing since the age of 2 and has performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company as well as numerous professional pantomimes. She has been Principal at Addicted to Dance since 2004 and is dedicated to providing fun and professional dance classes to children and adults alike. Nicole sees it as a great honour to nurture and mentor young dancers in the community.

Donna Harvey

Donna has volunteered at Harlow town FC since 2016, firstly as Match Secretary before taking on the role of Club Secretary. She attends every fixture, home and away, and in 8 years has only missed 4 games. Donna loves the club, its players and supporters and was immensely proud to see Harlow Town win the Thurlow Nunn League Challenge Cup this season.

Harlow Jiu Jitsu

Founded by the late John Hunt, Harlow Jiu Jitsu has taught self-defence, self-discipline, respect for sport and for others to the local community for over 40 years. Having grown over the years to accommodate more students, many of whom started when they were 5 years old and now bring their own children along, the club sees itself as one big family that provides the chance to learn new skills, competes up and down the country and internationally, and has several gold medallists in its ranks.

Risden Wood Youth FC

Risden Wood Youth FC was established in 2007 with the aim of developing players of all abilities from across the whole community. Through the hard work and dedication of the managers, coaches and volunteers, it is now one of the biggest and most progressive clubs in Harlow, and is proud to have established special educational needs football as part of the club with Team Awesome. The club is also involved in raising money for Streets 2 Homes as well as other local and national charities.

Harlow Cricket Club

This historic club dates all the way back to 1774 and recently marked its 250th anniversary. The club is an important focal point within the local community and, whilst it has witnessed so much change in the area since its inception, is still going strong with a dedicated core of local players as well as those who come from outside of Harlow to play. It is one of two senior clubs in Harlow alongside Harlow Town Cricket Club – something that is unique in Essex.

Young Citizens of the Year

Harlow Youth Council

Harlow Youth Council is a locally elected group of 13- to 19-year-olds who live or attend school in the town. As a group, it represents the views and opinions of young people in Harlow and give them a voice on issues that affect them. The youth council, which is politically neutral and not affiliated to any political party, is committed to supporting young people and helping to bring about positive change.