Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing praises voluntary efforts
Epping Forest District Council’s Citizen of the Year and the two people who received high commendations are “perfect examples of what the Big Society really means,”according to MP Eleanor Laing.
Mrs Laing congratulated Citizen of the Year Margaret Lawrance who volunteers with Loughton Voluntary Care and Sheila Shelbourne (Home-Start Epping Forest) and Ron Stone (Lambourne End Outdoor Centre) who received high commendation awards at the Epping Forest District Council civic awards.
Mrs Laing said: “All three people deserve enormous thanks from the local community. They are perfect examples of what the Big Society really means.
“I particularly congratulate Margaret on winning this prestigious award. She has done tremendous work over the years and thoroughly deserves this recognition.”
Mrs Laing described Young Citizen of the Year Cody Smart – who was honoured for his musical talent which he has used to raise over £32,000 for charity - as “wonderfully talented”.
Mrs Laing said: “I’ve got to know Cody very well over this last year because I’ve seen him so often when he is either raising money for his charities or playing his magnificent and very personal musical style.
“He is wonderfully talented and I know he has a terrific future ahead of him.”
Mrs Laing also congratulated district councillor Stephen Murray who received a special award marking his 30 years as a local councillor.
Mr Murray is the longest-serving member of Epping Forest District Council having first been elected in 1982.
He has served as leader of a political group, held many senior positions but always asserted his independence.
His citation said: “He has always been guided by his conscience, bringing a fearless determination to speak in support of, or against, the debate. He is respected as a man of personal modesty, principle and wisdom across the council chamber.”
Mr Murray was first elected to the council in the Broadway ward of Loughton. Following boundary changes Mr Murray, a teacher at Roding Valley High School, has represented Loughton Roding since 1998.
Mrs Laing said: “Service to our local community is about more than just party politics and I’m delighted to see Stephen Murray recognised for the tremendous work he does and has done for three decades for the people he represents.”
Photo: Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing (centre) with Citizen of the Year Margaret Lawrance (left) and Voluntary Action Epping Forest chief officer Jacqui Foile