At a ceremony held at St John’s Hall on Tuesday 10 May, Councillors and special guests gathered to celebrate the achievements of local residents and elect a new Mayor and Deputy Mayor for the town.
After a two-year pause due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Brian Spiegelhalter Citizen and Young Citizen of the Year Awards made a comeback for 2022!
The Awards were started in 2004 by the family of the late Brian Spiegelhalter, a previous Mayor of Penzance, to celebrate the work of local people and their important contributions to our Parish community.
For the first time in the Awards’ history, this year’s winners were chosen by fellow residents of the Parish in a public vote. The winners were announced by the Mayor of Penzance and presented with engraved pewter plates kindly provided by BJ Spiegelhalter & Son.
Citizen of the Year
Citizen of the Year was awarded to Neil Eddy, Director of Communities at Mounts Bay Academy, for his tireless work to support local children and their families on top of his official duties at the school.
Last summer he put on a programme to ensure all children were being fed in the school holiday as well as having the opportunity to participate in fun and exciting activities. It was all to ensure that the inequalities children experience in and around Covid was supported, focusing on their health, well-being, and social inequalities.
Unfortunately, Neil was out of the country on the awards night, so his father Richard Eddy accepted the award on his behalf.
Young Citizen of the Year
Young Citizen of the Year was awarded to Elliott Furse from Newlyn for his amazing fundraising work. Elliott was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumour in 2020 and, because of his surgery, he lost his ability to walk and talk. He has spent months in rehabilitation alongside receiving chemotherapy and radiotherapy all whilst fundraising to help others.
Elliott raised over £5000 for his Christmas Toy Appeal in 2020 and was then inspired to use his rehabilitation to raise money for the Penlee Lifeboat Station by doing a sponsored releasing to walk which raised over £5000. For Christmas 2021, he yet again donated more toys to the Childrens’ ward at Treliske Hospital, alongside a further £1000 worth of lego to the Penzance branch of Women’s Aid.
Special Recognition Award
Emma-Leigh Stubbins was also presented with a Special Recognition Award for setting up the Covid-19 Mutual Aid Penzance Facebook Group to support local residents at the height of the pandemic.
The group became a central place for local information on businesses that were open, as well as helpful summaries of new national guidelines. It also supplied invaluable information on mental health, with relevant helplines. It quickly became the central source of local information because it could be trusted, and it brought our community together. The group has now been renamed Mutual Aid Penzance and is ongoing indefinitely!
Humphry Davy Prize
This year’s Humphry Davy Prize was awarded to Oscar Simmons from Humphry Davy School. The Sir Humphry Davy Foundation was founded in about 1829. A fund was later set up to award prizes for proficiency in chemistry and physics and was appropriately name the Sir Humphry Davy Prize.
Under the re-organisation of Local Government in 1974, the awarding of these Prizes ceased. Penzance Council assumed responsibility for the Fund in 1987 and the first of the resumed awards was made that same year.
Humphry Davy School and Mounts Bay Academy are requested to submit nominations for the Prize each year and from these nominations a winner is selected.
The Mayor’s Cadets for 2022/23
The Mayor’s Cadets for 2022/23 were also announced: Air Cadet Corporal Oliver Hall and Sea Cadet First Class – Seb Dash.
The Penzance Sea Cadet Corps and West Cornwall Air Cadet Corps are asked to nominate a cadet, in recognition of their special efforts and qualities, to serve as the Mayor’s Cadet for the civic year. The new cadets received their official badges of office to wear on their uniforms when attending civic functions in the coming year. The retiring cadets were also awarded certificates for their service – Flight Sergeant Joe Roach and Able Cadet James Scanlan.
Retiring Mace Bearer
And last, but by no means least, the retiring Mace Bearer Mr Sid Reed received a special certificate in recognition of his 16 years of service to the town.
This year’s Civic Team
Councillor Jonathan How and Councillor Will Elliott were both unanimously re-elected as Mayor and Deputy Mayor respectively, and Mr Philip Northcott was named as the Town Crier.
Councillors Bonnie Jackson and Penny Young were also re-elected as civic deputies. Their role is to represent the Council should the Mayor and his Deputy be unavailable.
The ceremonial ‘swearing in’ of the Mace Bearers also took place with Mr Mike Arnold and Mr Simon Reed solemnly taking the oath. Mr Andrew Chellew was also sworn in to serve as Deputy Sergeant at Mace.
Councillor Jonathan How said: “the lack of public events has made me feel like a bit of a “secret mayor” during the last year! So it was really great to have such a large gathering and not just shake hands but also chat with so many different people from our local community.”
The ceremony was followed by a buffet reception at the Queen’s Hotel for all the award winners and special guests.