Marsh Civic Volunteer Award

This Award is run in partnership with Civic Voice and celebrates the outstanding contribution made by an individual volunteer to the civic movement. The Award highlights the efforts of someone who has gone the extra mile on a project within civic groups to make their community more attractive, enjoyable and distinctive.

Any Civic Voice volunteer can be nominated for the Award.

Nominations are shortlisted by the Civic Voice Chair, Trustees and Director before a decision is made by the MCT and announced at the October AGM.

Bob Ratcliffe 2017

Bob has been an active member of the City of Rochester Society for over forty years, and served as its Chairman for ten years and its President for twenty. As President, he has immersed himself in a campaigning role, ensuring high quality conservation and planning is upheld in the city, conservation areas are being expanded, and appreciation and knowledge of the history and architecture of the city is promoted. He works in close partnership with other organisations and gives freely his knowledge as a historian and his talents as an artist, photographer and illustrator. He has been heavily involved with a number of books produced by the Society, and has been the author and illustrator of a number of visitor guides and historic pamphlets. Bob has also been involved in a number of civic activities outside the Society, including fifteen years as a member of The Friends of Rochester Cathedral and being a leading influence in the restoration of a Grade II listed park.


Previous Winners

David Biggs

When Tamworth Civic Society, which was started in 1973, became defunct, David Biggs gathered a group together to form a steering committee which re-launched as the new Tamworth and District Civic Society (TDCS) in September 2015. TDCS now has a constitution, elected committee, 120 members ranging in age from 20 to 85, and funds in excess of £2,000. TDCS works to foster relationships with other organisations, promote civic pride and engagement and also encourage numerous initiatives, including the inaugural Tamworth Lecture, stained glass window appeal, At Risk register and Listing applications.

The Society holds at least 1 activity every month, on a range of interests and topics, speakers, visits, walks (one visit attracting 126 people), at different venues and times to suit members’ availability and mobility. Civic Voice recently described TDCS as one of the most active societies in the country.

Members are kept up to date with David’s weekly e-mails, website updates, the Facebook page (started in January and has 312 followers), and blog posts, regular PR and letters in local press, and also radio interviews.

David is the driving force who, despite difficult personal circumstances, instigated and inspired all of this taking TDCS from scratch to a successful, influential, active society in 12 months.

Gillian Postill

Gillian Postill volunteers with the Marple Civic Society and her achievements this year have been built on what was a very strong application last year. Her success with the society can be said to be even more impressive as it has been achieved on several major fronts.

Gillian was successful in convincing all parties involved to change position about the siting of a local supermarket outside the town centre, thus ensuring that the businesses in the town centre didn’t suffer. She persuaded the local authority, the educational facility, the local politicians, the conservation officer, town centre shopkeepers and shoppers and a host of local people to stand up for their own town centre. Gillian also used her considerable networking and people skills to aid a Heritage Lottery Fund application to excavate the remains of Mellor Mill, a huge water-powered cotton mill built between 1790 and 1792 and in its time the biggest building of its kind in the North West. She was also influential in making the bid more wholesome by including the local Lime Kilns. With this inclusion, the profile of the application was lifted and eventually successful.

Gillian intends to use her award to help continue and develop the work of the Marple Civic Society, with this ongoing project and new ones in the future. Membership of the society is steadily increasing and this can only mean a bright future for Marple itself as the society continues to work for the good of the town.

Michael Bach

Michael Bach has been on the executive committee for the Kensington Society for over 25 years. Throughout this time he has advised the Planning Committee, led the Society through multiple changes in planning laws and actively represented the Society throughout the development of the Local Develop Framework and the Core Strategy. Under Michael’s leadership, the Society has gone from strength to strength and has done much to protect the heritage and communities of Kensington and Chelsea.

In addition to his role with the Kensington Society, Michael is also a Trustee at The Kensington & Chelsea Foundation where he has held an influential role in distributing funds from local donors for local charities. He is Chairman at the Planning & Transport Committee, and is Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Kensington and Chelsea Social Council, where he is involved in supporting local voluntary groups. Michael is also a Council Member at Chelsea Society and editor of Chelsea Society Newsletter.

Kevin Trickett

Kevin Trickett has been President of Wakefield Civic Society since March 2002 and has worked since then to create a dynamic and proactive Society. He has managed to build and maintain a high profile for the Society, so that the Local Authority and Developers consult them during the early stages of planning projects. He has also initiated publications on blue plaques and public sculpture, instituted guided walks of Wakefield and has taken an active role in promoting the annual Heritage Open Days events.

Understanding the need for good communication with other civic societies, Kevin is also Chair of the Yorkshire and Humber Association of Civic Societies and has helped set up new societies in Bradford, Sheffield and Barnsley. He organises regional meetings to bring local members together.

Elaine Smith

Throughout Elaine’s time as Chair of Blackpool Civic Trust, she has brought about a great deal of change, modernising the Trust and encouraging them to adopt new ideas in order to progress. She was responsible for the introduction of the Trust’s corporate membership system and the Blackpool Civic Trust Awards, which have allowed the Trust to grow and develop, as well as to improve its profile locally and regionally.

Elaine’s ability to form strong and positive relationships with other groups and individuals has also meant that Blackpool Civic Trust now acts as a hub for information within the local volunteering community. This was underlined by its key role in achieving funding for the Blackpool Heritage Champions, a government sponsored scheme which trains volunteers in areas like research and guiding, the only one of its type in the country.

With growing membership and a wider sphere of influence and involvement, members feel that Elaine has lifted the organisation from being a local pressure group, to a group of engaged, empowered and respected local citizens. Elaine’s contributions to the civic movement over the past years have been exceptional.

Sue Nichols

Sue Nichols is an inspirational member of the Altrincham Civic Group. She put together a successful Heritage Lottery Fund bid to the value of £50,000, which was put towards the Altrincham Heritage project which involved creating a Heritage Trail with 10 illustrated panels and an accompanying booklet. An enormous amount of work went into this project including the scanning and cataloguing of local photographs, postcards, maps and publications, which were borrowed from various local groups and the development of a new local heritage website. The project also involved establishing and running guided walks and Treasure hunts. This project, which will run for two years, involves many local volunteers, schools and societies, helping the Altrincham Civic Voice group embrace their community and promote their local heritage.

Sue has also been key in the Tree planting and ‘greening’ of streets and open spaces in Altrincham.
She has lobbied the NHS to produce a viable scheme for the redevelopment of the local hospital, both on the existing and proposed new sites. Sue has developed a good working relationship with local councillors, council officials and health trust representatives which has helped to facilitate all the projects that she has been involved in.