Well deserved recognition for Lambourn’s Sue Cocker and East Garston’s Maureen Velvick

The 2024 West Berkshire Council Community Champion Awards recognised two well-deserving residents of the Lambourn Valley.

Sue Cocker

Nominated by Lambourn Parish Council, Sue Cocker (above left) has been awarded the prestigious West Berkshire Lifetime Achievement and also has the accolade of becoming the first ever Freewoman of Lambourn Parish. Sue has also been invited to a Royal Garden Party later in the spring to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Commonwealth, having been voted to be the Berkshire Association of Local Councils (BALC)’s nominee for the occasion.

Sue retired from Lambourn Parish Council last year after nearly 30 years of being a highly respected and effective parish councillor, and Chair for several years. Sue got involved with all aspects of council work from the annual exhibition in the Memorial Hall, to planting trees with in the Old Cricket Field to being part of the village firework display team.

Sue petitioned unwaveringly to protect Lambourn Library which would probably have closed without her. West Berkshire Council continues to use the Lambourn Library as the gold standard (click here for more info).

Her leadership of the Lambourn Neighbourhood Development Plan will result in one of the most important initiatives by the Parish Council in recent years.. The public consultations were co-ordinated by Sue, the information collated by Sue and the presentation boards were testament to her commitment and hard work.

Sue will also continue her efforts on behalf of The Woodlanders Protection Group.

Maureen Velvick

Maureen (above right) was extremely surprised to receive the email from West Berkshire Council, as she had no idea that she had even been nominated by East Garston Parish Council for the West Berkshire Community Champion Award.  The letter said:

“I am writing to inform you that you were nominated for the Community Champion Volunteer of the Year Award where you have been highly commended by our panel and are formally invited to receive this award, in person, at Shaw House. Although you did not win the award the Committee were very impressed with your contribution to the Community and strongly felt that your efforts needed recognition.”

Maureen told Penny Post: “I was allowed to take a couple of guests with me to the award ceremony and asked my fellow ringers, Amanda Marchant and Rebecca Gay to come with me for support.  They both have played a major part in the fundraising for the restoration of East Garston Bells and it seems fitting that they should be with me.

“I’m still reeling from the fact that I was nominated in the first place but it is really gratifying to know that all the hard work put in to raising the necessary funds has been recognised locally.  We ringers have had the support of the village all the way through the project.

“There’s still work to be done, this time on the restoration of the church tower, there is a fundraising campaign running at the moment and as the bells need their home repaired it seems fitting that we continue to help those tasked with this mammoth undertaking.

“We also need more ringers but am pleased to say that a recent recruitment morning was successful and we now have a few enthusiastic learners.  We could still do with more, as they say, the more the merrier and we do have some enjoyable evenings. Contact Maureen on maureen.velvick@outlook.com or just turn up at the tower if you hear the bells on a Wednesday evening, 7:30-9pm.

“Long may the bells of All Saints’ East Garston ring out, in their newly restored state they should survive for many generations.”


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Covering: Newbury, Thatcham, Hungerford, Marlborough, Wantage, Lambourn, Compton, Swindon & Theale