TWENTY five years of community service at Lymm has resulted in Su Williams being awarded the MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
A familiar face in the village, Su’s most recent venture has been as one of the founders of the new Lymm Heritage Centre which, in just four years, has gone from a “pipe dream” to a vibrant centre attracting more than 15,000 visitors since it opened in June, 2017.
But she has been active in the community from her early days as deputy chairman of Lymm High School PTA and a governor at Oughtrington Primary School to being a leading light in the Lymm Festival, one of the team that helped secure the future of Lymm Youth and Community Centre when it looked in doubt in 2012 and a parish councillor for four years.
Su was born and raised in Urmston where she also went on to teach, becoming a head of department at Flixton Girls Secondary School where she had been a pupil.
After 25 years in school teaching she switched to prison education at Risley where her warmth and caring approach made her a role model for many. Her 15 years there culminated in the receipt of an Anne Frank Award for “true commitment to making a difference to others”.
Her involvement in the Lymm Festival saw her take responsibility to setting up the popular Foodfest and organising many other one-off events and exhibitions. Her most lasting contribution was “Art in the Garden” which ran for more than 10 years in the canalside garden of the family home, attracting thousands of visitors and giving a platform to local artists and also Risley inmates and the disadvantaged to show what they could achieve.
At the Youth and Community Centre Su not only set up Sunday teas and manned them herself for a couple of years to raise money and awareness but also established a junior youth club which she ran successfully with the help of others for a number of years. She is still involved at the centre today.
When she was elected to the parish council she was the first Labour member for more than 40 years.
She led a review of the allotments which enabled many more people to get a plot for the first time including Bright Futures School for children with autism.
She went on to volunteer along with husband Alan at Statham School where she also started a gardening club which won an award as part of the Lymm in Bloom group – of which she is also a member.
It was only in the most recent New Year’s Honours that her husband, Alan, was awarded a British Empire Medal.
He said: “No-one could be more thrilled than me that the community has sought and been granted this award for Su. I was honoured to receive the BEM but so conscious that Su deserved recognition far more than me. I couldn’t even list the very many individuals and groups that Su has supported over the years from a fistula hospital in Addis Ababa to today’s Syrian refugees. I know that she been a role model and inspiration for many – myself included”.
WARRINGTON PCSO AWARDED THE BEM
A WARRINGTON PCSO has been given an award in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Tony Spruce, 48, has been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) after his “exceptional commitment” to the Latchford community over the past 12 years.
Tony has been the driving force behind a number of successful community initiatives including the Victoria Park Experience (VPX), the Westy Boxing Club, St Werburgh’s community hub and Warrington’s Got Talent.
In 2017 the boxing club won an award at the Street Games National Conference, a charity which promotes sport in disadvantaged communities, for ‘Outstanding work in the Community’ and Tony has previously been awarded ‘PCSO of the Year’ in the Constabulary’s annual awards.
He said: “When we [PCSOs] first started people were very sceptical about the role but now it is very rare that you get negative comments about it and this award is testament to that. It is mad to think how many good PCSOs there are and I’ve got this. I’m just very lucky that I have a job that I love to do and there is always something different.
“The first day we went into Westy I was told that they didn’t like police. The only time people waved at us was with two fingers. But now we are chased down the street with people wanting to speak to us, or get a high five. It is really good. I love working in the area.”
Tony, who spends his spare time volunteering at Widnes Vikings, said that none of the initiatives he helped set up would have been possible without the help of others.
He added: “We try to make sure that everything we do is varied because not everyone likes sport. I will try everything once. I’m very lucky because my inspectors always back me.
“It is team work a lot of it. Nothing can be done without the support we get. VPX is run by Livewire, Warrington Wolves Foundation and Warrington Town FC and we had great support from the Fire Service when it started off.
“I’m very lucky with the partners we have because we all want the same thing. VPX Warrington has a lot of people who want to work on it and the people who were kids who came to it and now help us run it.”
Tony will pick up his award at a Royal Investiture in the near future.
Chief Constable Darren Martland said: “Tony’s hard work over the past 12 years has made a huge impact on the Latchford community and he has been an example to all our PCSOs and policing colleagues.
“He is truly passionate about the important work that PCSOs do in our communities and is great at knocking heads together to set up fantastic community events.”
OBE FOR EX-FIRE CHIEF
Former chief fire officer of Cheshire Paul Hancock, who retired last year after 34 years in fire and rescue, has been awarded an OBE – Order of the British Empire.
He became chief fire officer in 2009 having been deputy since 2007.
A keen sportsman he is voluntary chairman of Active Cheshire, the charity which aims to increase physical activity among the population.
An innovator, he established the Blue Light Collaboration programme with Cheshire Police which sees joint teams deliver support services to both organisations.