Salute to some true local heroes

Nineteen Bristol residents and one local organisation were honoured at the annual Lord Mayor’s Medals ceremony.

The awards celebrate the achievements and charitable efforts of those who have gone above and beyond for their communities during the past year. Recipients were presented with their medals by the Lord Mayor, Councillor Paula O’Rourke, at the Mansion House in Clifton. Cabinet Councillor Ellie King attended, along with friends and family of the recipients.

Councillor O’Rourke, said: “These awards remind us of the fantastic community spirit we have here in Bristol. I am sure everyone in Bristol will join me in thanking the recipients for the amazing commitment they have to making Bristol an even better place.”

The Lord Mayor presided over the judging panel, which included councillors from all major parties.

Medal recipients included:

Tony Hall 

Tony is the creator and Chair of Bristol Dementia Action Alliance (BDDA) which aims to make Bristol THE dementia friendly city in the UK. BDAA will be 10 years old in 2023 and Tony’s drive is to educate people about dementia so that they see the person, not the disease.

In 2022, Tony introduced the Dementia Aware Awards which recognises local organisations helping to raise dementia awareness and working towards making Bristol more dementia friendly. 34 awards were given to organisations including the Bristol Hippodrome and Wessex Water.  

Tony is an Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friends Ambassador and delivers many dementia awareness sessions. He prides himself on talking to anyone and engages with anyone to raise awareness. He has personally made over 3000 Dementia Friends including 90 firefighters, 30 local councillors, 16 GP practices, 7 dementia friendly schools, local MP’s and mayors.

Tony has worked unwaveringly to increase dementia awareness in Bristol through engaging with the local community by handing out 4000 dementia guides (to retailers and other organisations) and running webinars. 

Hilary Long 

Hilary Long has worked tirelessly for the Westbury on Trym community for over 50 years, with her leadership and maintenance of the Westbury on Trym Society (WoTSoc) having many different aspects and enriching life for many local people. 

Hilary has:

• Established the Village Hall as the centre of community activities, being part of the committee for over 40 years to oversee the refurbishment and maintenance of the building so that it is now a centre for youth and adult sport; a highly sought-after wedding venue and a social events centre.

• Promoted fundraising for Westbury in Bloom since 1980’s, liaising with councillors and local suppliers to get the best value for money and to encourage local volunteers to maintain flower displays. Most recently her focus has been on improvements to Canford Park.

• Overseen planning applications and challenging bids, ensuring the 2015 Conservation Area Character Appraisal is coherent and reflects the ancient history of the Village whilst at the same time as enabling the vibrant business community to flourish. 

• Developed a photographic archive of Westbury over the past 1300 years, which has been on display at many local exhibitions.

•  Planned community events including public lectures, Christmas dances and other events in the Village Hall. Hilary has identified speakers, bands and other performers and has been unfailingly enthusiastic in doing so.

Graham Syrett

Over the past 40 years Graham has made a big contribution to the community of Kingsdown and Cotham in many ways. He was one of the founders of the national Neighbourhood Watch initiative, with the Kingsdown and Cotham one being the longest running in the country and Graham having run it throughout this time. 

Neighbourhood Watch is only one way in how Graham has served the community though as he has many other commitments including links with the prison, Ashley House, St Matthew’s Church, local schools and many local charities. .

As a governor of two local schools and coaching in short tennis, woodworking, gardening, IT and science, Graham spends his time supporting children and young people.  He has supported Duke of Edinburgh award participation and served on the Council’s Appeals Committee. Graham is most widely known for his newsletter – an email update entitled “Cotham and Kingsdown information” which arrives in subscribers’ inboxes two or three times a week. 

Marian Tucker 

Marian was the driving force in setting up the Friends of Clifton Centre and Library (FoCCaL) in 2015, firstly as a committee member and then Chair.  She has worked strategically and operationally, leading on grant applications, working with the library service to maximise the effect of the group, put out chairs, moved bookcases and welcomed visitors.   FoCCaL is regarded to be the most prominent, busy and successful friends group in all of the 27 libraries across the city and this is largely thanks to Marian.

Marian has been involved in setting up the Clifton LitFest, run as a sub-group to FoCCaL and with all profits from the festival going back into the library. The LitFest has run for 3 years and is a huge success with thousands attending.

Marian has also led on offering Clifton Library as a Welcome Space.

Chandos Neighbourhood Association 

The Chandos neighbourhood do great work supporting their community, scrutinising planning applications and permissions, litter picking tidying the streets plus organising the very well-known annual Chandos Road street party.  The association works with councillors to make the area liveable and holds weekly collections for food banks.