Community heroes named top citizens in Halesworth
PUBLISHED: 06:30 01 January 2016
For years, they have given up their time to help others with no thought of any recognition or reward.
But two community heroes from Halesworth have been named the town’s citizens of the year in honour of their tireless dedication.
The Halesworth Lions awards went to Patrick Cox, for his work with Halesworth dementia Carers’ Fund (HdCF), and Jane Kircher, for her efforts with the Grandparents and Parents Play Association (GAPPA).
Mr Cox said: “I am very honoured to have received this prestigious award.
“I have very much appreciated the privilege of being in leadership roles in varied local organisations and I wish to share this award with all the volunteers I have had the pleasure of working with.”
Mr Cox and his family moved to Halesworth in 1978, and he became chairman of HdCF in 2012, when his wife was diagnosed with the disease.
He helped form a committee of volunteers for the fund, which offers one-to-one support to people living with dementia and their carers, and leads grant applications.
Now president of the fund, Mr Cox said: “Halesworth is an amazing community, and it’s a very caring community.
“Because of the public awareness we’re doing a lot and we’re now seeing Suffolk using Halesworth dementia Carers’ Fund as an example of what can be achieved within a small market town.”
Mr Cox said he was most proud of HdCF securing funding for a specialist support worker based at the Cutlers Hill Surgery for two days a week.
Also named joint Halesworth citizen of the year was Ms Kircher, who founded GAPPA to try and improve play facilities for the town’s children.
She said: “I’m absolutely flattered. I feel that what we’ve done has been recognised.
“It’s just nice to see people appreciate how much GAPPA has done, that’s the touching thing.
“And I’m thrilled to share it with Patrick Cox.”
In just nine months, GAPPA has raised more than £40,000 to buy new equipment for the park, which will also cater for disabled children.
The equipment is on order and GAPPA hopes the new playground will open next spring. Grants were given by Halesworth Town Council, Co-op Community Fund, One Foundation and Flagship, Adnams and local businesses, with the rest of the money raised by GAPPA, through a number of fundraising events.
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