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Award for Gorleston stalwart

PUBLISHED: 09:43 24 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:43 03 July 2010

A community stalwart from Gorleston who has dedicated his efforts to improving the local area was honoured last night when an annual award scheme was launched in his name.

A community stalwart from Gorleston who has dedicated his efforts to improving the local area was honoured last night when an annual award scheme was launched in his name.

Local dignitaries and community leaders attended the launch of the Fred Learmonth Community Champ-ion award in Great Yarmouth's Chic Bar. The award, inspired by Mr Learmonth and launched by Norfolk police, was presented to fellow community champion and youth centre worker Carl Harding.

During the ceremony, Mr Learmonth passed on a baton to Mr Harding which bore the slogan 'Every Community Needs a Fred'.

The baton will be awarded annually to community champions who work hard to make a difference in the area where they live or work.

As the first recipient of the award Mr Harding said he felt “humbled” adding he would use the award to inspire others.

Mr Harding runs the Newtown Youth Centre in Yarmouth with his wife Julie and dedicated volunteers Amanda and Mark Goodrum.

The youth centre, on Jellicoe Road, suffered an arson attack on October 27 and was reopened on November 9 as a result of generous donations from members of the public.

He said: “I get a lot of fulfilment in running the youth centre and while I don't do this work for recognition, it is nice to get a pat on the back.

“To receive this award from Fred is amazing. He has a wonderful character and the work he has done to improve his local community is exemplary.”

Mr Learmonth has worked over many years supporting Norfolk police, local authorities and other organisations to combat antisocial behaviour.

In recent years he has received many awards in his crusade against bad behaviour, including winning the national Home Office Taking a Stand Award for his outstanding contribution to reducing antisocial behaviour in his and other neighbourhoods.

Mr Learmonth said: “I'm amazed the award is being launched in my name. For me it is such an honour to be recognised and I think this award can only bring good things to the borough.”

Earlier this year Mr Harding was named Community Citizen of the Year at the Norfolk Safer Community Awards.

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