Award recognition for community stalwart

PUBLISHED: 13:56 19 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:40 03 July 2010

A COMMUNITY stalwart from Gorleston who has dedicated his efforts to improving the local area is to be honoured next week when an annual award scheme is launched in his name.

A COMMUNITY stalwart from Gorleston who has dedicated his efforts to improving the local area is to be honoured next week when an annual award scheme is launched in his name.

Local dignitaries and community leaders will attend the launch of the Fred Learmonth Community Champion award at Bar Chic, Marine Parade, Great Yarmouth, this Monday.

The award, inspired by Mr Learmonth and launched by Norfolk police, will be presented to fellow community champion and youth centre worker Carl Harding.

Mr Learmonth will pass on a baton to Mr Harding which bares the slogan “Every Community Needs a Fred.”

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

As the first recipient of the award Mr Harding, secretary of Newtown Youth Centre in Great Yarmouth, said he felt “humbled” adding he would use the award to inspire others.

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 Harding runs the Newtown Youth Centre 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 the centre was re-opened on November 9 as a result of generous donations from members of the public.

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

Supt Jim Smerdon, of Yarmouth police, said: “This award will act as a legacy to the tireless work completed by Fred which has made a real difference within the community.

“As part of the award Carl will be working closely with the local Neighbourhood Policing Team focusing on issues important to the community, in particular issues surrounding youth.

“We can work in partnership with community champions to further improve the area in which they live.”

The award acknowledges Mr Learmonth's outstanding work and active involvement in the community to make it a better and safer place to live.

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

He 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.

“By identifying the good work of individuals I think it will inspire people to get more involved with their community.”

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