New awards ceremony to recognise people of Yarmouth's achievements

The headquarters of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, which has been made to pay £1,700 compensation

The awards ceremony, which would include a sit-down meal, would be hosted at Great Yarmouth town hall. - Credit: Anthony Carroll

A new council-run awards ceremony in Great Yarmouth is set to recognise the achievements of the borough’s residents, with the first presentation proposed to take place this spring. 

Three winners would be chosen every four years to be presented with the award by the council leader and enjoy a sit-down meal at the town hall. 

A council officer said: “The intention is that this recognition award ceremony is an opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge the achievements of individuals from the borough of Great Yarmouth, particularly given we’ve had such a challenging time over the last two years.”

The cost of an awards ceremony and sit-down meal is estimated at £1,500, with the invitees including the winners, their supporters, the council’s leader, opposition leader and chief executive, members of the Town Deal board, other council partners, and the media.

“The costs are nominal, but the impact would be great,” said the officer.

At a Tuesday meeting of the borough council’s policy and resources committee, the Conservative majority voted to press ahead with the awards ceremony plans, despite the reservations of Labour opposition members, who said the ideas were not detailed enough to be voted on.

Potential winners would be nominated by councillors, with the three winners selected by the council leader, opposition leader and chief executive. 

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The original criteria stated that all winners must either be born or raised and educated in the borough, but Conservative Penny Carpenter proposed that anyone who lives in the borough be included too. 

Penny Carpenter, chair of GYBC's Environment Committee. Pic: Norfolk County Council.

Conservative councillor Penny Carpenter - Credit: Norfolk County Council

Labour opposition leader Trevor Wainwright said he was frustrated by the lack of councillor involvement in the plans for the award ceremony, and that some of the ideas needed closer consideration.

Councillor Trevor Wainwright, leader of the Labour group in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Labour opposition leader Trevor Wainwright - Credit: Archant

His Labour colleague Brian Walker asked what would happen if the award wasn’t accepted by one of the winners.

Conservative council leader Carl Smith likened the process to receiving an OBE, which anyone is free to reject if they wish. 

Councillor Carl Smith, leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council

Councillor Carl Smith leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council - Credit: Archant

Further amendments were suggested by Conservatives Paul Wells and Paul Hammond - who suggested that the criteria be widened to include organisations as well as individuals, and that more than three people be selected in 2022, to reflect the exceptional challenges of the pandemic. 

The committee then voted by majority in favour of proceeding with the plans.

The Great Yarmouth Mercury recently revealed its own award winners to recognise the borough's community heroes and inspirational figures.