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Isligton’s unsung heroes honoured as Ben Kinsella Award and civic gongs are given out

PUBLISHED: 09:54 18 March 2020 | UPDATED: 09:54 18 March 2020

Mayor's Civic Award winners 2020. Picture: Islington Council

Mayor's Civic Award winners 2020. Picture: Islington Council

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The unsung heroes who make Islington such a special place were honoured at an awards ceremony at the assembly hall in Upper Street on Thursday last week.

Friends, family and councillors looked on as the borough’s volunteers and community champions received civic awards from mayor of Islington Cllr Rakhia Ismail. Lily Tunbridge, 16, a volunteer at The Zone Youth Project in Tufnell Park given the Ben Kinsella Award – a special accolade recognising a young person’s outstanding contribution to life in the borough.

Lily mentors and helps manage and train other young people to run the centre’s youth café. She also organised youth club members to donate non-perishable food, treats and toiletries to the homeless in time for Christmas. Lily wants to be a youth worker when she grows up.

The eponymous award is presented in memory of Ben Kinsella, who was murdered in 2008. Patrick Green, chief exec of the Ben Kinsella Trust charity which educates youngsters about the dangers of knife crime, said:

“We are so proud to see that Lily Tunbridge has won this year’s winner of the Ben Kinsella Award. Lilly is a great advocate for her generation. Through her volunteering she is the perfect example of the amazing contribution that young people make to this borough. Her selflessness and eagerness to help and mentor other young people to make her a worthy winner.” The mayor of Islington also presented civic awards to: Miriam Ashwell, Jean and Richard Bull, Robert Burbidge, Eula Nelson, Sandi Phillips and Helen Schofield.

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A special posthumous civic award was given to Alice Kilroy, who sadly died on February 17. The gong was accepted by Alice’s daughter Stephanie Sutherland, and her comrades Jeremy Corbyn MP and Shirley Franklin gave speeches honouring her memory. Alice was a life-long peace campaigner, former Isilngton teacher, and socialist. She was an integral part of the campaign to save the Whittington Hospital’s A&E department, and spent her life fighting for a better, fairer world through a host of campaigns.

Cllr Ismail said: “The awards represent a fantastic opportunity to showcase the very best of Islington, those people from all walks of life, young and old who go the extra mile and dedicate their time to making Islington a great place to live, and who inspire us all.”

Cllr Ismail said: “The awards represent a fantastic opportunity to showcase the very best of Islington, those people from all walks of life, young and old who go the extra mile and dedicate their time to making Islington a great place to live, and who inspire us all.”

André Langlois, editor of the Islington Gazette, which sponsors the awards, said: “As someone who has worked at a few different newspapers, and who is newly-arrived in Islington, it is great to hear such heartwarming stories about community-minded people.

“It is all very well saying that somewhere has great ‘community spirit’ but it is those individuals dedicating their time to important causes who make that true.

“Reading of their work behind the scenes reminds me how much there is to celebrate in the borough, and I hope that we at the Gazette can help to do that.”


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