The village of Cranleigh showed the true meaning of community spirit as businesses, residents, key workers, councils, and children pulled together to help neighbours and protect the vulnerable during the lockdowns.
While neighbours became like family and strangers turned into friends, many acts of kindness took place, many hidden while we were isolated.
Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce wanted to celebrate these selfless offerings of help and services by those who went above and beyond. The local community was asked to suggest such individuals, and as a result, nominations flooded in.
At the Surrey Hills Artisan Market in Cranleigh High Street on Saturday 10th July, those outstanding members of the community to be recognised were announced, and they are:
Representing Education, Gill Leadbetter Simms, Head at Cranleigh Church of England Primary School, was nominated because “she motivated both staff and parents in having the positive mindset that we would get through this together. She worked tirelessly to make our school a Covid-safe environment for both staff and key-worker children and has led her team throughout with dedication and care”.
Callum Griffiths representing the village’s Street Champions, a really polite, caring and mature young man and the Parish Council’s youngest Street Champion, who put his community first and helped his neighbours in a time of great need.
Parish Council Chairman Liz Townsend said, “I was so impressed with his overall attitude. He was extremely reliable, hard-working and showed a deep commitment to those that he was looking after. I know that this was hugely appreciated, as residents took time to contact the Parish Council and thank us personally for his exceptional service.”
The Community Choice is local postman Neil White who has now taken early retirement. According to Neil’s nominator, “his daily visits, smiles and chat helped get me and so many others get through lockdown making extra time on his round which, when stuck inside, was a real boost. A true champion and credit to the community”.
Representing Key Worker families is seven year old Isobel Nicholson, who selflessly moved in with her disabled granny, not seeing her ambulance worker mother for 187 long days. The nominator said, “She was only six in the first lockdown, and I want to nominate her simply for just being so brave when she had her little sister to help look after, home-school herself and despite some extremely sad times she was always smiling and trying to cheer everyone up”.
Rosemary French OBE, the President of Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce, presented each with £50 worth of vouchers from local retailers and restaurants. Prizes were sponsored by Informed Choice Independent Financial Planners.
She said, “It is not possible to recognise each person who went above and beyond during the lockdowns. We hope that by acknowledging just a few of those compassionate and public-spirited deeds, that we can recognise the many. We will never forget how Cranleigh Village stepped up in a time of need”.