Durham Chairman’s Medals for county’s role model residents

SEVEN County Durham residents have been recognised for outstanding community service and fundraising.

Durham County Council’s Chairman, Councillor Katie Corrigan, awarded The Chairman’s Medal – the highest honour the council has to recognise the voluntary service of individuals and organisations – to the winners via online presentations, due to coronavirus restrictions.

Raymond Pye has supported Sherburn Village Community Centre for decades, as treasurer for 45 years and helping with odd jobs, calling the bingo and cooking breakfasts. He has also been a school governor and parish councillor and was a governor at Sherburn House.

Peter Hall recently marked 40 years of service with the Boys’ Club at Woodhouse Close, in Bishop Auckland, where was he was treasurer and on the board of trustees.

As a dedicated member of Woodhouse Close Church, he raised £42,000 for a new roof and looking after the property and health and safety. He also runs its youth clubs, including volunteering for residential weekends and holidays for young people, and for ten years has coordinated a luncheon club, meals on wheels and day club.

Eric Hepplewhite has been involved with youth work, particularly with the Boys’ Brigade, for decades and is chairman of the Campaign to Protect Rural Lanchester.

He is on the village’s Emergency Team, Chairman of Croft View Halls, spearheaded Lanchester Remembers and Project Poppies and organised the planting of 20,000 crocus bulbs on the village green.

Isaac Emerson, 17, was nominated by the council’s Weardale Area Action Partnership (AAP) for his efforts in setting up a skate park in Wolsingham.

The teenager met with his local parish council, spoke at public meetings about the benefits of the park and set up a Facebook campaign to encourage his peers to support the plans.

Harold Joseph Binyon, a retired fire fighter from Howden-le-Wear, has personally raised more than £200,000 for The Fire Fighters Charity, organising open days, firework displays and fundraising evenings to support a charity that is so close to his heart.

He also received a BEM for his incredible fundraising.

Pity Me resident David Wheeler has raised an estimated £500,000 for the Royal British Legion. He started raising funds for the charity at school and now spends two weeks of his annual leave based at Sainsbury’s at the Arnison Centre to raise money for the charity.

And Julia Errington has brought people together and raised a huge amount of money with events in aid of causes including Hartlepool Chemotherapy Ward, St Oswalds Hospice, Durham Foodbank, the Great North Air Ambulance Service, the Alzheimer’s Society and The Fire Fighters Charity. In addition, she has hosted many events across County Durham, such as afternoon teas and race nights, to bring communities together for worthy causes.

Cllr Corrigan said: “These medals are tokens of appreciation to Peter, Isaac, Eric, Raymond, Harold, Julia and David. Their incredible commitment and hours of unpaid work and fundraising are helping to transform communities across the county and make a real difference to neighbourhoods and good causes.

“Each and every one of these recipients is setting a wonderful example to others and I would like to thank them for their dedication.”

The Northern Echo | Durham