Feel-good night as unsung heroes and community champions of Thetford recognised at awards

PUBLISHED: 08:20 05 February 2018 | UPDATED: 08:20 05 February 2018

TARA awards 2018. Photo: Claire Osterberg Photography

TARA awards 2018. Photo: Claire Osterberg Photography

Claire Osterberg Photography

It was a night which brought together unsung heroes, volunteers and community groups to receive much-deserved recognition.

The winners of the TARAs 2018. Picture: Rebecca MurphyThe winners of the TARAs 2018. Picture: Rebecca Murphy

A range of winners were celebrated at the Thetford Awards Recognising Achievement (TARAS), from those who have helped devoted their time to help other to community stalwarts.

Now in its third year, around 150 people attended the feel-good ceremony at the town’s Carnegie Room on Friday night.

Hosted by Mark Jefferies and the event’s organiser Mark Robinson, it was a night which brought focus on the community spirit and positivity that is in abundance in Thetford.

The night kicked-off with the Young Person award which was given to Chloe Aylott.

TARA awards 2018. Photo: Claire Osterberg PhotographyTARA awards 2018. Photo: Claire Osterberg Photography

The 18-year-old started volunteering for the Thetford-based Keystone Development Trust after leaving school and not knowing what to do.

Helping with children’s activities has inspired her to look into an apprenticeship in youth work.

“I was quite surprised that I won,” she said. “I did not know what to say. It is really nice and it shows that Keystone to take interest and appreciate what I do for them.”

One highlight of the night saw former Ipswich Town footballer and Thetford resident Simon Milton presenting the Outstanding Contribution award.

TARA awards 2018. Photo: Claire Osterberg PhotographyTARA awards 2018. Photo: Claire Osterberg Photography

For the first time the award was shared between two worthy winners, Mick Bailey and Ted Zipfel, who between them have been involved with their football clubs, Thetford Town and Thetford Rovers, for more than 90 years.

Unfortunately Mr Bailey was unable to attend through a bad knee but Mr Zipfel said he felt “honoured” to accept the award and said grassroots football had “always been my life”.

A standing ovation was given to Dolly Knights, 95, as she walked to the stage to collect the Lifetime Achievement award.

Dolly has spent 80 years serving the community through the Salvation Army.

She said: “There is no other place I would want to be. My Salvation Army work has been my pleasure. I am so proud that I have the privilege to wear the Salvation Army uniform and show people that we are Christians ready to help.”

TARA awards winners:

Young person - Chloe Aylott

Good Neighbour - Thetford and District Dementia Support

Sporting - Thetford Boxing Club

Community Event - Thetford Parkrun volunteers

Volunteer - Thetford First Responders

Business - Richard Bridgman

Service to the Community - Colin Armes

Outstanding Contribution - Mick Bailey and Ted Zipfel

Lifetime Achievement - Dolly Knights

More than 200 nominations were received for the six categories this year and Mr Robinson said a number of tough decisions were made by the judging panel.

With Service to the Community, Outstanding Contribution and Lifetime Achievement special awards.

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