Friday, 24 September 2021

High Sheriff?s Award for volunteer

A WOMAN from Sonning Common has been honoured for her outstanding work in the community

A WOMAN from Sonning Common has been honoured for her outstanding work in the community.

Chrissie Phillips-Tilbury, 72, of Woodlands Road, received the Oxfordshire High Sheriff?s Award at a special ceremony at Christ Church College in Oxford.

She was nominated for her work organising the Village Gardeners volunteer group and helping to organise a Christmas day lunch at the village hall as well as serving on the parish council and the village hall commitee.

Mrs Phillips-Tilbury was one of 20 people from across Oxfordshire to receive the award.

She was accompanied to Monday?s ceremony by her husband Michael, daughter Laura and Douglas Kedge, who is chairman of Sonning Common Parish Council and one of the people who nominated her.

She was presented with a special scroll by the High Sheriff Tony Stratton, who was dressed in his ceremonial uniform, including a sword.

Mrs Phillips-Tilbury said: ?I did enjoy the event but I was feeling nervous beforehand. I have never shaken hands with a man holding a sword. Apparently it?s a tradition going back centuries.

?After the ceremony we proceeded to the Dean?s house at Christ Church College. The building was amazing ? a huge great mansion that felt full of history.

?We went into a drawing room for drinks and canapés. There were two high sheriffs, the Lord Lieutenant, a bishop and who knows how many mayors. It was all very impressive.?

Mrs Phillips-Tilbury said she felt a common bond with the other award winners, who had been whittled down from a record 60 nominees.

She said: ?Every person who had been nominated seemed to be like me. They were people who are involved in lots of things in their areas.?

She said that when she learned about her nomination she found it hard to believe she was involved in so much. ?I do all these things because I really enjoy them,? she said.

Over the past four years, the Village Gardeners have planted more than 7,000 bulbs and 4,000 snowdrops and tidied up flower beds and green spaces in the village. Their most recent project was planting eight trees.

The group is always looking for more projects. Mrs Phillips-Tilbury said: ?If we can get local investment it helps us to know people in the village want us to carry on what we are doing.?

Councillor Kedge said Mrs Phillips-Tilbury had made a ?sterling contribution? to Sonning Common, particularly with the work of the Village Gardeners.

He said: ?People in the village are delighted she has won an award and it is extremely well deserved. Chrissie is just very modest about it, as that she is what she is like, but you can see the effect of her work and you notice the difference she makes. There was vandalism and graffiti before but it is not reappearing.? Mrs Philips-Tilbury paid tribute to the whole council, saying: ?We have a very good parish council and we do what we can. Philip Collings, the parish clerk, also does fantastic work and gets things done.?

She said she was proud of her honour but added: ?It will be good to get back to the gardening now.?

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