H&F thanks unsung heroes at our Civic Honours

Hammersmith & Fulham’s unsung heroes were celebrated in style at our 2024 Civic Honours.

Cllr Sharon Holder (left) and Cllr Adam Peter Lang (right) present the 25th Fulham Guides Unit with their Civic Honour

Compered by H&F Deputy Leader Cllr Ben Coleman, the event on Thursday night (9 May) saw stalwart local volunteers attend with their guests. The 22 individuals and groups were nominated by their neighbours, friends, family and colleagues for their selfless contributions to H&F.

H&F Leader Stephen Cowan said: “To be here tonight, to hear the stories about the people who make a difference in H&F is why I love the Civic Honours. 

“It’s about good people coming forward and making an ever-better society, a kinder, more beautiful world where all of us bring out the best of each other. And it's one of the great privileges of my job to thank you for offering something that is crucial to this age and to the change that we need to bring.”

See all the Civic Honours 2024 photos here.

Cllr Stephen Cowan, Leader of H&F, speaks to 2024's Civic Honours recipients
H&F Deputy Leader Cllr Ben Coleman took the stage as compere for the Civic Honours celebrations

Lifetime achievement honour

Retired midwife Yvonne Insh, 76, was honoured for the enormous support she has given new mothers during her career. 

She started working for the NHS in 1972. In 2002, she completed a return to practice midwifery course and started studying further breastfeeding support in her own time, having grown frustrated with the limitations in training to properly support mothers to breastfeed. 

She eventually became one of the lead midwives on the Postnatal ward at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and a supervisor. After retirement in 2010, she co-founded a community breastfeeding support group in a Polish restaurant in Fulham. It provides free and accessible breastfeeding advice and with the benefit of her long experience.

Now based in Fulham High Street, Yvonne has also been credited for being a champion of Black women in breastfeeding and racial equality. “I love my job and when I retired, I knew that I couldn’t just stop,” explained Yvonne.

“There’s a need in our community for free breastfeeding support for mothers and babies and their families. I’m retired, so I’m going to go out there. It’s helpful for me, helpful for the people in our community.” 

She’s lived on the Clem Attlee estate for the past 40 years. And says she has helped 10 mothers a week for the past 15 years. “We only close at Christmas,” she said with a smile. “I’m all for supporting women!”

Yvonne Insh at H&F's Civic Honours evening 2024

The night’s other winners were:

Individual contribution: Building a stronger, safer, kinder neighbourhood

Jenny Harrington was honoured for years of volunteering at the Old Oak Community Centre. She supported the relaunch of the centre’s bingo club, and makes teas, coffees, and snacks from the surplus food charity Bubble & Squeak that she helps run.

Daniel Nixon was honoured for leading the 21st Hammersmith Scouts for the past five years. He’s helped youngsters move from Cubs to Scouts as they improve their confidence. “We’ve got some incredibly special children that come to us,” he said.

White City resident Shineade Burton was nominated for her work to launch the new WEST Youth Zone. She also leads the Just for Girls sessions, a safe space for local young women to share experiences and make friends.

Individual contribution: Building a stronger, safer, kinder borough

Chair of the Youth Committee at Masbro Youth Club, Marley Billing-Delaphenha, was honoured for his work with eco-charity Groundwork and NatWest after creating learning sessions for more than 50 young adults on topics including money management.

Belinda Innes-Mitchell and Christina Howgill were honoured for their monthly Ukrainian Open House. The free meetings are a chance for war-displaced refugees to meet each other, connect with locals and ask for advice. 

Latymer Upper School student Rhea Mehta was honoured for her work to support literacy learning in children. She created “Reading with Rhea”, read-along online videos for children’s books that have been viewed more than 1,300 times.

Vicky and Steve Lawrence were honoured for their 20 years of work running homeless shelter Glass Door and their Sunday evening meal service. The couple spends every Saturday food shopping and preparing meals.

Longtime resident and author Rasheda Malcom was thanked for her role as co-founder of the WILDE Foundation, a platform created to support, heal, educate, and empower women and girls who have experienced abuse. In 2020, the foundation also launched the H&F’s Writers Festival. “Receiving the award was awesome. It acknowledges the women and the girls that have been through so much,” Rasheda said.

Group contribution: Building a stronger, safer, kinder neighbourhood

The leaders of the 25th Fulham Guides Unit received an honour for volunteering for more than a decade, offering activities and experiences to local 10 to 14-year-olds. “It’s lovely to get some recognition for what we do,” said Unit leader Hannah Moran. “We’re all volunteers and work full time, but everyone makes time for Guiding in their life.”

The Sands End Adventure Playground and the One O’clock Club Association (SEAPIA) were honoured for their ongoing support and carer for more than 170 families through the ongoing cost-of-living crisis. Julie Cavanagh, SEAPIA’s manager, said: “The whole team works their socks off – it’s all about the kids and the team are proud of what they do and I’m so proud of them. To bring them here tonight has been just brilliant.”

Shepherds Bush homeless charity The Upper Room was nominated for the broad range of support they offer residents in need. Starting as a soup kitchen, the charity has expanded to serving 33,000 three-course meals a year.

Julie Cavanagh, SEAPIA manager, holds up her trophy

Group contribution: Building a stronger, safer, kinder borough

Local non-profit West London Queer Project works to connect, support, and give a voice to H&F’s members of the LGBTQ+ community. They were honoured for their work in the borough, including a wide range of events, over the last year. Aubrey, co-founder of West London Queer Project, said: “The best thing about this award is that it mentions kindness, so we’re very chuffed.”

Hammersmith’s New Generation Steel Orchestra provides free steel pan lessons, uniforms, trips and mentoring to disadvantaged young people. They were thanked for the community they have built and their work supporting their musicians. 

Hammersmith Community Gardens Association’s volunteer group Get Out There! was honoured for its green-fingered work in H&F. Last year they worked on 24 different green sites, totalling over 1,400 hours.

Fulham-based charity DanceWest received an honour for its commitment to getting residents grooving. Each year, DanceWest delivers free and low-cost sessions to more than 36,000 a year in 72 weekly classes across west London. 

The Parent/Carer Champions – a team of parents and carers whose mission it is to make sure no one feels alone in parenthood – were thanked for their work building relationships between the community and the police.

Local charity People Arise Now (PAN) supports offenders and their families. They were honoured for their Community Connect initiative, a monthly meeting for residents to discuss their experiences with support organisations in a safe environment.

West London Queer Project accept their Civic Honour from Cllr Chevoppe-Verdier (second from left)

Lifetime achievement honours

Sister Mary-Joy Langdon received our lifetime achievement Civic Honour for her work as a firefighter and for founding and running the Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre. In 1976, aged 25, she became the UK’s first female firefighter to be formally admitted to a brigade. 

After retiring, she founded the Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre and has run it for the past 35 years. “It’s been a complete surprise and I’m extremely grateful” she said. “It’s a great honour.”

Peter Trott, 74, was born and raised in Shepherds Bush. He was honoured for his lifetime’s work, sharing his passion of history with H&F residents. Alongside his 25-year long career in heritage, he’s published several books including Wormholt Park: The First 100 Years and Rangers Til I Die. 

Ian Godfrey was honoured for his decades of volunteering, including his work for the Homeline Project. He has helped to supported thousands of local people, and now has several older customers who specifically request to be on his weekly Telephone Befriending book. 

Founder of Dads House charity William McGranaghan was honoured for his work supporting single dads and commitment to ensuring children remain the priority after divorce, separation, or bereavement.

Sister Mary-Joy Langdon (right) accepts her Civic Honour from Cllr Patricia Quigley, Mayor of H&F (left)

Thank you

The evening was held at IBIS Hotel Earls Court in Lillie Road, Fulham, with live musical entertainment from singer Bunny Nightingale.  

The H&F Civic Honours 2024 were made possible by local sponsors including FM ConwayGLL BetterFulham Football ClubWestfield London and Marston Holdings. Thanks for your support.

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