Madeleine’s a worthy winner

Published on: 02 Jun 2014

madeleine bills

MADELEINE Bills is among the 37 unsung heroes and their families who have been recognised for their voluntary work within their communities.

The community stalwart took her place among the winners at a special award ceremony organised by South Gloucestershire Council.

Madeleine has been given her award in recognition for her work as a key member of the Mangotsfield Festival committee.

For the last 12 years she has run and planned the festival organising a variety of entertainment, stall bookings and hobby tents, making sure the festival is a success. 

Last year’s event attracted an incredible 15,000 visitors.

The award is a timely one for Madeleine – this year’s Mangotsfield Festival is just two weeks away on Saturday June 14.

Madeleine, who lives in Downend, said: “It was a great surprise that I had been nominated as I was just doing what I love doing.

“I like working with people and being involved in the community and things that are going on. The community is so friendly and are prepared to work together and help each other.”

Madeleine also gives a large portion of her time to community work in her role as a Town Crier which she has done for the past 13 years.

She has been involved in the women’s section of the Staple Hill British Legion for more than 10 years. 

Because of Madeleine’s business acumen – she  runs theatrical make-up and wigs supplier Dauphines – she has spent the last year helping to restore the legion’s popularity within the community.

“The Mangotsfield Festival is really run by just seven people,” she said.

“None of us get paid – we’re all volunteers and each year we do a hell of a lot of work to put the festival on. So this award is partially theirs as well.”

The annual Chair’s Community Awards, held at South Gloucestershire and Stroud College’s WISE Campus, recognise the outstanding contribution South Gloucestershire residents make to their local communities

All the community award winners are people who give up their time freely to help others and bring communities together.

The ceremony was attended by the chairman of South Gloucestershire Council, Cllr Ian Boulton, along with Dame Janet Trotter, the Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire, and Kevin Hamblin, principal and chief executive of South Gloucestershire & Stroud College.

Throughout the evening award winners from a wide variety of backgrounds were presented with their certificates by Cllr Boulton and Mr Hamblin. The final round was the Lord Lieutenant’s Special Award, which saw Dame Janet Trotter present £100 to Jean Gray for her valued services as a school dinner lady in South Gloucestershire.

For the past 52 years Jean Gray has worked as a dinner lady at Kings’ Forest Primary School in Kingswood and she is a firm favourite with children and staff. Nothing is too much trouble for Jean and on top of her regular duties she also helps with school trips, sewing costumes and sharing her love of books with the reception classes. Jean is also an active member within her local church.

Cllr Boulton said: “During my term of office as the Chair of the Council it has been a huge privilege to meet many people from across our region who work tirelessly, and with no financial reward, for the good of their communities. These awards are a small way to recognise the importance of volunteering and to thank a few of our local volunteers for their efforts to continue to make South Gloucestershire a great place to live and work.

“It is clear from the nomination forms that all of these award winners are highly respected and admired for their work. It has been humbling to read many of the citations that have been provided and I consider it to be one of the highlights of my role to be able to honour our award winners this evening.”

Kevin Hamblin, principal and chief executive of South Gloucestershire & Stroud College, said: “South Gloucestershire & Stroud College is delighted to support the Chair’s Community Awards. The evening was a humbling experience and an inspiration to us all. The foundation of South Gloucestershire is built by those that commit countless hours to their community. It is important to acknowledge the hard work undertaken selflessly by so many people.”

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