East London Community Champions Recognised at Canary Wharf Group Awards – 28.11.17

Canary Wharf Group is delighted to announce the winners of its fourth annual Community Champions Awards which last night recognised, and celebrated, the incredible voluntary work of eight individuals and two couples who have been true champions and inspirations to their local community.

The winners’ achievements were celebrated on Monday 27 November 2017 at an awards ceremony hosted by Canary Wharf Group at Level39, the world’s most connected community for finance, cybersecurity, retail and smart-city technology businesses.

Zakir Khan, Associate Director of Community Affairs at Canary Wharf Group said: “In just over two years’ time Canary Wharf will welcome the first of its own residents as the developments start to open their doors, this makes it more important than ever to celebrate the residents in our existing communities who contribute so much to those around them. The Community Champions ceremony provides the opportunity to highlight and acknowledge the contribution of these individuals and show our appreciation.”

Award recipients attended with friends and family. The event comprised dinner and short presentations outlining each of their achievements which ranged from leadership of local sports clubs and community organisations to supporting Housing Associations and local residents groups over many years.

The award recipients were Susan Blinman; Derrick and Lilian Cutler; Peter Fordham; Raymond and Janice Fortune; Janet Foster; Eileen Groves; Buddy Penn; Fr Tom Pyke; Gloria Thienel and Remmie Williams. Each person was presented with a framed certificate signed by Sir George Iacobescu CBE, Canary Wharf Group’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, along with £250 to donate to a community organisation of their choice.

Awards were presented by senior Canary Wharf Group managers and distinguished guests including Councillor Sabina Akhtar, Speaker of Tower Hamlets, Leslie Morgan OBE, Deputy Lieutenant for Tower Hamlets and Superintendent Peter Turner.


For further information, please contact:

Press Office
Canary Wharf Group plc
T: 020 7418 2166
E: pressoffice@canarywharf.com

Notes to Editors

Further details of the award recipients

Susan Blinman – Presented by Matt Maer, Director, Security & Resilience, Canary Wharf Group.

Organisations: Group Leader HCPT Group 84, Governor at Our Lady & St Joseph Catholic School in Poplar, St Mary and St Joseph Catholic Church and volunteer at GrowTH.

  • As a Group Leader of HCPT Group 84, Susan and the team raise £10,000 each year to take 10 children with varying special needs to Lourdes in France. It is often the first time these children have had a holiday and also the first time parents and other siblings have had any respite care. Easter 2018 will be Susan’s 22nd year with the group.
  • Susan has served as a Governor at Our Lady & St Joseph Catholic School in Poplar for over 20 years and has been Chair, Vice Chair and Chair of numerous committees.
  • Susan is an active member of St Mary and St Joseph Catholic Church and is currently Chair of the Finance Committee.
  • During the winter period, Susan, along with a number of other volunteers provide breakfast for homeless people every Wednesday morning at St Mathias Community Centre as part of the GrowTH project for homeless people.

Derrick and Lilian Cutler – Presented by Zakir Khan, Associate Director of Community Affairs, Canary Wharf Group.

Organisations: Shadwell Sporting Club, Barley Mow TRA and Limehouse Youth Club.

  • Derrick, along with other parents, helped to start up the Shadwell Sporting Club in the early 70s forming several football teams with great success playing in a number of East London leagues, he also helped with the first E. L. Festival on Bigland Green in the 80s.
  • At the same time, Lily, along with other residents, formed the Barley Mow TRA and ran summer projects for the children, taking them away on camping weekends.
  • In the early 90s, Lily and Derrick, along with other local people, were involved in making sure the Limehouse Youth Club was rebuilt in Limehouse causeway for the local children. Lily became an active member on the newly formed committee.
  • Derrick and Lily now run the Barley Mow TRA along with six other residents organising a yearly free day trip to Southend for families on the estate and weekly activities for the over 50s.

Peter Fordham AADipl RIBA – Presented by Howard Sheppard, Planning Advisor, Canary Wharf Group.

Organisations: Association of Island Communities Voluntary Council, Trustee of the Mudchute Association and the Mudchute Park and Farm and Committee Member of the Isle of Dogs Neighbourhood Planning Forum.

  • In the 1980s as a member of the Docklands Forum and the Docklands History Group Peter wrote a thesis on the original Mast House.
  • Still a member of the Association of Island Communities Voluntary Council and holding the position of vice chair for a number of years. This charity holds public meetings every month and is the forum for local residents on the Isle of Dogs to exchange views on all local matters. One of the most important subjects discussed is planning, which is a matter on which he has given pro bono professional advice over many years as a practising Architect.
  • Peter’s passion for preserving outdoor spaces has been put to good use; in 1995 he was elected Chairman for the Mudchute Association and the Mudchute Park and Farm, he then continued to be a trustee for over twenty-five years. His expertise were put to good use in 1991/2 when he represented the farm at the Parliamentary Committee hearings of both the House of Commons and House of Lords, concerning the London Docklands Railway Bill, which proposed extending the Docklands Light Railway from Island Gardens to Lewisham. His objective was, to minimise the loss of land to the farm and the arguments that he presented were fully accepted by both committees, this resulted in the plans being changed to compensate the farm.
  • At October’s AGM of the Isle of Dogs Neighbourhood Planning Forum Peter was elected to join the committee, with whom he intends to continue to address the matter of helping to create more publicly accessible open spaces.

Raymond and Janice Fortune – Presented by Councillor Sabina Akhtar, Speaker of Tower Hamlets.

Organisations: Poplar Bowls Club and Neighbours in Poplar.

  • Janice and Ray Fortune have been members of Poplar Bowls Club for 30 years and 23 years respectively. Both have been long serving members of the committee and hold the positions of secretary and fixture secretary for the club.
  • Janice and her family have been involved with Neighbours in Poplar which is located at St Matthias just next door to the club for over 40 years, especially at Christmas time delivering hot dinners to the sick, elderly and housebound people of Tower Hamlets.
  • Both Janice and Ray work very hard to keep the bowls club going, in what is a dying sport. They are true advocates for the game of bowls and support younger generations to access it, Ray managing the Middlesex under 25s team and hosting local primary schools on a six week course culminating in a competition where the club presented awards for the winners.

Janet Foster – Presented by Danny Seliger, Director, Administration, Canary Wharf Group.

Organisations: Stepney Community Centre and Friends of Stepney and Brenner.

  • After working as a project manager for many Youth Employment Programmes across London Janet began to volunteer as a member of the Redbridge Schools Appeals Panel, where she volunteers to this day.
  • On retirement from the Civil Service, Janet still felt the need to be active and became a day volunteer with Stepney Community Centre and was amazed by the number of members that she knew personally from growing up in the area.
  • Janet now takes a leading role in fundraising for the centre with the Friends of Stepney and Brenner organising many and varied entertainment events, bazaars and activities for the members.
  • In addition, Janet still finds time to be Secretary to the Gants Hill Medical Centre Patients Participation Group.

Eileen Groves – Presented by Councillor Sabina Akhtar, Speaker of Tower Hamlets.

Organisation: Ebeegees.

  • Eileen has always taken an active interest in community matters and was secretary of her tenants association in Watney Street back in the 1970s.
  • During the 90s she and her friend and neighbour Betty Bristow began to organise parties and events for the over 50s within the Hind Grove Residents Association. These were partly funded by raffles and jumble sales and became eagerly anticipated by local residents.
  • When the Residents Association was no longer involved, Eileen and Betty took the helm of the eponymous Eileen and Betty Group, later shortened to the Ebeegees. They continued, with help from many others, to arrange outings, parties, lunches and events for the older members of their community.
  • Sadly Betty died in 2015, but Ebeegees continues to go from strength to strength with help from members Michael and Ann Sullivan. Plans are already underway for events in 2018 and the town of Scarborough is bracing itself to host them for an energetic week in the spring.

Buddy Penn – Presented by Howard Dawber, Managing Director, Strategy, Canary Wharf Group.

Organisations: Association of Island Communities Voluntary Council, Friends of Island History Trust, Island Health Trust, Mudchute Park and Farm and Saunders Ness and Empire & Grosvenor Wharf Housing Association.

  • Buddy started local volunteering with the Association of Island Communities Voluntary Council in the early 80s.
  • Later becoming involved as volunteer with Island History Trust when it was started in 1981, arranging history class outings and writing newsletter articles. Buddy now still holds the position of Vice Treasurer with the newly formed Friends of Island History Trust.
  • Held the role of a trustee of the Island Health Trust for 22 years, arranging regular meetings and awarding grants to local communities for health purposes.
  • Buddy also volunteered with Mudchute Park and Farm to help organise the agricultural shows and held the post of Secretary.
  • Also represented residents of the Saunders Ness, Empire & Grosvenor Wharf Housing Association, formed in the 1980s as Secretary.

Fr Tom Pyke – Presented by Superintendent Peter Turner, Metropolitan Police.

Organisations: Vicar of the Parish of Christ and St John, with St Luke, Chaplain to HMS PRESIDENT and Chair of Governors at St Luke’s School.

  • Tom Pyke has served as the Vicar of the Isle of Dogs for the past eleven years and has devoted his energy to the community in its widest possible terms.
  • Tom visited the Isle of Dogs on a day-off, and found it an inspiring, unusual place. In 2006 he was appointed Vicar of the Parish of Christ and St John, with St Luke. There was a long-standing scheme to redevelop St Luke’s. This needed re-envisioning and reconfiguring, and he spent many hours doing this with project architect Brendan Phelan, who sadly died this year. The new St Luke’s is approaching completion and will open in the spring of 2018.
  • Tom has had a key role in primary education during his time on the Island, he can often be found in St Luke’s School teaching RE, leading collective worship and helping to appoint staff in his role as the Chair of Governors.
  • Tom has a love of the sea which even he finds hard to explain! When he came to London he was appointed Chaplain to HMS PRESIDENT, the Royal Naval Reserve unit near St Katharine’s Docks.

Gloria Thienel – Presented by John Garwood, Managing Director & Group Company Secretary, Canary Wharf Group.

Organisations: Cockney Heritage Trust and Friends of Island Gardens.

  • In 2007, frustrated by what she perceived as a lack of transparency and soaring costs, Gloria set up and chaired a local residents Leaseholders Group. Under her leadership this organisation ensured services paid for were of an acceptable standard, and costs billed to leaseholders were correct.
  • In May 2010 Gloria was elected to LBTH as Councillor from The Conservative Party, representing Blackwall & Cubitt Town ward, her efforts on behalf of the community she has lived in for 45 years were recognised in June, 2011, when she was awarded the Mayor of London Team London Award. This honour is given to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to improving London and quality of life for Londoners.
  • In June 2013 Gloria worked with the organisers of the first Cockney Heritage Festival, helping them to gain funding and fish from Billingsgate Fish Market, this was key to helping the event be a success, and in recognising the contributions of Cockneys to London.
  • Gloria helped set up Friends of Island Gardens (FOIG), an organisation intended to protect this Grade II Listed Park for future generations, where she now holds the position of Her efforts helped Island Gardens to secure its first Christmas tree in December 2013 and create a Remembrance Garden where a Remembrance service is now held every year with local school children.

Remmie Williams – Presented by Leslie Morgan, OBE, Representative Deputy Lieutenant for Tower Hamlets.

Organisations: Neighbours in Poplar and St Katherine’s Bingo Club in Poplar.

  • Remmie Williams has been actively involved in community volunteering for nearly 7 years. She started volunteering with Neighbours in Poplar on Christmas Day 2010 helping with their annual Christmas meal delivery, something she has done every year since, she now holds the position of Chair.
  • In 2012 Remmie agreed to help with St Katherine’s Bingo Club in Poplar. The group aged between 55-90 years used to simply play bingo but now they also enjoy many cups of tea, planned shopping trips and many new friendships have been made. This year’s group also enjoyed their first day trip to Hastings, this was a great success and will become an annual event.
  • Remmie put her commercial skills to good practise turning the Neighbours in Poplar jumble sale from a few tables to one of the biggest in the area. The effort she has put in has resulted in the sale being well-known throughout East London for its friendliness, quality and bargains, and it has been a great way of fundraising.

About Canary Wharf Group

Canary Wharf Group plc has overseen the largest urban regeneration project ever undertaken in Europe, designing and building more than 17million sq ft of London real estate, which now houses local and international companies and renowned retailers.

The Canary Wharf Estate is a major retail destination comprising around 1m sq ft across five shopping malls, including the award-winning leisure development, Crossrail Place, housing one of London’s most stunning roof gardens. It also has world-class, year-round arts and events programme offering over 200 diverse and culturally inspiring events performed throughout the Estate.

Canary Wharf Group is a wholly owned joint venture between Brookfield Property Partners and the Qatar Investment Authority.

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