Meet the ‘outstanding’ people in Portsmouth honoured with civic awards

‘OUTSTANDING’ community members were honoured with awards at the new Lord Mayor’s first act in the role.

Saturday, 18th May 2019, 10:24 am
Newly-elected Lord Mayor Cllr David Fuller presents a Civic Award to Brian Futcher. Picture: Vernon Nash (Vernon Nash_Mayor Making Ceremony 2019-584)

During Tuesday’s mayor-making ceremony Portsmouth’s newly appointed Lord Mayor Councillor David Fuller presented the civic awards.

Jane McDonald attended to accept a posthumous award for her brother John Holland who died aged 63 in January this year.

John was given the award before he died in Rowans Hospice but Jane said it was still important that he was recognised at the ceremony. ‘John loved Portsmouth and was such an active member in the community,’ she said.

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‘He moved here in the 1980s and straight away loved the city and became involved in so many groups.’

John was well known for his roles at the No6 Cinema, the Portsmouth Society, the Portsmouth Cycle Forum and the Community Cycle Centre among others.

Jane added: ‘I am so grateful that they were able to bring the award to John while he was in the hospice. I am going to hang the award in his Southsea home.’

Zephra Atkins from Southsea was presented with the youth civic award for her work with the Active Communities Network in Portsmouth, which encourages young people to get involved in sports and other activities.

The 20-year-old started volunteering for the group two years ago clocking up more than 200 hours of service before she became a paid member of staff. Now she works to encourage other young people to volunteer.

She said: ‘I think groups like this are so important everywhere, especially Portsmouth.

‘I don’t believe in the “snowflake generation”. Young people do work hard and want to get involved. We need to increase the positive perception of young people.’

North End resident Brian Futcher was also awarded for his work with the Kurdish community both in and out of Portsmouth.

The 75-year-old has been actively supporting Kurdish people since 1991 when he ‘heard a voice from God that said “save the Kurds.”‘

Brian said: ‘I didn’t even know who the Kurds were but I wrote “Save the Kurds” on the window of my shop Squirrels.’

Since then he has been out to countries within the Kurdistan region such as Iraq and Iran and is an active member of the Portsmouth Kurdish community.

‘This is the first time what I do has been recognised,’ he added.

‘I just want Kurds to know that they are loved.’

Civic awards were also given to Alison Irish, Eddie Salt, James Coomber, Mick May, Kalming Lai, Marcella Payne, the Royal Marine Cadets, Terence Bryant and Denise Bryant.