Party Awards, Autumn 2021
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats
The President's award
The President's award seeks to recognise people for their hard work, long service, and demonstrable dedication to the party, at whatever level.
This year's winner is Cllr Mel Allcott.
Mel first stood for election to the City Council in 2014 where she received 794 votes, 250 short of the winner. She stood again in the area in 2015 and 2016, increasing her vote share each time, and in 2019, in a by-election, she finally won with 1,307 votes. A fantastic achievement after 6 years of tenacious campaigning, always listening to the voters and focusing on the issues that mattered to them.
In 2021, as a testament to her work in the constituency, voters elected her to the county council with a stunning 400 majority on a 48% turnout. Not only did she win the seat but as we are now the largest opposition party in the county. Mel was selected as the Liberal Democrat group leader and Leader of the Formal Opposition group with Labour. With 45 Conservatives, 4 Lib Dems, 3 Labour, 3 Greens and 2 independents on the county council, Mel's task is not an easy one, but she is a leading light for liberal values and, we hope, the start of a sea change in the area.
With her years of dedicated local campaigning she has led the way in taking the fight to the Conservatives in Worcester.
Dadabhai Naoroji Award
We present this award to the Local Party that has done most to promote ethnic minority members to elected office.
This year's winners are the Warwick District Local Party, with a special mention of Cllr Mubarik Chowdry.
The Warwick District put in sustained effort reaching out to the local Muslim community, building links with the Mosque and so attracting to the party someone who went on to be elected as the first ever Muslim town councillor in Royal Leamington Spa.
Local teams working with local Mosques and Islamic Centres, not just in advance of elections but in a sustained and engaging way to build trust with the Muslim community is an example to any Local Party.
The Harriet Smith Distinguished Service Award
The Harriet Smith shares its aim with the President's award but specifically recognises a member never elected to public office.
This year's winner, much to her amusement, is Harriet's younger sister Kirsty Smith.
Kirsty has been an unsung hero in the Scottish Party longer than many of us have been members, this year celebrating her 25th anniversary as Scottish Voluntary Conference Co-ordinator. Colleagues describe her as the Scottish Conference's 'gene memory', a role she plays alongside her copious campaign and support work.
Volunteers are the lifeblood of the Party, and it is with great pleasure that we recognise her lifetime of dedication.
Belinda Eyre-Brook Award
This award is given to recognise and celebrate the efforts of people working for our elected representatives in their local areas - from Local Party employees, to political assistants to council groups, to people working in MPs' constituency offices.
We're delighted to congratulate Judith Conway this year.
Judith has served as the Secretary to the Sutton Liberal Democrat Council Group for several years now, and colleagues describe her as 'the backbone' of the Group.
Without her support, the work of the Lib Dems on Sutton Council 'would be nigh on impossible', and this year we would like to praise her for a 'seamless and near overnight' transition of key election preparations from in-person to Covid-safe.
The Patsy Calton Award
Presented by Liberal Democrat Women each year to an exceptional woman, ranging from Councillors, to members, to Parliamentarians.
Our winner this year is the remarkable Candy Piercy.
Candy gives so much to the Party, from being the inspiring Chair of the Campaign for Gender Balance, supporting and motivating women from all backgrounds to stand as parliamentary and council candidates, to leading training for the party, to sitting on the Federal Board.
This year in particular we thank Candy for her integral work in delivering our fantastic result in Chesham & Amersham and helping smash the blue wall to victory.
The Penhaligon Award
The Penhaligon Award is presented to the Local Party which demonstrates the most impressive increase in membership and exemplary activities to deliver and involve members and supporters. It recognises the hard work done to build a Party which is attractive and effective at a local level.
This year, we are recognising the Chesham and Amersham Liberal Democrats.
It is easy to focus on the impressive victory, electing Sarah Green, achieved in Chesham and Amersham. What is easy to forget is all the fantastic work activists in the seat did after the election to use that momentum to grow our membership base. The numbers speak for themselves, with the team, since polling day for instance, recruiting 20 new deliverers.
Our congratulations to everyone in the Local Party.