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Brentwood Borough Council

Press Release

Civic Award winners announced

Date: 6 March 2018

Brentwood Borough Council has announced the winners of the Civic Awards 2017.

The awards recognise individuals who have dedicated their time to help others in Brentwood. They were presented at the Civic Dinner on Friday 2 March, at Hutton Mount Banqueting Suite, Mount Avenue, Hutton Mount.

The winners were:

  • Service to the Community – Chris Boyland
  • Service to the Community – Royal British Legion – Brentwood and District Branch
  • Lifetime Achievement – Paula Hills
  • Lifetime Achievement – Brian Kitchener

The Civic Awards Judging Panel said they were impressed with the high quality of the applications showing the work the winners had done in the Brentwood community.

Mayor of Brentwood, Councillor Will Russell, who was also on the judging panel, said: “I was impressed with the quality of our winners’ work. It shows the time that Chris Boyland, Paula Hills and Brian Kitchener have given to our Brentwood community, often devoting many years to help and support others. These winners have made a real difference to people’s lives in and around the Brentwood area and I am pleased that we were able to recognise them in this way.

It is also the first time in the Civic Awards’ history that the award has been given to a group and it was a fitting year to award this as the Royal British Legion Brentwood and District Branch celebrated their 75th anniversary in 2017, the year these awards mark, giving exceptional service to the Brentwood community amongst others.”

Chris Boyland said: “It has been mentioned to me that I am happy when I see everyone else enjoying themselves, so helping with Lighting up Brentwood and seeing many happy faces is very rewarding I have been very blessed in life in many ways, by giving something back into the community – that means a lot. I’m thankful for the award, but I wouldn’t have been able to do this without those who I have worked with, the members of Churches Together and the Community Services team at the Council to be able to put these events on for people in Brentwood and the current and past Mayors who have all been supportive.”

Chairman of the Royal British Legion Brentwood and District Branch Sydney Bryer said: “Our work at the legion has been important to support the veterans, families of veterans and Cadet Forces in the Brentwood area and to raise awareness and the meaning of remembrance. It is an honour for the RBL to be the first group to receive this award and to be recognised in this way.” 

Paula Hills said: “SNAP is like a family and it has been important to me to help over the past 24 years. When I had my son, who has disabilities, there was very little information available for parents like me, so I knew how much a service like SNAP was needed, especially to create a support and an information network.

Brian Kitchener said: “I am honoured to have received this award. I got involved with the Royal British Legion as Brentwood is a garrison town, and it was important to keep the memory alive of those who had fallen. It was very important to keep the branch going, so early on I was involved in many roles until more members joined. I couldn’t achieved what I have without the other members who have helped make the branch what it is.”



Notes to editors:

Pictures of the winners and a collage are available.


Chris Boyland – Service to the Community

Chris has been involved in the Brentwood community for a number of years. In his younger days he was part of the 1st Brentwood Boys Brigade where he became an accomplished musician and an active member of the Congregational Church Youth Club. He then became a Boys Brigade Team Leader and a Special Police Constable for a few years in the Brentwood area.

He has continued to support the local community over the past 11 years by being involved with Lighting Up Brentwood. As the Churches Together representative he has continued to support the Lighting Up working group with his vast wealth of organisational experience and through his contacts in the community, has brought a large number of volunteers to support the Council’s largest community event. He has also encouraged the schools and local performers to be heavily involved and helps ensure that the event retains a great family atmosphere.

Recently Chris became more involved in supporting, organising the musical line up and co-hosting the Council’s Strawberry Fayre event in the summer. Without Chris and his colleagues’ invaluable assistance the Council would not be able to deliver these community events on this scale.

When not involved in Churches Together, he finds time to assist his neighbours. He is a proactive and reliable individual, who takes the initiative where he sees the need.

He is extremely reliable – always doing what he promises, and he often doesn’t take enough credit for what he is doing to help members of the Brentwood community.

Royal British Legion – Brentwood & District Branch – Service to the Community

The branch celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2017, the year these awards mark, giving exceptional service to the Brentwood community, the Council, veterans, sailors, soldiers, airmen, cadets and schools within the area.

Brentwood RBL is well known for its service and support to the Council and at Civic events, flag raising, Freedom Marches, Poppy Appeal and the annual Remembrance Day Parade. The RBL is a vital part of the Remembrance Day Committee and puts great effort into contacting military and cadet associations, including civil organisations and schools to ensure a good attendance.

As a branch they have raised thousands of pounds to support remembrance locally and undertake a considerable amount of community involvement.

The branch through its Chairman visit several infants, junior and secondary schools throughout the Borough, giving talks on the true meaning of the Poppy and its connection with Remembrance. A special remembrance service is held at the Memorial specifically for school children, this is one of three services arranged at the memorial by Brentwood RBL and is attended annually by many schools and witnessed by each of the incumbent leading citizens and the Mayor.

The branch will represent the Borough in the GB90 March Celebrations in Belgium and France and will represent not only Brentwood, but Essex also this August. They are also carrying out research into the Brentwood families of all those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the First World War. The aim of this research is to invite surviving family members to attend the commemorations and take part in the Remembrance Parade.

The branch is also involved in school events, the Poppy Appeal, and is involved with the Armey Reserve, which is now based in Warley. All the cadet units in Brentwood are also now affiliated with the Brentwood RBL branch.

The branch gives unfailing service in respect of ex-servicemen and women who have passed away, frequently attending funerals and in providing poppy wreaths for funerals together with standard bearers.

Paula Hills – Lifetime Achievement

Paula was one of the eight founding members in 1994 of SNAP (Special Needs and Parents) the Brentwood-based charity for families who have children with special needs and disabilities.

Twenty-four years on and Paula has proved remarkable longevity of the commitment to volunteering at SNAP ever since. Having a multiply disabled son and with experience of setting up a music therapy charity for pre-school children with special needs, Paula was a great asset from day one, from when she has been actively involved in virtually every capacity from services at the centre, to governance, supporting staff and supporting fundraising. She finds time for all of this alongside being a full-time carer and mum to her son.

Paula has expertise in sensory therapies, developed in light of her son’s needs. When SNAP moved to its own centre in 1997, Paula was responsible for designing and equipping the Multi-Sensory Room.

Her nomination said: “Paula is one of life’s unsung heroes. She holds no position of rank and is not one to seek the limelight or acknowledgement of her good deeds. She goes quietly about her business, providing a lifeline to families.”

Paula brings a wealth of parental and professional experience to SNAP and therefore to the Brentwood and surrounding community. She is passionate about supporting and campaigning for families who have children and young people with disabilities. She works tirelessly for others and has had such a major influence on many hundreds of local families over the past 24 years.

Brian Kitchener – Lifetime Achievement

Brian has been an outstanding member of the community for many years. He served in the Royal Engineers from 1951 for two years after which he joined the 122 Field Engineer Regiment in the Territorial Army for four years.

He joined the Royal British Legion Brentwood Branch 23 years ago and has served in many roles including the Chairman for 14 years, Welfare Officer, and the President for the past six years. Brian has held many other roles in his time; he joined at a time when membership was low, and he focused on boosting it with the aim of keeping the memory alive of those who had fallen. At that time, he was Chairman of the branch, secretary, treasurer when the roles were vacant, and is now the President of the branch.

Brian had been an instigating force in the refurbishment of the Brentwood War Memorial in Remembrance to those who have died since the war ended in 1945. He also arranged for two marble seats to be placed at the Memorial to commemorate the beginning of World War 1.

Now at the age of 87, Brian still fulfills many roles in the community, and many people will recognise him from selling Remembrance Day poppies locally to leading Brentwood’s Remembrance Day Parade. He has also been invited to recite the eulogy for many veterans’ funerals.

Brian’s nomination said that he is an outstanding man in both stature and the community life. He is a family man, a great friend and is held in high regard by all those who know him.

Without Brian’s work the Brentwood Royal British Legion would not be where it is today.

Media Contact: Safira Ali

Tel: 01277 312895