The winners of this year’s Brockenhurst Citizen of the Year have been decided, and they have received their trophies at suitable ‘socially distanced’ presentations from the Judges. They were Parish Council Chairman Pete Wales, Vicar Rev. Simon Newham, and the Chair of the Brockenhurst Village trust which organises the event, Kevin Plummer.

The awards for continual service to Brockenhurst and its community, went to two ladies. Joyce Kolaczkowski organises Brockcare, based at St Saviour’s Church, pictured top left. It has 120+ volunteers many of whom started after the beginning of lockdown last year. They help the older and more vulnerable parts of our community, visiting people who are ill, both during more ‘normal times but especially during COVID.  

The other community award was presented to Elaine Chester (top right), who with her husband set up the Day Centre (which became The Friday Club) at the Village Hall in 1996, and ran it for over twenty years. After stepping down, she returned last year when a gap emerged, and has been organising many virtual events to keep volunteers and users engaged. Elaine has also organised Care Car, and maintains a social circle where she loves for neighbours and friends.

The other Brockenhurst Citizen of the Year is Jane Overall (bottom left), who has set up a food service and kitchen in the Village Hall during COVID. She helps those in need across the village and beyond, distributing food donated by supermarkets, and cooking nutritious meals to be distributed by herself and volunteers. One of her achievements is baking over 100 cakes a week!

Finally the Judges wanted to mark the achievements of the late Dr Derek Browne, who sadly died in December. As well as being a village GP for several decades, Derek spearheaded the campaign to build a village hall and buy the land it stood on, most noticeably through a series of marathons in the 1980’s. He linked the village and health care, realising that good health is often linked to social activity. His Healthy Village Project has been replicated around the world, supported by the World Health Organisation. Dr Browne was also President of the Friends of Brockenhurst.  His award was accepted by his wife, Esther Browne (bottom right).

“Brockenhurst has a warm heart, and many people help and volunteer,” says Kevin Plummer, Chair of the Brockenhurst Village Trust. “ The nominations we received were for those who go the extra mile, both generally, and specifically in COVID, and we congratulate both them, and all who are giving their time freely to support others.

The 2020 Brockenhurst Citizen of the Year Award is sponsored by Meadens Skoda.