Last night I attended the Citizen of Southend Awards Event, held at the Mayor’s Parlour, at Porters, close by the centre of the town.
This was my first experience attending what has now become an annual, well reported, event that is attended by a number of local dignitaries. It was a pleasant one, especially as I got the chance to catch up with old friends, meet new ones, involve my family, enjoy the experience of my town recognizing folk who have contributed to the good of community, on a voluntary basis, and be reminded, despite all the bad things going on around us, there are many good things too. The food was superb and it was nice to get an award. I enjoyed learning about what each person who received an award did. Mayor Judith did a good job by her words and welcome and it was good my favourite MP (now ex), Teddy Taylor was involved.
When I was told I had received an award, it did come as a pleasant surprise. I thought about the time Homer Simpson becoming the unlikely mayor of Springfield I was brought back to earth when my wife reminded me I had something to live up to. Like others before me, the thought of being recognized in this way was low down in the list of motivating factors for becoming a community activist. Given many try and succeed in doing good in their communities, and without ostentation, being given such an award was a humbling experience, knowing as I do there are many unsung (outside of their own small circle) heroes in my town, operating in all sorts of areas and ways over long periods, that also deserve recognition like this.
As I have reflected on previous occasions, the possibilities for making a difference in our communities are great and we are all able to do something quite unique in this regard that benefits others, and there is no excuse given the needs and opportunities. I also feel that while for many who work for their community, power, pleasure or prestige are not the reasons for doing what they do, often motives can be quite different and sometimes can be selfish or misguided, but the one thing that does matter is making a positive difference, and because of that we do well to encourage those who contribute, and credit goes to those who put on this event for doing just that.