People of all ages get Citizens Awards

MP ANDREW Gwynne crossed borders to hand out a Citizens Award to a dedicated young girl who went above and beyond to help those less fortunate.

He may be Denton born and bred but his constituency takes in neighbouring Audenshaw and Eva Pearce’s efforts could not go unrecognised.

So he was more than happy to hand the six-year-old one of the prizes for her work supporting Afghan refugee children.

Eva Pearce collects her award from Andrew Gwynne MP

Eva organised a sponsored swim to raise funds to buy bi-lingual books, gifts and other things to help refugee children settle in.

She managed to swim an incredible 144 metres, an achievement made all the more remarkable by the fact that she only completed her first five metres in June.

Eva’s award may represent the work the younger generation is putting in for others but Josie Neal’s showed age is no barrier to helping.

On Remembrance Sunday, after the Mayor’s representative had closed proceedings at the Denton Service of Remembrance, the MP took her completely by surprise and presented an award alongside Cllr Brenda Warrington and Cllr Vincent Ricci.

Josie’s award followed a post by her daughter Amanda on Facebook, in which she wrote about the incredible work she has done with the Royal British Legion.

She has been a member for more than 50 years, standard bearer for 32, and the Poppy organiser for Denton for the last six.

Within a matter of hours, Mr Gwynne was inundated with over 40 nominations from residents who had seen the post and wanted Josie to be recognised.

Mr Gwynne said: “Presenting Citizen’s Awards to inspirational local people is one of the best parts of my job. It was a privilege to recognise the fantastic efforts of Eva and Josie.

“Eva was deeply moved by the plight of Afghan refugee children and took action to make a difference. She swam and swam and raised a fantastic amount of money for such a good cause.

“Her actions will help refugee children feel settled in what is an extremely scary time for them. What an incredible thing to do and what an incredible young girl.

Josie Neal was presented with an award on Remembrance Day

“Josie has been a member of the Royal British Legion for over 50 years and in that time has been tireless in her dedication and service.

“After her daughter put up that post online, it seemed like the whole of Denton got in touch to call for her to be properly recognised for her work.

“Josie had no idea that she was going to be presented with an award, and it was a lovely moment when she saw just how grateful we all are for the amazing things that she’s done for the Legion and the local community.”

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