The driving force behind a unique awards scheme that has seen thousands of children develop in Wirral has received a major accolade for her work.
Former teacher Brenda Thompson, who devotes her life to running the Wirral Civic Awards for Young People, received a special Lifetime Achievement Award as part of the Cheshire Woman of the Year 2017 celebrations, which honour the women who have made a difference to their local communities.
The presentation of Brenda's award for her community service came on the 37th anniversary of the creation of the Wirral Civic Awards, which were set up to challenge young people in categories including: Service to Others, Local Awareness, Self-Reliance, Physical Achievement and Wise Use of Leisure.
Brenda, who lives in Irby, said: “Wirral Civic Awards have been an important part of my life for so many years, and it has been wonderful to see so many children take up these challenges and make the most of their own individual abilities.
“Winning the award came as a complete surprise. However, it's the young people themselves who are the real achievers. Apart from finding out about the place where they live, its history and heritage and how they can help others in the local community, they also gain valuable knowledge about themselves and the goals they can reach from an early age.
“From its very small beginnings 37 years ago, Wirral Civic Awards have become an integral part of life here. One of the most wonderful things is to see those who received an award as a young person all those years ago now encouraging their own children to take part in the scheme. Parents, teachers and community group leaders have all had their part to play too in making the project the success it is today.”
Wirral Civic Awards came into being to offer life challenges to children aged 8 years to 14 years who were too young to complete the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme. Four stages of the awards – named after Wirral's four rivers of Arrowe, Birket, Clatter and Dibbin – take the young people through a variety of tasks, which can include swimming, dance, music, the school choir, and more.