Last night the winners of the 2019 Hidden Gems Awards were announced. Marlow FM had invited nominations from the public, and the top three were then put out for a public vote – more than 6,500 votes were cast. The winners were revealed at a sparkling awards dinner at Danesfield House.
Pat Reading, Fundraising Director of Marlow FM and the lead organiser of the awards, said: “Hidden Gems exists to champion and say thank you to the unsung heroes of our wonderful town. All the nominees deserved recognition, and some categories were really close.”
Guests included Richard Scott, Town Mayor, Jocelyn Towns, Leader of the Council, and Lesley James, President of the Marlow and District Chamber of Trade and Commerce. The ceremony followed a black-tie dinner, auction, and raffle. All the money raised on the night will go to funding Marlow FM.
For each winner, we have also included a selection of comments that were made when nominations were submitted by the public. Many congratulations to Marlow FM for organising, to all the nominees and of course the winners! There were also two Special Recognition awards handed out to very deserving individuals, as noted at the end of the list!
So here we go….. (with many thanks to Ian Branch for the photography)
BEST DINING EXPERIENCE OF THE YEAR
Presented by Jill Hickey, Marlow FM Presenter.
WINNER: THE IVY, MARLOW GARDEN
“Great value, great service”
“Beautiful setting, makes you feel special, staff extremely attentive and so polite”
“Nice decor, fresh displays outside which look good on the high street, good service”
PUB OF THE YEAR
Presented by Gemma-Leigh James, Marlow FM Presenter.
WINNER: THE ROYAL OAK
“Lovely, friendly atmosphere, and great food. I really like their trading post and that they’re willing to trade local produce for credit. “
“A perfect place for summer drinks”
“the best staff, great food and wonderful garden. Dog friendly too”
“It has the friendliest staff and an amazing garden that welcomes kids and animals and doesn’t care how you are dressed.”
BEST CAFÉ OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by Chives Catering, presented by Vicky Everitt.
WINNER: CEDAR CAFE
“Friendly staff, interesting food”
“Lovely friendly owners and staff; great food, looking even better after the recent refurb.”
“Great service, great food, lovely people, they even do gluten free cake AND they’re more than happy to pop your takeaway in your own container for you if you bring it along! :)”
“incredible food, lovely staff, good banter, nice atmosphere…altogether friendly and tasty!”
The award was accepted on behalf of the team by one of their customers Lauren Wright
BEST COMMUNITY EVENT OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by Marlow Town Council, presented by Cllr Richard Scott (Mayor).
WINNER: MARLOW CARNIVAL
MyMarlow’s own Kelly Horner was part of the Carnival planning group, alongside chairman Lindsay Robinson, Jane Douglass, Andy Robinson, Espen Ostbye Strom, Kevin Douglass, and Dave Pering and Tim Ashburner (not pictured). On the day itself there were many other volunteers who all made it an event to remember!
“Best one yet this year!”
“It was such a lovely event summing up all that is good in Marlow. No commercial interest pushing it, true community spirit. So many people in Marlow turned out to watch the parade and then stayed for all the entertainment in the park”
SERVICES TO THE COMMUNITY
Sponsored by Marlow Chamber of Trade & Commerce, presented by Lesley James, President.
WINNER: MAKING MARLOW DEMENTIA FRIENDLY
“In a short period Making Marlow Dementia Friendly has achieved a great deal, encouraging shops, restaurants, public spaces and organisations throughout Marlow displaying our distinctive yellow MMDF badges to show that they are involved in this major project for the whole community.”
“A fantastic project by the community for the community”
GREEN MARLOW *new category for 2019!*
Sponsored by ADEC Innovations, presented by Dóra Hargitai.
WINNER: THE MARLOW WOMBLES
“Amazing work keeping our community clean and tidy”
“leaning up after the messy folk who drop their litter ;-)”
“They are doing an amazing job cleaning up our town. They are motivating local residents to get involved”
“Out all hours and days of the week to help make Marlow cleaner”
BEST CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
WINNER: THEO CLARY, Sainsbury’s
Theo was not at the ceremony, but had his award presented earlier, in store. Photographed here with his manager Nadim. Comments included:
“Always has the biggest smile whatever the weather”
“Makes you feel so welcome at Sainsbury’s “
“A real unsung hero doing an essential job with the trolleys at Sainsbury’s, always with a huge smile”
SERVICES TO CHARITY
Presented by Rhiannon Bowen Evans, Marlow FM Presenter.
This category is decided by committee, and the deserved winner was…
The Round Table work tirelessly and are involved in so many fundraising events: the May Fayre with the famous duck race, the bar at the Regatta, helping the set up at the Marlow Carnival, Children in Need with toll on the bridge, the Santa Float – and then they give it back to local charities, supporting so many local causes.
INDEPENDENT LOCAL PRODUCER -FOOD/DRINK *new category for 2019*
Presented by Fatima Roels, Marlow FM Presenter.
WINNER: REBELLION BEER
“Quality local product, serving local events”
“best beer great community attitude”
ARTS EVENT OF THE YEAR
Presented by Bridget Biggar, Marlow FM Presenter.
WINNER: ART IN THE PARK, THE CREATION STATION
“This is an amazing experience for kids. It’s run through the summer school holidays in Riley Park and has a different theme every week. “
“A fantastic outdoor opportunity to be creative. “
“well organised, friendly, amazingly well thought out for children of all ages. Just a brilliant activity by an amazing organiser! I couldn’t recommend it highly enough!2
TEACHER OF THE YEAR
Presented by Brian Naylor, Marlow FM Presenter – Breakfast Show.
LIZ PHILIPS, MARLOW CE INFANT SCHOOL (SANDYGATE)
“An amazing teacher who gives her heart and soul to the school and the community”
“Liz has been a huge part of the teaching team at Sandygate for the last 15 years and makes such a difference every day to the lives of the children with her ongoing enthusiasm and love for music and the community. Liz spends hours choosing the right music, songs and hymns for daily worship, assemblies, Christmas carols for the elderly at Help The Aged, plus accompanying and directing the children in various performances, productions and day to day school “
“This teacher is so dedicated & achieves wonders with children”
“A dedicated member of the staff for over 15 years. Comes in on her days off. Works on praise in the park nativity at Christmas. Concerts for the elderly at the school and much more.”
“The school has been fortunate enough to enjoy the joy of music through Mrs Philips’ expertise and dedication. She gives her absolute all to everything she does and goes above and beyond in preparing children for performances both within school and to the wider community.”
Many teachers were nominated across all our schools but Liz Philips and runner up Kirsten Harjette (Holy Trinity CE School) were way out in front with number of of nominations. Comments received about Kirsten included “A generous, hugely gifted teacher who genuinely cares about her pupils, her colleagues and the school“
SPECIAL RECOGNITION AWARDS
Presented by Pat Reading & Tim Ashburner, Marlow FM.
Alongside the other awards, the Committee selects one or more individuals or groups for special recognition – typically for outstanding contributions to the community which fall outside the various award categories.
2019 saw two very deserving recipients:
“Liz will help anyone, and works tirelessly for the Marlow community – contributing through church events, church run groups (e. g. Messy Church, Teeny Saints, Marlow Lighthouse), toddler groups including Tiddlywinks, Bounce and Rhyme at the library. A truly selfless person, she does so much for others including organising help with domestic duties for the sick, local groups and many charities.”
Awarded presented by Pat Reading to Liz, who was unable to attend.
Another outstanding individual who is behind the scenes at so many events – Lighthouse, Holy Trinity fetes and fund raisers (he is a dedicated school governor), Praise in the Park, Church lunches, Marlow FM events – including The Hidden Gems awards night itself!
Simon is a real unsung hero who deserves huge thanks for all he does, he shuns the limelight but deserves public recognition.