Every year, a panel of judges including Tim Farron and representatives from the Scottish and Welsh parties make 4 awards which are traditionally presented by the Party President just before the Leaders’ Speech at Conference.
This year’s winners are as follows. The words are Tim Farron’s.
The Dadabhai Naoroji Award to a local party for support and promotion of BAME party members
This year, our winning local party has one of our most high profile BAME candidates in a seat I know they’re planning on winning – they’ve been reaching out to their large Indian and Jewish communities locally – they’ve had for a while now a really diverse team of councillors and a mass of different cultural and community-focused campaigning events. I’m pleased to welcome Ed, Maajid, Nancy, and Keith – collecting on behalf of our 2013 winners – Camden!
The Belinda Eyre-Brook Award for outstanding constituency workers or political assistants to Council groups
Our winner this year has been a Liberal Democrat for donkey’s years. She took on the role of voluntary PA when her MP was first selected, and has been his PA and caseworker for the past 22 years. He told us that to his embarrassment, some of his constituents still ask for her rather than him when they want a problem solved. (It’s never a bad thing to miss out the middle man.) I know so many of you here will know her name – she’s known by parties all over for her friendliness, efficiency, and patience. Unfortunately she can’t be here today, so her MP, Don Foster is collecting on her behalf. This year’s winner of the Belinda Eyre-Brook Award is Diane Bodle.
The Harriet Smith Award for lifetime achievement for members who have never been elected to public office.
This year our nominations were pretty awful. I don’t mean that the people were awful – I mean that we had 7 nominations, with almost nothing to pick between them. So before I announce our winners, I want to thank Barbara Pearce, Ian Magrath, Judith Cole, Pauline Pearce, and Rosie Wallace for everything they’ve done for the Party. Without people like you, I know we wouldn’t be where we are today.
Those of you who are still paying attention will have noticed that this means we have two winners this year.
Our first is one of those members who’s been supporting her local party longer than anyone else has been around. She’s great at finding new members and turning them into councillors, organisers, and PPCs – which means we have much more to thank her for than 60 years of local support and always having a house stocked with tea, biscuits, and Focuses.
Our second winner has had more praise sent in on her behalf than anyone else I’ve ever seen. I’d say that’s probably down to the Chief Whip, but I don’t want to get on his bad side. As an agent, she’s won 10 elections over a 26 year period. She’s kept Orkney & Shetland yellow through and through, which is no mean feat when your patch has 34 separate, inhabited islands.
I’m pleased to announce our winners as Dorothy Weedon and Ruth Williams.
The President’s Award for lifetime achievement for members who have held public office
This year, we had a great set of nominations, but one that really stood out for us all. He’s had over 40 years as an active member, but it was the first line of the nomination that really did it for us:
Trevor Brown is the only person I have ever known who sacrificed his whole career for his political principles and for our party.
His life has been a shining example of Liberal Democracy in action. It turns out that Trevor reported on unacceptable safety standards at Aldermaston Atomic Weapons Research Facility – and for that was forced out of his job. Alan Beith even gave a speech to the House on him in the early 1980s. But all of this made him sure he was a liberal. He served four terms as a councillor – returning common land to public ownership and working as a local party officer in Newbury.