Party awards for Lizzie Jewkes, Roderick Lynch, Alice Bridges-Westcott and Bernard Greaves

One of the best bits of Federal Conference is that bit just before the Leader’s Speech (before the bit where they pass round buckets and demand all your money like you have any left at the end of Conference) where the Party President announces the winners of the Party Awards.

It was great to see some fantastic people honoured this year:

First up was the Patsy Calton Award, awarded by Liberal Democrat Women in honour of Patsy Calton, our much loved MP for Cheadle who died in 2005.

Sal said:

The winner has been a party activist, parliamentary candidate, and member of a number of party bodies, including Lib Dem Women.
She has achieved what few do. She challenged UK government policy in relation to tax, through her speeches and work in the Liberal Democrats.

At one conference she spoke about the potential to lift ordinary men and women out of poverty, by changing the income tax threshold, persuading Conference to make it party policy, and it was also in the 2010 Manifesto.

David Cameron famously mocked the idea until, in coalition, the idea was taken up through meetings with Conservative Ministers, who eventually agreed to make the change.

For ordinary people, particularly low-paid women, this has been an amazing and effective way to help families and part-time workers.

For her outstanding contribution, the nomination for the Patsy Calton Award is made to the amazing Lizzie Jewkes.

The Harriet Smith Award is open to any member who has never achieved elected office, but has served our cause with excellence and commitment.

I was thrilled to see Roderick Lynch, Chair of the Lib Dem Campaign for Racial Equality win.

This year the winner of the Harriet Smith Award is a nationally recognised businessman/entrepreneur and was nominated by many people this year due to his tireless work fighting against racism. .

He reaches out to diverse communities that are under represented and has successfully launched a black history month campaign that went viral, passed diversity conference motions and transformed our party’s approach to race equality.

Described by those who nominated him as a man of integrity and candour who works very hard. He is a man with infectious passion, a role model for members of colour, and particularly for future MP’s. One person described how he is ‘helping others flourish and find their path in the party as a black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic person’.

Our winner is the Chair of the Lib Dem Campaign for Race Equality. So Conference please, welcome to the stage Roderick Lynch.

The President’s Award went to someone who has arguably done more than anyone else to establish us as the party of LGBT rights.

Here is how Sal introduced him:

The winner of this year’s President’s Award spearheaded the fight for equality for over 50 years and was one of the first people to advocate for legalising same sex marriage and in 1979 led the commitment in the liberal manifesto for gay rights. He set up and ran one of the first helplines to support Gay men, which still runs as an LGBT support centre in Leicester today.

More than that, he was the first openly gay man to hold national office in a UK political party. A policy advisor to Robert Mclelland MP and vice chairman of the Young Liberals League, his influence and example were the most important reasons why the Young Liberals and the Liberal Party accepted the reality of openly gay lifestyles in normal social and political setting. This was truly groundbreaking.

Many liberals look to this year’s winner as a fount of knowledge in the fight for LGBT rights and he serves as honorary patron of LGBTQ Plus. The party is grateful for the important work this special man has done over the last 50 years in fighting for LGBTI rights and helping others do the same.

Here to receive his award, please welcome to the stage the wonderful Bernard Greaves.

Finally, the Belinda Eyre-Brook Award honours those who have worked for elected representatives. Everyone who went to Richmond will appreciate Sal’s warm introduction of Alice Bridges-Westcott:

This award winner joined the party in 2012 as an intern, was promoted to organiser in North Devon and North London and then as a Campaign Manager for Twickenham, Richmond Park and North Kingston. During this time our winner has achieved incredible results in the 2018 local election victory that saw Richmond go from 14 to 39 councillors and an agent to all Lib Dem candidates in 2018 local elections.

Just in case you thought that wasn’t enough, in the elections a year ago, our winner was elected into the so called ‘safest tory seat in the borough’.

Not resting on their laurels after 2018, this year our winner  returned to North Devon to help former colleagues with their campaign which resulted in more Lib Dem on North Devon Council and taking the council to ‘no overall control’ as well as increasing the Lib Dem vote percentage in a by-election in East Sheen in Richmond, helping deliver one of the highest Lib Dem votes across the country which helped London secure an outstanding 3 Members of the European Parliament.

As a Councillor she has been instrumental in getting the Council to adopt a new Anti Domestic Violence Policy that was cited as good practise by the our Home Affairs spokesperson in the House of Lords.  Our winner was described by those who nominated her as an ‘inspirational team builder who empowers colleagues’

It is my immense pleasure to welcome to the stage Alice Bridges Westcott

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.

One Comment

  • Congratulations to every one of them. Bernard’s award in particular is welcome and overdue; he has done more for the party and liberalism than a lot of our MPs.

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