Solihull’s unsung heroes recognised with the return of the Civic Honours Awards


On Monday 28 November, Solihull’s unsung heroes were recognised at the tenth Solihull Civic Honours Awards, which returned for the first time since before the pandemic.

Between May and July, residents were invited to nominate people who have made a real difference to Solihull and who they believe deserve recognition for their community contributions. The judging panel, consisting of councillors, officers, representation from community groups and the main sponsor, Touchwood, were then left with the tough task of reviewing the nominees and selecting this year’s winners.

In a ceremony at the Council’s Civic Suite, each award was presented by the award sponsor together with the Mayor of Solihull, Councillor Ken Meeson. The evening also featured music from Stagecoach Solihull, a local performing arts group.

The Mayor said:

“After a three-year hiatus, it was wonderful for us to be able to host the Civic Honours Awards once again. The event truly is one of the highlights of the mayoral year.

“It was a pleasure to meet so many inspirational people and to hear their stories of commitment and service. I thank them for their enthusiasm, dedication, and hard work.

“I would also like to thank the many other, outstanding nominees who did not receive an award this year. As is always the way with such a process, unfortunately, not everyone can be a winner. Their devotion does not, however, go unnoticed, and I trust that with the continuation of these awards they will receive the recognition they deserve.

“I am truly honoured to represent a borough full of such inspiring people, devoted to making Solihull such a wonderful place.”

The 2022 Solihull Civic Honours winners in full:

Stephen Carr – Individual Community Involvement, sponsored by Birmingham Airport.

Stephen is a local historian who has promoted Elmdon and Solihull heritage for many years. He organises free History Walks, exhibitions and museum displays across the borough and promotes our local history in regional media and among national level parties. He encourages all age groups to be interested in local history, including children, with his Young Archaeologist Workshops and by preparing materials for local schools. Stephen has also led efforts to restore the Elmdon Hall water pump. This significant, local artefact is currently waiting to go on permanent display in Elmdon Park.

Steve Goodchild – Individual Community Involvement, sponsored by Crowne Plaza Solihull.

At the start of the COVID vaccine rollout, Steve ensured the Balsall Common surgery, which acted as a hub for six surgeries, received the support they needed. Calling upon members of the Knowle and Dorridge 41 Club, Steve arranged around-the-clock car park marshalling for all clinics and was a regular himself on the teams, ensuring all slots were covered. He was then contacted by Blossomfield surgery and provided the same service there. Today, Steve continues to provide this service for booster clinics. In total, he has arranged more than 2,000 hours of cover, for over 175 clinics.

Happy Mamas Solihull – Group Community Involvement, sponsored by John Lewis Solihull.

Launching in lockdown, Happy Mamas Solihull provides peer support for new mums. Founder Jemma Paterson struggled without support when she had her own young children, so set up Happy Mamas to ensure support was in place for mothers and their babies across the borough. At their sessions, new mums can talk openly about how they feel, the ups and downs of early motherhood and are directed to services that can provide professional support.

Ordinary Magic – Group Community Involvement, sponsored by Lucent Financial Planning Ltd.

Ordinary Magic is a non-profit organisation, offering mental health and wellbeing support to children and families across Solihull and surrounding areas. They aim to reach the children who are ‘unreachable’ and to ensure they offer early intervention at school or in a safe place, supporting brilliant young minds and helping them on the road to a resilient future.

Clean and Green – Community Environment, sponsored by Birmingham Business Park.

Based in North Solihull, Clean and Green are a community group put together to encourage volunteers and like-minded community groups to discover, appreciate and get involved in their local environment in a safe and fun way. Their community-led projects include, litter picking, the planting of bulbs, trees and other flora, clearing neglected public and communal areas, river course clearance and improvements, and wildlife appreciation. Their tireless work helps keeps North Solihull litter free, clean and tidy.

Sing! Bentley Heath Community Choir – Creative Arts, sponsored by Resorts World Arena.

'Sing! Bentley Heath' began in 2010 as a handful of local people who thought a community choir would be a great way to bring people together, sharing something positive and fun. They started singing 'in public' across the borough in 2011 in care homes, hospitals, churches and community centres. As well as being a great weekly meet-up for local people, the choir began raising funds for local charities and have so far raised around £30,000! Current members range in age from early twenties to over eighties and they have sung at memorial services, weddings, Christmas carols in local shops – and previously at Solihull Civic Honours Awards too!

The Buck-it Boys, Bazzie Hines & Joshua Hines – Inspirational Young Person, sponsored by Correla.

Bazzie and Joshua Hines collect old pens from local schools, businesses and libraries, recycle them and exchange them into money. The kind-hearted duo then hand the cash to charities, including the NSPCC, Childline and Matt`s Mission, so pens no longer go into landfill and instead help vulnerable children. Baz and Josh are nicknamed ‘The Buck It Boys’ because they are bucking against the throwaway society and the idea that children can’t make a difference. They have extended their pens recycling pick-up service to include Solihull Council offices, libraries, police, fire stations, social clubs, gyms, bingo halls, hotels, pet shops, art galleries and more. Bazzie has recently been invited by MP Jess Phillips to take a bucket down to the House of Commons.

Art at the Heart CIC – Making a Difference for Young People, sponsored by DM & Co.

Mukesh Kumar and Kamaljit Suman have made a huge difference to many youngsters in Solihull by encouraging creativity in the visual arts sector. Through their organisation, Art at the Heart, they provide art courses for young people at the Core in Solihull. They also organise wider events in Solihull, such as a celebration of Holi, where the public created artwork and the library was decorated with their efforts. They are welcoming to all sectors of society and contribute to Solihull’s diversity, multiculturalism and positivity, instilling confidence into young people, in particular.

David Vaux & Paul Jaques – Making a Difference for Young People, sponsored by MACC CARE.

David and Paul are both keen amateur historians who have amassed a substantial collection of memorabilia from the World Wars and exhaustive knowledge of warfare and its impact upon the world. Rather than enjoying their collections in private, they have sought with great industry to create exhibitions that bring history to life. They seek to raise awareness of the futility of war and how it should be avoided at all costs where possible. They give insight into the causes of the war, the emergence of tyrants, and the need to tackle aggressive regimes that threaten democracy. Given current events, now more than ever has this understanding been needed.

Altair Trampoline Club, Emma & Jon Wall – Sport, sponsored by NEC Group.

Altair Trampoline Club, a non-profit club run by coaches Emma and Jon Wall for 23 years, supports deprived communities in Chelmsley Wood, Kingshurst, Shard End and surrounding areas through recreational and competitive trampolining. In recent years, Altair has survived due to the generosity of Emma, Jon and other volunteers who have topped up the club’s takings out of their own income, enabling the club to run with fees which the community cannot afford. The club has been successful in coaching both regional and national champions, not only younger gymnasts but also adults – with the oldest current member still competing nationally at 71 years of age!

Solihull & Small Health Athletic Club – Sport, sponsored by Specsavers Solihull.

Solihull & Small Health Athletic Club caters for all people, of all ages and abilities in amateur athletics. The club is run by volunteers from the headquarters at Norman Green Athletics Track situated by Tudor Grange Leisure Centre. The club has a rich history, participating in a number of competitive leagues as well as area, county and national championships across all athletic disciplines. With a wealth of experience as top athletes themselves, the club’s committed volunteer coaches pass on what they know, ensuring all members are inspired to reach their maximum athletic potential.

Elaine Butler – The Mayor’s Award, sponsored by Touchwood.

Elaine is the regional chair for the Royal British Legion and has spent many years dedicated to the Legion and its veterans. She worked tirelessly to bring about the Armed Forces Community Garden in Hillfield Park, which was constructed in spring 2022. This has become a focal point for reflection and pride in our local Armed Forces personnel, both past and present, and one of the borough’s key features.