Cheers and tears as Ripon recognises its community stars
Last updated Oct 27, 2023

The Stray Ferret was the proud media partner for St Wilfrid’s Stars with our coverage kindly sponsored by Grantley Hall and Little Bird Made.

For Peter Wilkinson, it was an evening of cheers and tears when he was announced as an award winner at the St Wilfrid’s Stars ceremony in Ripon Cathedral.

Each day, during term time,  he is on duty morning and afternoon at the busy junction of Kirkby Road/Trinity Lane and Church Lane, to ensure that children and parents of Holy Trinity, St Wilfrid’s Outwood Academy and Ripon Grammar are able to cross the road safely.

Peter Wilkinson (third from left) is pictured with the Mayor of Ripon, councillor Sid Hawke, who presented the community award and David Ingham, of event organisers Ripon Together, who accepted Brian Lumley’s trophy from the, Dean of Ripon the Very Revd John Dobson.

A lollipop man for three years, Mr Wilkinson was cheered and applauded when his name was read out. He told the Stray Ferret:

“I wasn’t expecting to receive an award and it proved an emotional evening for me and my wife Estelle

“We both had tears in our eyes and I would like to thank whoever it was that nominated me.”

Brian Lumley, who mans the crossing patrol on Bondgate Green, which is primarily used by parents and children on their way to and from Cathedral School, also received an award, but could not be present to accept it.

He and Mr Wilkinson were among the city’s unsung heroes who received recognition for the contribution that they make to community life in Ripon.

An estimated 400 people gathered to see the distinctive St Wilfrid’s Stars award trophies, produced by Jennyruth Workshops, presented to the winners of 11 categories.

There was also musical entertainment provided by three soloists from Ripon Grammar School and the energetic All for One Ripon Choir.

The awards, sponsored by Little Bird Made artisan markets and Grantley Hall and named in honour of Ripon’s patron saint  Wilfrid, was attended by the Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire Mrs Jo Ropner, who is pictured presenting the Individual Young Person Award to Harry Wilkinson, one of Ripon YMCA’s Young Leaders.

She said:

“Harry is a young carer, who does not let his own health conditions hold him back from helping others. He is a great role model.”

Earlier this month Ms Ropner was a member of the judging panel chaired by the Dean and including  the Mayor, Ripon BID Chair Richard Compton, Tamsin O’Brien director of the Stray Ferret and Paul Matless of Ripon YMCA, which had the difficult task of selecting winners from the hundreds of nominations received.

Dean John, said:

“Ripon Together launched the awards last year as part of the cathedral’s 1,350th anniversary celebrations and now, in our second year we have established a tradition and a way of using St Wilfrid’s star symbol as a way of thanking the very many stars that we have in our community, for the work they do in making Ripon a better place to live.

“A great deal of that work is carried out by volunteers of all ages and we are grateful for what they do.”

Category winners

Other winners were: Ripon Scenic Cruises, which attracts thousands of visitors a year to the city’s canal.  Founder Richard Willis received the Tourism Award from Tamsin O’Brien. (pictured below).

Ms O’Brien also presented the Culture Award to Nick Thompson, in recognition of his work, over the past seven years, in bringing nationally and internationally-known musicians to perform in Ripon.

The Business Award was made by the Lord Lieutenant to Rebecca Crallan (pictured below) owner and founder of The GreenHouse in North Street, for the innovative approach that she has taken to promoting her eco and environmentally-friendly products to customers.

The Mayor presented the Environment Award to members of the Lower Ure Conservation Trust (pictured below) whose work over many years, has included development of the biodiversity-rich Nosterfield Nature Reserve.

He also presented the Young People’s Group Award to members of Ripon Grammar School Sixth form (pictured below) in recognition of their outstanding community volunteering work carried out as part of the school’s Plus One Programme.

Ripon Swimming Club, which, for more than 80 years, has been involved in teaching people of all ages to swim, was presented with the Sport award by Dean John.

The award for the not-for-profit organisation that has made a difference to local people in the past year, was presented  to Ripon YMCA team by Richard Compton (pictured below, right).

The Individual Supporter of Youth Award was won by Ripon Library outreach librarian Claire Thompson, for the many initiatives that she has undertaken to encourage the community to use the library’s facilities.

Ms Thompson could not be present at last night’s ceremony and the trophy was received on her behalf by colleague Louise Monkman, pictured below with Mr Compton.

The Volunteer of the Year Award was presented jointly by the Lord Lieutenant and the Dean, but its recipient, Simon Hewitt, could not be present and it was received on his behalf by fellow Ripon Together member Mick Stanley.

Mr Hewitt was recognised for his wide-ranging voluntary work that has included the establishment of community events that have become regular fixtures on the city’s calendar, such as the highly-successful Ripon Theatre Festival and Funfest, which provides free summer activities for local children

Main picture: Award winners and judges are pictured at the St Wilfrid’s Stars presentation evening.