Telford councillors’ award nominations

Shaun Davies, Telford and Wrekin Council leader Pic: Telford and Wrekin Council
Shaun Davies, Telford and Wrekin Council leader Pic: Telford and Wrekin Council

Three Telford and Wrekin councillors have been nominated for national awards in a field the organisers say “showcase the best of local government”.

Shaun Davies, who leads the borough’s Labour administration, is one of six nominees for the Local Government Information Unit and CCLA “Leader of the Year” title at the annual “Cllr Awards”.

Party colleagues Hilda Rhodes and Kelly Middleton are shortlisted for the “Lifetime Achievement” and “Community Champion” titles respectively.

LGIU Chief Executive Jonathan Carr-West said the judges were “overwhelmed by powerful stories and experiences” in the 400 nominations from across England and Wales, and the events of 2020 “reminded each and every one of us the effort and lengths to which councillors go to support their citizens”.

Councillor Rhodes was first elected to represent Oakengates and Ketley Bank in 1987, has sat in the borough’s cabinet and currently chairs its Licensing Committee and serves as deputy mayor on Oakengates Town Council.

She is one of six councillors shortlisted for the Lifetime Achievement award. Her nomination citation says she “has served her local community for 34 years as a passionate and dedicated councillor”, “has provided a consistently strong local voice on a range of local issues impacting old and young alike and has secured hundreds of thousands of pounds to protect and improve her community”.

Councillor Rhodes said: “I couldn’t believe it when news of my shortlisting came through.

“I’m not one for shouting about what I do, I do it because I love to help people.

“Over the years, I’ve taken many public roles and don’t intent to slow down now. I listened with interest when the Queen said that she doesn’t think about age and that you’re as young as you feel. I’m with her on that and I’ll keep on working hard for people in my community.”

A solicitor by profession, Councillor Davies was first elected as a councillor in 2011, representing the Malinslee and Dawley Bank ward. He was chosen as leader in 2016 after the resignation of predecessor Kuldip Sahota. At 35, he is one of the country’s youngest council leaders. The qualified solicitor was also appointed chairman of the Local Government Association Resources Board in the summer.

He said: “I feel honoured to have been nominated and shortlisted for Leader of the Year in this year’s awards.

“Being born and raised in Telford, having the opportunity to create a better borough for everyone who works and lives here is my dream job. As leader, I’m surrounded by an amazing team of elected members and officers and to receive more national recognition for what we’re achieving is the icing on the cake.

“Whether I win, or not, I will keep on pushing for our borough to be the best that it can be.”

Councillor Middleton was elected to represent Woodside in 2019, and chairs the borough’s Health and Wellbeing Board. She is also a Positive Engagement Project Manager for Maninplace, a local charity that works with homeless people, has 11 years’ experience as a mental health and substance misuse worker and is a former chief executive of Telford Mind.

“Lots of people have done amazing things to help others during the pandemic and to have played my part by championing mental health and with practical support for families like the School Uniform Project is so important to me,” she said.

“Being able to make a difference in people’s lives is the biggest prize of all.”

Mr Carr-West said: “This year’s Cllr Awards shortlist showcases the best of local government.

“The last year has reminded each and every one of us of the effort and lengths to which councillors go to support their citizen.

“As such, we were overwhelmed by powerful stories and experiences coming through the over 400 nominations received for councillors across England and Wales.”

This year’s ceremony – the 12th in the awards’ history – is due to be held on December 1. No Telford and Wrekin councillor has ever won in any category.

No Shropshire councillors have been shortlisted this year.

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