Citizen of Southend Awards

Your Community Awards

How many times have you thought

‘That person should be rewarded for that’?

They might have performed a selfless act, achieved recognition in a particular area or just helped out a neighbour. You just sometimes wish that an unsung hero could be recognised for their achievements. Well that’s what the ‘Citizen of the City’ is all about. This award scheme gives you the chance to nominate someone who lives, works and contributes to the community in the Southend Borough who you think should receive the ‘Southend on Sea Citizen of the City’ Award.

Over the last couple of years, we have seen great kindness from friends, neighbours, and even complete strangers, in coping with the Covid pandemic. This is your way of thanking them and recognising their kindness to you.

We consider all nominations, so even if it was a friendly knock on the door to ask if you need any groceries, we’ll consider it.


The nominator must:

  • Be a member of the public with a good knowledge of the individual’s work (such as a beneficiary or long-term supporter)
  • Be able to provide a detailed reasoning as to why they are nominated, along with support of their work to back this up.


The nominator must not:

  • Be the person they are nominating, or be in charge of any organisations/charities involved with the nominee.

Nomination Form


Do you know someone who has excelled in a certain field of excellence. A major qualification that helps the community perhaps?


Over the last fifteen years we have awarded outstanding acts of bravery. If you know someone who has performed an amazing act of courage.


Kindness comes in lots of various guises. From getting the shopping for an elderly neighbour to donating a vital organ

What prizes could they win?


As well as the prestigious title, winner of the ‘Gold’ award will be presented with a personalised trophy and a £500 Cash prize and the winner will also receive £500 for their organisation or their chosen charity.



Winner of the ‘Silver’ award will also receive a trophy and a £250 cash prize plus £250 for their organisation or charity.



The ‘Bronze’ winner will receive a trophy and £100 and £100 for their organisation or charity.



In honour of our good friend and one of the founder members of Citizen of Southend, we award a special award ‘’The Sir Teddy Taylor Award’’.

The Judging Panel

Philip Miller MBE

Philip Miller, a local boy, born and raised in Southend on Sea. Philip began his working life on the side show games at the Kursaal, by his 20’s he had sold off his first rollercoaster and revealed the true entrepreneur within. Philip is now the Chief Executive of the Stockvale Group of companies which consists of Adventure Island, Sealife Adventure Zooquarium, Radio Essex, Three Shells Beach Cafe, Sands by the Sea and more.

All companies are based in Southend providing needed employment for the local people. Philip is often approached by developers with business opportunities from across Europe, but as a dedicated and loyal Southend man, he prefers to invest purely in our town. Philip was awarded his M.B.E. back in 2003 for various charity contributions, supporting John Grooms, Fair Havens Hospices, local schools and sporting clubs. Philip is currently on the board of the Southend Hospital Trust, and provides an annual free day out to Adventure Island for under-privileged children involved with ‘Kids Day Out – London Taxi” and “Kids Day Out – Rotary Club. Councellor Ian Robertson approached Philip back in 2007 with a proposal to begin the awards scheme to reward our town’s unsung heroes. Philip and key members of the community then began a committee to create ‘The Citizen of Southend Awards.’

Mick Thwaites

Mich Thwaites has lived in Southend for over 30 years. Mich has spent most of his life as a Police Officer and the majority of that has been with Essex Police. From 2000 to 2005 Mick was the Divisional Commander of Southend and during that time he was the Chair of the Crime and Disorder Group and Vice Chair of the Local Strategic Partnership. This brought him into contact with many outside partners and voluntary groups as well as the numerous diverse communities within the Southend Borough. His last role was as head of operations of Essex and within that role for the last 3 years he has been heading the Olympic Project for Essex Police until he retired at the beginning of 2009. Mick is a firm believer that Southend has a very caring community and that the Citizen of Southend Award plays an important part in recognising the wonderful work that goes on across the Borough.

James Miller BA(Hons) MBA

James is the Operations Director of the Stockvale Group, and has learnt business from the ground-up after 25 years working for the company. As part of his role, James Chairs the Stockvale Volunteering Committee, whose mission it is to help as many people in the community as possible. The committee has led beach cleans; taken part in ‘Sleep Outs’ to raise money for HARP and the YMCA; and provided volunteers across the town from the Stockvale team.  James also leads the Stockvale Fundraising Partnership, which brings together charities and schools who are then able to raise significant funds for all their different fundraising goals.

James, together with the Stockvale team, helped win the Queen’s Award for ‘Promoting Opportunity through Social Mobility’, which is widely known as a knighthood for businesses.  Stockvale were the first in the industry to win such a coveted award and won because of the transformational leadership programme that has enabled over 1000 young people to have been promoted within the company.


Sarah McDowall

Deacon Sarah McDowall was a Methodist Minister in different parts of Scotland and then Cumbria before being stationed in Southend from September 2020. Her town centre ministry role includes serving as chaplain to the staff at Adventure Island and Sealife Adventure as well as being the minister at the Trinity Family Centre in Westcliff. Sarah is originally from the seaside town of Ayr, on the west coast of Scotland but hasn’t lived there for many years. Sarah is enjoying being in Southend and getting to know so many friendly people! When Sarah has time off she enjoys spending time with her husband Archie and the family and exploring the local area, pottering in the garden and knitting. She looks forward to the day when theatres and concert venues will reopen.

Rev Heather Simmons

Rev Heather Simmons is a Methodist minister in Leigh-on-Sea and a professional musician with The Daisy Bowlers. She has also spent time as a lay chaplain with HARP and Adventure Island before studying for ministry. Heather lives locally in Southend and loves to be involved in community projects that bring people together which share one another’s gifts. She also runs two community choirs which perform in the town raising money for local charities. Heather and her family run a Little Free Library on the front of their house which supports their next door school. Heather’s hobbies are spending time with family, her friends and  walking her dog. She loves live entertainment and art and likes nothing more than to support local talent with friends.


Rev Mike Walker

Rev Mike Walker is currently the vicar of St John’s – Southend’s historic church at the top of Pier Hill. Born in the North but raised in the South, he has no idea how to pronounce bath or grass but enjoys meeting people wherever they come from! He first studied engineering and pursued a career teaching secondary maths for 9 years before retraining for ministry in the Church of England! He loves the local area, making connections and pursuing the biggest questions of life & faith together with people – especially if it’s over coffee/beer!


Melissa Aylott
Melissa is a Manager at Adventure Island, looking after a number of areas, one being the volunteering Team.  This role gave the opportunity to work with a number of organisations across the city and see the amazing work they do, including Southend Hospital, Off The Streets, HARP, CAVS, SAVS, SVP, SHAN and many more. She volunteered for Southend Hospital during the Pandemic, helping to deliver PPE equipment to wards, as well as helping those across the city that were unable to leave their home. She regularly attends and arranges Beach cleans, sleep outs and food donations to help local organisations. Melissa strongly believes in civic pride and helping others.