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Diss Citizen Awards 2022 Winners announced!

28 April 2022


We are delighted to announce the winners of this year’s Citizen Awards! 

After receiving nominations for their remarkable achievements within the community, George Waterman and Lou Hines have been awarded Honoured Citizens of Diss. The Junior Good Citizen award goes to worthy winner, Plamena Marinova.

George Waterman receives the Honoured Citizen Award for his fantastic voluntary work in the community and enthusiasm to make Diss a litter-free town for residents and visitors to enjoy.

George grew up in nearby Pulham, where he used to take part in the litter-picking organised by the Pennoyer Centre. After moving to Diss last year, he noticed key areas in the town where litter was becoming a particular issue. George came up with the idea to form the Diss Litter Picking Group which now has over 20 members, who regularly come together monthly to collect litter. The group has been an enormous success with a noticeable difference around the town. George also volunteers with Quaker Wood and recently became a key member of the Diss Community Fridge initiative.

Karen Sheen and Mark Wooddissee, who both nominated George, said: “George gives his time to make a difference to the lives of others in the community. He has inspired people to take pride in where they live with his vibrant regular Litter Picking Group that he formed on a zero budget. The group is a fantastic wellbeing opportunity for people to chat and make new friends. He is very deserving of this award.”

Lou Hines received the Honoured Citizen Award for her outstanding fundraising efforts to ensure that young people in the Diss area have access to mental health support. Lou has raised thousands of pounds for charity with various initiatives and is the founder and driving force behind Bressingham Band Night and Beers, Bikes and Bands. With her fundraising, Lou helped to create a support group for young people battling with mental health which has now been running for 5 years and helped over 150 young people in South Norfolk and North Suffolk.

Anne Beckett-Allen, who won the Honoured Citizen Award last year, nominated Lou this year and is thrilled she is receiving the recognition she deserves. Anne said “I know a number of families that believe they would have lost their child to suicide if the support group was not available to them. Lou has turned her own terrible experience into an incredible driving force to save other lives.”

Ryan Doubleday, who also proposed Lou for the award, said “It is an absolute honour to know Lou. With Lou’s incredible fundraising efforts, we have been able to set up the support group and offer amazing experiences to youngsters struggling with mental health. A 4-day retreat in Snowdonia, Stand Up Paddleboarding, Go Ape adventures, camping trips, theme park days and music workshops have been just some of the experiences we have done, and we are only able to do these because of the selfless efforts of Lou Hines.”

Plamena Marinova, is the recipient of this year’s Junior Good Citizen Award. As well as being Chair of Diss Youth Council, Plamena has taken on various voluntary roles, volunteering with the South Norfolk Youth Advisory Board to assist with the transformation of the Norfolk Children & Adolescent Mental Health Service, and with Reuse Orbis to tackle the problem of electronic waste. She has also volunteered in a local charity shop and helped to support Diss Youth Projects. Plamena accepted a part-time position with the National Future Voices Group, part of the Youth Futures foundation.

Plamena, nominated by Julia Fairbrother and Phoebe Scoulding. Julia said “There seems to be no end to Plamena’s dedication to ensure a brighter and more positive future for her, her family, her community, and the world. We have no idea how she achieves all of this whilst in full-time education. She is conscientious, friendly, approachable, and dedicated to making a difference in the world.”

The awards were presented to all recipients at the Annual Town Meeting (ATM) on 27th April at the Diss Youth & Community Centre.

There were many worthy nominees in both categories this year. And Diss Town Council would like to thank the winners, as well as everyone who made a nomination and all those who continue to go above and beyond for our community.

Special Recognition Award

In addition to this year’s Citizen Awards, Diss Town Council will be awarding a Special Recognition Award to Canon Revd. Tony Billett, who will be retiring later this year.

Canon Billet is recognised for over 20 years of outstanding public service and dedication to the community of Diss. He has been Rector of Diss since 2001 and Rector of the recently formed Diss Team Ministry since 2013.

Gerry Hosking, who nominated Canon Billett for an award along with Edward Farr, said “He has worked with families within Diss and the wider communities for over two decades on important occasions in their lives. He shows great compassion for others and is extremely professional throughout.”

Roella and Graham Trudgill, who also both nominated Canon Billett, said “He is very compassionate but also has the ability to show his fun side at key annual events ‘The Big Sing,’ and ‘Lunchtime Carols.’ He has always proved to be a good sport on these occasions which inevitably has encouraged more folk through the Church doors.”

Canon Billet has conducted thousands of services during his time in Diss and is a well-recognised face in the town. With his friendly approachable nature, he is a familiar figure for residents and visitors to Diss who have relied on his services at some point in our lives.

We are particularly grateful to Canon Billett for his dedication to supporting our Mayoral Civic Services over the years, holding the annual Remembrance Service which is always a poignant tribute and for supporting The Service of Consecration at Diss Cemetery last summer.

Mayor of Diss, Cllr Eric Taylor, who had his Civic Service at St Mary’s Church last year said “For the last twenty years Tony has served Diss with distinction. He is one of the most organised people I have ever met. Whether it is getting civic dignitaries lined up in the right order or making sure everything has been done correctly on Remembrance Day, you can always rely on him.

He is also a very witty character which helps to make those around him feel at ease.

Tony will be a hard act to follow when he retires later this year. When he does, I wish him a long and happy retirement, he will be missed.”

Diss Town Council would like to take this opportunity to thank Canon Billett for his dedication to the community of Diss and we wish him all the best for his future retirement.

Diss Citizen Awards 2022 Winners announced!
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