Everyday heroes nominated for Community Pride awards

Lollipop lady Joyce Donkin was recognised for being a public-sector hero with her hard work.

Lollipop lady Joyce Donkin was recognised for being a public-sector hero with her hard work.

First published in News
Last updated

TWO heroes of York's public sector have been recognised for the dedication and personality they bring to their work.

Joyce Donkin and Gavin Watson work in very different areas of City of York Council, but they share a commitment to their jobs and am impressive working spirit, and both have been nominated for The Press's Community Pride awards, in the Public Sector Hero category.

The category is sponsored by City of York Council, and recognises those who work in the public sector and go the extra mile to help others.

Lollipop lady Joyce Donkin has been doing just that for around 40 years, and has been nominated by city councillor Tracy Simpson-Laing.

Joyce, who works at Fishergate Primary, has been in the job since 1974, and in her early days in the job a young Cllr Simpson-Laing was among the children she helped across the road.

Cllr Simpson-Laing said: "She was always fantastic with the children and back in the 1970s had to cope with sugar beets falling off the high uncovered wagons, and "whiteouts" from the glass works, and battle with the traffic. It was not an easy job."

Cllr Simpson-Laing has praised Joyce's long dedication to the job, as well as her friendliness and the care she has taken of her charges as they have grown up and left school.

Joyce's job needs a friendly smile but a will of steel to deal with inconsiderate drivers, as well as the tenacity to cope with anything the weather can throw at her.

Unlike Joyce, Gavin Watson is a relative newcomer to the council staff.

As a temporary employee in the City Centre Street Cleaning team, Gavin works regular weekend shifts and takes on extra shifts to cover holidays.

His job can be "grotty and thankless", according to boss Paul Willey, and sees him looking after the city centre and cleaning up anything from litter bins to dog mess.

Throughout all, Gavin is unfailingly cheerful and never complains.

Paul added: "He does his work with the minimum of fuss, tries to get everything as clean as he possibly can."

And on top of the pride he takes in his job, Gavin regularly goes above and beyond the call of duty to help tourists and visitors to the city.

Paul said: "Tourists ask him directions and if they are still baffled he will take them to where they need to be."

Gavin is popular with his colleagues as well as shopkeepers and others he meets around town for his habit of bursting into song and doing impressions to entertain people.

"He has us all laughing, and always puts a smile on people's faces."

Nominations for the Community Pride awards are open until July 18. For more details or make a nomination, go to thepress.co.uk/pride.

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