Girlguiding Nottinghamshire’s Jill Barnes shook her head in disbelief when she was announced as the Pride of Broxtowe Borough on Thursday 22 June. Having thought she was simply at the awards evening as a guest, Jill was completely taken by surprise when the Mayor of Broxtowe, Councillor Halimah Khaled, revealed that she had been selected to receive the most prestigious award of the night.
The presentation of the Pride of Broxtowe Borough award was the finale of an evening hosted by Broxtowe Borough Council and the Nottingham Post at Beeston Fields’ Walled Garden. Compère for the occasion was BBC Radio Nottingham’s Mark Dennison, who described Jill Barnes as ‘a genuine inspiration to us all.’
Announcing Jill’s honour, Councillor Khaled said: ‘Celebrating an incredible 60 years in Girlguiding this year, our winner has shown unwavering dedication, commitment and passion, supporting literally hundreds of young people to achieve their dreams. In recent years, her experience, knowledge and counsel have continued to be of great support to the local division and district teams.’
In addition to Councillor Khaled, the judging panel included former Mayor of Broxtowe Councillor Graham Harvey and town centre manager Matt Batterham. The Nottingham Post reported on the tough time which the panel had experienced in sorting through all the fantastic nominations, but that they had picked the one entry that stood out from them all.
Jill Barnes has held various roles in her 60 years with Girlguiding, including that of District Commissioner for Beeston: all her service years have been with 6th Beeston Guides, where she is still a much-valued unit helper. ‘I’m here representing Girlguiding and this has been a lovely evening,’ she said afterwards, admitting that it was heart-warming to see so many of the girls who have come through her Guide units in the room. ‘It was a complete surprise – someone kept this a very good secret!’
Members of Girlguiding Nottinghamshire everywhere joined with County Commissioner Jackie Brocklehurst in congratulating Jill on her achievement. ‘We’re delighted that Jill’s exceptional contribution to Girlguiding in Nottinghamshire has been recognised,’ said Jackie. ‘And we’re all amazed that her brilliant colleagues in Beeston division managed to keep the news a secret for so long!’
Girlguiding Nottinghamshire relies on the support of adult volunteers like Jill Barnes to keep such a diversity of extra-curricular opportunities open to girls and young women across the county. In addition to an ongoing need for unit leaders and helpers, there are also plenty of interesting non-uniformed roles for volunteers offering ad hoc help. Enquiries are welcome: explore www.girlguidingnottinghamshire.org.uk to find out more.