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Mayor's Pride Awards

Mayor's Pride banner sponsored by KJ Smith with the support of Mix 92.6

The Mayor's Pride Awards were held on Tuesday 5 March 2024 after a year's break. These awards celebrated the people in the community who work tirelessly to help others, to show them that they are valued and appreciated. The full list of winners is available below.

The winners of the 2024 Mayor's Pride Awards Toggle accordion

Community Champion of the Year

A special individual who has given up their spare time and gone out of their way to help others in the community.

Finalist: Tracy Light

Winners: Lynn Dutton and Sharon Linney

Cultural Innovation Award

A person, group or project that has contributed to the arts, culture or sport, inspired creativity, or simply made St Albans District a better place to live.

Finalists: Arts on Prescription, Bill Johnson - Blue Angel Acoustic Cafe (At The Horn).

Winner: Doodlebugs.

Young Person of Distinction

An exceptional child or young person who deserves recognition for their talent, positivity, energy or strength of character.

Finalists: Ashley Owens, Toby Shepheard.

Winner: Ben Jones.

Community Project of the Year

A project undertaken by an organisation, group or individual that has identified and met a local need.

Finalists: CASTAD Advice at Foodbanks, HACRO - The Hertfordshire Association for the Care & Rehabilitation of Offenders.

Winner: St Albans Community Pantry Festive Project.

Community-Oriented Business of the Year

A business in St Albans District that works with the public or local organisations to benefit the community.

Finalists: Souvlaki City, The St Albans Times.

Winner: Mix 92.6.

Environmental Champion of the Year

A group or individual showing innovation or commitment to improving the environment locally.

Finalists: Kate Swindells, Sopwell Eco-Stars, Wheathampstead & District Preservation Society.

Winner: No Floor No More.

Volunteer Award

A volunteer who has gone the extra mile or given many years of service to an  organisation, or an organisation that delivers outstanding service to the community, primarily using volunteers.

Finalists: Andrene McDonald, Noel Godman.

Winners: Vic & Vera Foster.

Inclusive Communities Award

This award will be given to an individual, group or project that unites people of different backgrounds and abilities

Finalists: LeeAnna’s Wish, The Chapel Gym.

Winners: St Albans Community Pantry.

In addition, The Mayor, Cllr Anthony Rowlands, made two special intergenerational awards to Skyswood Primary and Nursery School and the Orchard Nursing Home. All Ages Together has been the theme for the Mayoral year 2023-24 with the Mayor, Mayoress and Deputy Mayor focusing on promoting and supporting intergenerational activities and events that address social exclusion and loneliness.

Joint winners of The Mayor's Special Award were local faith leaders Rabbi Adam Zagoria-Moffet and Akhtar Zaman DL for services to improving understanding among young people.

The Judges Toggle accordion

Cllr Anthony Rowlands, Mayor of the City and District of St Albans

Mayor in robes and chain of office

Cllr Rowlands was confirmed as Mayor on 24 May 2023. He has been District Councillor since 1986 apart from a short three-year break from 2003 to 2006.

He attended school on his native Isle of Wight before winning an Open Scholarship to read Modern History at The Queen’s College, Oxford. He then studied for post-graduate qualifications in education at Churchill College, Cambridge and London University.

He worked first as a history teacher at a number of secondary schools and then as the Director of Centre for Reform, later renamed CentreForum, a liberal think tank based In London.

Anthony settled in St Albans in 1981 along with his late wife, Harriet, and the couple’s two children who were brought up and educated in the City. He now has four grandchildren.

Anthony has served in a wide range of roles on the District Council and between 2019-22 was Lead Councillor for the Public Realm responsible for leisure services, museums, waste and recycling, parks, open spaces, cemeteries and parking. From 2015-20, he was the Council’s first Mental Health Champion.

An active sportsman, he has completed over 20 marathons with a best time of 2 hours 48 minutes although he admits: “That was a long time ago.”

He was a Hampshire Schools cricketer and is an MCC member. He is also a long-time supporter and season ticket holder of both Burnley FC and St Albans City.

His other interests include American history, modern literature and visiting historic churches.

His partner Annie Stevenson is Mayoress and accompanies him on many of his official duties.

She is a policy expert in social care and recently gained a lifetime achievement award from NAPA (The National Activity Providers Association), a charity that supports care homes. She also set up Friends of the Jubilee Centre in St Albans and chaired the organisation for five years.


Stephen Craker

Stephen Craker

Stephen is Chief Executive of Communities 1st, the voluntary sector infrastructure organisation for St Albans and Hertsmere. In his spare time, he is involved with a number of voluntary and community-based enterprises. This includes volunteering as chair of Volunteering Herts CIC, as an Enterprise Advisor for a national non-profit, and as a Trustee for two national organisations – National Association of Voluntary and Community Action (NAVCA) and the Community Transport Association (CTA).


Elly O’Meara


I joined Radio Verulam at the beginning of the pandemic - literally March 2020.  I had just left my corporate job and was contemplating what next.  I was very keen to find something community based.  Without much knowledge of how to volunteer - I did a Google search which suggested Radio Verulam, so I applied for a role!  Initially I joined as Volunteer Manager (having an HR-related background) and after a few months I joined the board, started broadcasting and latterly in 2021 became chair.  

I am originally from North London but have lived in St Albans for the last 22 years.  My involvement with Radio Verulam has been a great way of really finding out what’s going on in the community and connecting with local people.  


Andrene McDonald

Andrene McDonald

"Born in Jamaica, I have lived in St Albans for the past 54 years. I’ve recently retired after working in the NHS for 42 years, both in St Albans and across England. As an avid campaigner against injustice, I have worked voluntary to help make changes within the local community since my early 20s. After working in various NHS roles including monitoring services and developing strategies for community and stakeholder engagement, in 2015 in addition to my NHS work I became a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnicities (BAME) network representative.

As Treasurer and Chair of St Albans African Caribbean Group and Treasurer and committee member of St Albans Community Forum, I worked to help make changes for all ages and cultures in and around St Albans and District. I am at present Chair of Active Lifestyles, a luncheon club that aims to combat isolation and lonelliness by providing activities and Caribbean food for seniors of all cultures. 

I became Chairman of Faith and Cultural Enterprise (FACE) in 2016.  FACE brings together a variety of faiths and cultures from St Albans District to provide a network, promote mutual respect, understanding, trust and friendship.

I also chaired a FACE subgroup which aimed to break down barriers between the community and the police, in particular with young people and now sit on the Hertfordshire Constabulary Race Inclusion Board.

At present i am working with Leeannas Wish organisation and the St Albans Museum + Gallery on a research project  for an upcoming exhibition on the shared history of St Albans African Caribbeans to celebrate the immense contributions and commitment they have made to the British culture and daily life."

Freda Chaloner

Freda Chaloner

I have lived in St Albans for almost 30 years and have two adult sons who live close by. I spent my childhood in Cheshire on my parent’s farm and after obtaining a physics degree from Oxford, I spent most of my working life as a Civil Servant, working in HM Revenue and Customs and the Home Office.  I was awarded a CBE in 2010 and since retiring I have worked as a volunteer and Director of St Albans Credit Union.

I became a Trustee of St Albans Civic Society in 2016 and was elected Chairman in 2020. The Civic Society is a registered charity and is the conservation and amenity movement for St Albans. We welcome everybody who is interested in the future of St Albans and we are often referred to as the “City’s Watchdogs”. 


Laura Gusatu

Laura Gusatu

Laura is an experienced family law solicitor, having worked in this area of law since 2009 and is in charge of the KJ Smith St Albans office. Laura’s practice covers a wide range of family law issues, including divorce and financial matters, cohabitation matters, disputes over child arrangements and nuptial agreements, such as prenuptial and postnuptial contracts, as well as cohabitation agreements. Laura regularly deals with complex matters and has a particular interest in cases with an international element and complex business structures. As a member of Resolution, Laura considers litigation to be a last resort, and most of her cases are settled through negotiation, which her clients highly regard. KJ Smith Solicitors offer a free initial consultation of 45 minutes to new clients.