FOUR hardworking members of the community have become the first people to receive "good citizen" awards in Durham.

The awards were handed out by the City of Durham Parish Council to recognise the efforts of some of the people who are trying to make the city a better place to live.

The first "good citizen" awards were presented to Jennifer Thompson, Douglas Pocock, Colin Wilkes and Dennis Jones at the council's annual meeting.

Elizabeth Scott, chairwoman of the parish council, said: "These awards were really set up by the parish council to formally recognise outstanding commitment to City of Durham life, and we wanted to award these for exceptional contributions to voluntary activities, for work carried out to support and help others, and in recognition of achievements which have benefited the community.

"I think it’s an enormous credit to our community that we have so many individuals who work tirelessly for the betterment of our parish day in day out and there are so many worthy winners.

"Our community is a better place for having committed individuals like Jennifer, Douglas, Dennis and Colin."

Jennifer Thompson, from Neville's Cross, was given her award for her hard work in helping to set up a community association for the area, which now has more than 150 members.

The Northern Echo:

Jennifer Thompson receiving her award from Cllr Elizabeth Scott

The senior university academic manager has also become chair of a newly-formed Lowes Barn Community Centre project, which has been awarded £450,000 to build a new centre.

The parish council also decided to give an award to Colin Wilkes, who runs the indoor and outdoor market in Durham.

Mr Wilkes was also instrumental in setting up the award-winning Durham Pointers group, who work hard to welcome visitors to the city, and in the setting up of a competition to promote enterprise in community groups.

Dr Pocock, who has been involved in the City of Durham Trust since 1943, was also recognised for his work around the parish, particularly on planning issues.

The Northern Echo:

Dr Douglas Pocock receiving his good citizen award

He examines more than 1,000 planning applications every year, submitted responses when required.

He was also involved in defining the World Heritage Site when it was created in 1986 and successfully campaigned for a green belt, as well as writing and editing many books about Durham.

The final good citizen award was presented to Dennis Jones, who volunteers hundreds of hours each year, along with his wife Jo, to the running of the Durham Heritage Centre and Museum, which is housed in the historic Church of St Mary-le-Bow, in North Bailey.

The Northern Echo:

Architect and dedicated volunteer Dennis Jones

Mr Jones is an architect and expert in the conservation of historic buildings, and has worked on projects throughout Durham, including churches, Durham and Brancepeth Castles as well as on Durham University’s colleges.

Adam Shanley, clerk to the parish council. said: "It was an absolutely brilliant night."