Cranleigh Society is delighted to read that Liz Townsend has been awarded a medal today – a British Empire Medal!

Congratulations!!!  The role of volunteering in Britain today is ever more needed and it’s great to see it applauded. Whether people join a voluntary organisation like Lions Club International or Rotary Club, or become councillors and so on, all volunteering is fantastic – thank you to all volunteers in our community and especially today – Mrs Elizabeth Townsend BEM.

When Liz and Phil were bringing up their sons Liz worked extremely hard to help Cranleigh Rugby Club, which all the other parents and their children were rightly amazed by. Phil always supports Liz.

When Cranleigh’s Green fields looked as if they would be built over Liz and others including Steve Jeacock discovered the Civic Society movement – ‘A civic society may campaign for high standards of planning of new buildings or traffic schemes, conservation of historic buildings, and may present awards for good standards. They may organise litter collections or “best kept village” cleanups.[1]   and so they encouraged the Neighbourhood Plan Housing committee to morph into Cranleigh Civic Society, Liz becoming its Chair.  The work involved in challenging Berkeley homes was enormous but planning rules at Government level held the day as you all know.  Unabashed Liz decided to run for the local Parish Council and won, became chair, and has worked really hard to help Cranleigh be as well served and as lovely a place to live as possible.

When Covid hit the idea of Street Champions appeared and many in Cranleigh were keen to get something going, including Cranleigh Society members and SMART Cranleigh too.  Liz and others made sure Cranleigh Parish Council was quickly set up to offer help to those who are most vulnerable – around 159 Street Champions were enrolled by the council, vetted, and helped to help their neighbours – this service is still in place.

Liz became a Waverley Borough Councillor and more recently is also our Surrey County Councillor.  To do these 3 jobs she reads into the night, and is up bright and early to get on with many meetings and commitments, and to talk to residents about their ideas and needs.  Where action is needed she digs to get things done if possible.  This is the role councillors take on, as volunteers, for no other reason than because they care and want to help others and their community.  When we elect our volunteers we can’t always agree with them, but Liz is certainly one to look up to.

thanks Liz, we are proud of you (and Phil)