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Diss honoured citizen and junior good deliver moving speeches at annual town meeting

Honoured Citizen Jim Bidwell and Junior Citizen Zinhle Moyo. Picture: Mecha Morton
Honoured Citizen Jim Bidwell and Junior Citizen Zinhle Moyo. Picture: Mecha Morton

Diss town's honoured citizen and junior good citizen delivered moving speeches at last week's annual town meeting.

Jim Bidwell, 79, and Zinhle Moyo, 17, were presented with the awards at the annual meeting last Thursday.

Hosted by Diss Town Council at Diss Youth and Community centre, Mr Bidwell and Zinhle won rapturous applause for their moving speeches.

Mr Bidwell, who lives in Roydon, was nominated for his work with Diss and District Royal British Legion.

Though never having served in the military, Mr Bidwell joined the legion on moving to Roydon 11 years ago.

His many achievements include organising the festival of remembrance and celebrations to mark Armed Forces Day, as well as the placement of a remembrance bench in the park, social events and visits during last year’s First World War centenary commemorations.

Along with his team of collectors, he raised more than £25,000 for the Poppy Appeal – in just two weeks.

At the town meeting, Mr Bidwell, who has six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, made no bones about who was to thank for the award.

He said: "My chairman said to me a few months ago, behind every successful man, there's a woman.

"There is a woman behind me and that woman has been my soulmate for 50 years nearly.

"She has driven me around in my ill health and we have still got the poppies out and the wreaths out and everything. A big thank you to Janet."

Mr Bidwell thanked the town for its generosity.

"Up to the end of December, we'd raised £25,000, I think. By the end of September that should be about, another £4,000.

"Let's go out and do it. Let's go and crack it, because Diss people are the kindest and most generous people I have ever come across. Thank you very much indeed."

Zinhle moyo, who lives in Diss, was honoured for her work mentoring younger pupils at Diss High School, fundraising as a member of the sixth form committee, volunteering at the Oxfam shop in Diss, acting as a Peace Ambassador for Rotary International, being a young commissioner with the South Norfolk Youth Advisory Board and as a member of Diss Youth Town Council, which officially launched last year.

Recent fundraising work at Diss High School helped raise £4,500 for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices and East Anglian Air Ambulance with a week of charity events.

Zinhle Moyo, said: "I'd like to thank my parents for their love and support because we all know that everything a child does starts at home. A good home sets you up for life.

"I'd also like to thank my teachers at Diss High school for their support.

"I am new to Diss from London. I used to cry every day and hated living in Diss at first, because it was so different.

"I had to learn to adapt and soon discovered that Diss is a truly truly beautiful place, and is truly a blessing in my life to have stayed here.

"I just hope that the town continues to prosper and to grow and that we can all work together and put aside any divisions for the better, and always smiling, to make this happen.

"I am very honoured, very privileged and very humbled to receive this award. Thank you so much."

During the town meeting, outgoing Mayor, Trevor Wenman, handed cheques for £548.46 to his two chosen charities for the year, Mind and Tearfund, an development agency which supports those in poverty and providing disaster relief for disadvantaged communities.

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