Thu 23 November 2017

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Police Thank You Event

On Saturday 8th April 2017, Bedfordshire Police hosted a Thank You Event for volunteers within the community. Hazel Snowball, Chair of Bedford & District Neighbourhood Watch, nominated Colleen Atkins and Graham Boyle to receive special awards for their service to Neighbourhood Watch. 
Hazel said, "I nominated Colleen and Graham for their tireless work for many years to benefit their local and national communities through Neighbourhood Watch. We have gained so much from their dedication and commitment". 
 
Colleen Atkins. 
Neighbourhood Watch started in Bedford 35 years ago thanks to Colleen Atkins, who now also serves as a Bedford Borough Councillor and holds the Community Safety Portfolio. 
Her scheme in Chaucer Road, was one of the first three Neighbourhood Watch schemes in the whole country, along with the village of Mollington in Cheshire and a group in South Wales.
 The idea started in America following the rape and murder of a teenage girl at her home in New York, when neighbours got together to look out for crime and for each other. It was called Neighbourhood Watch. 
 In 1982, Colleen arranged a residents’ meeting and this resulted in the Chaucer Road Neighbourhood Watch scheme being launched. The scheme was an immediate success, crime fell drastically and the Poets area was transformed into a much sought after area of Bedford.
She was invited to travel throughout the UK to promote Neighbourhood Watch and became a regular speaker at national conferences sharing the platform with Home Secretaries.
In 1988, Colleen was elected as a Borough Councillor for Harpur ward but continued with her Neighbourhood Watch activities and the following year was awarded the title of the first national UK Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator of the Year.
She was flown to Florida to meet her US Neighbourhood Watch counterpart and was presented with the honorary citizenship of Orlando by the city’s mayor.
 By 1994 Neighbourhood Watch had grown rapidly and was recognised as the largest voluntary organisation in the country with 10 million members. 
 She later helped to found the National Neighbourhood Watch Association, and was elected as the first national chair that year, a position she held for eight years.
 She has been awarded an MBE for her work.
 Her involvement in Neighbourhood Watch has continued for 36 years and she is still involved at local, regional and national levels.
 She is the national representative and Chair of the Eastern Region Neighbourhood Watch Partnership, and up until 5 years ago, was Chair of Bedford & District Neighbourhood Watch.
 
Mr Graham Boyle 
Graham has been involved with Neighbourhood Watch for many years. During this time he has served in several positions within the Trustees of Bedford & District Neighbourhood Watch.
At present he is Treasurer of Bedford & District Neighbourhood Watch and Bedfordshire Neighbourhood Watch Association.
He sits on the Regional Neighbourhood Watch Partnership Board with Colleen and myself.
He is the designated Force Level Representative between Bedfordshire and National Neighbourhood Watch, and is the lead administrator for the ‘Ourwatch’ website for Bedfordshire. 

The picture shows Colleen and Graham with Hazel and John Fullarton, Chair of Luton Neighbourhood Watch

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