Unsung hero honoured for contribution to community

Bob Phillips being presented with the Certificate of Achievement by chairman of West Sussex County Council Pat Arculus
Bob Phillips being presented with the Certificate of Achievement by chairman of West Sussex County Council Pat Arculus

A gardener who has dedicated his life to supporting the community has picked up a prestigious award.

Bob Phillips has been awarded a Certificate of Achievement by the Lord Lieutenant of West Sussex Susan Piper and the chairman of West Sussex County Council Pat Arculus for his outstanding contribution to the community.

Bob Phillips helping to restore Jacob's Well in Shipley in the 1970s

Bob Phillips helping to restore Jacob's Well in Shipley in the 1970s

The former Shipley Parish Council chairman has lived in the area since 1939 after being evacuated to the village at the age of three.

He remained after the war and trained as a gardener on a local estate, where, except for a small break to complete his national service, he stayed until he retired in 1995.

But it’s his dedication and commitment to a number of organisations in the area that earned him the thoroughly deserved award.

In 1944 he joined the 1st Shipley Scouts as a cub and has given up his free time to the group ever since.

Bob took over as troop leader in 1958 and has spent many years driving the minibus to collect and drop off children for meetings, maintaining the land surrounding the scout hut at the base in Dragons Green and arranging the restoration of several village ponds and wells.

He also helped organise the annual Christmas carol singing group who visit local residents to raise money to support the scouts.

Bob was presented with the certificate by Mrs Arculus during a special ceremony attended by his family and friends.

He said: “It was a complete shock to find out that I had been nominated for the award, let alone to have won.

“I love the local area so I’ve always been, and will continue to be, keen to work with the community, both young and old, to ensure it stays as amazing as it is.

“I would like to say thank you to my wife Josie, who has always helped with everything I’ve been committed too. She is also extremely active in the local community so I share this award with her.”

Bob was also a member of Shipley Parish Council from 1972 to 2015, acting as chairman for four of those years, and has been a governor at Shipley Church of England School and a committee member at Weald School.

He became a church sidesman at the Church of St Mary the Virgin in Shipley in 1984 and was also vice-president and coach at Shipley Football Club in the 1960s and 1970s.

Bob is still an active member of the Shipley History Society and organises talks and walks of local historical sites.

Amanda Jupp, (Con) county councillor for Billingshurst, nominated him to receive the Certificate of Achievement.

She said:“One of Bob’s greatest attributes is his modesty and willingness to help anyone.

“He has always been one of the first to volunteer for any projects in the parish and there is not much he does not know about it or its history. “Bob has always been supported by his wife Josie.

“He is a very kind and generous person and deserves recognition for the contribution he has made to the Shipley and Coolham community over the years.”

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