• Cllr Paul Hopfensperger

Paul recognises Community Leader Ernie Broom with Outstanding Contribution to the Community Award

Updated: Sep 23, 2018

Ernie Broom (left) is presented with his scroll by Town and Borough Councillor Paul Hopfensperger (right).

In May, I was delighted to recognise a well-known “Pillar of The Community” for his outstanding contribution to The Howard Estate in Bury St Edmunds. Ernie Broom, 82, received my first ever St Edmundsbury Borough Council Outstanding Contribution to the Community award for his work on the estate, an estate which he has called home since 1965, and which I have had the honour of represented as a local councillor since 2005.

I presented Ernie with the award under the scheme set up by St Edmundsbury Borough Council in 2016, which allow councillors to reward up to two people in their wards during their four-year term of office. Known as The St Edmundsbury Councillor Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Community, recipients are given a scroll of honour. I presented the award to Ernie at the Howard Estate Over 60s Club, which he founded.

Ernie said: “I was very surprised and quite unaware of it. I was just at the over 60s club when Paul came in and said a few words and presented the award.

I feel very proud and honoured to receive it. I think it’s an absolutely brilliant scheme where people in our town can be recognised for their work.

I don’t go on Facebook much but someone told me that there were lots of nice messages on there. I’m humbled that people think of me in that manner, I’m very lucky.”

This was the speech I gave at the Over 60s club, and hopefully explains why I felt he fully deserved this award:-

"Good afternoon everyone, my name is Paul Hopfensperger, and I am a Bury St Edmunds Town Councillor and St Edmundsbury Borough Councillor for St Olaves Ward, and thank you for letting me take up a few minutes of your time today.

When I was about 12 years old, I met a gentleman at the “Centa Youth Club” here in Bury St Edmunds, who assisted my then swimming coach, John Stemp, in running the centre. That man was Ernie Broom who I think needs no introduction here today. So if my calculations are correct, I have known Ernie for over 43 years now, and it has been my honour to work for him, here on the estate as firstly a Suffolk County Councillor, but more recently as a Town and Borough Councillor.

His enthusiasm for everything he does is un-wavering. Be it convincing ASDA to come to town, trying to protect the three tier schooling system on the estate, being Chair of this Over 60’s club (which he founded), and right through to providing the new memorial garden currently being installed on the Oakes Road playing field. His achievements are too many to list here, but I think you get my point. He is a pillar of this community, and puts everything he has, into everything he does.

Now, I hope Ernie won’t mind me telling you, that in recent months his enthusiasm has been challenged by both personal health issues, and the lack of being able to get people to help him, in particular with the H.E.A.R.T. Residents Association. So last week, I had a think about what I could do personally as one of your local councilors to say “Thank you – we appreciate all that you do for us, and for your community – The Howard Estate”.

In December 2016 St Edmundsbury Borough Council agreed to set up a scheme which would give ward councillors the opportunity to reward up to two people within their wards during their four-year term of office by giving them a scroll of honour. The award is known as “The St Edmundsbury Councillor Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Community”.

So, Ernie, To say a big thank you from me, and an even bigger one from your community, I would like to present you with my first St Edmundsbury Councillor Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Community.


External links to this story

(1) 03/05/2018 - East Anglian Daily Times by Michael Steward

(2) 03/05/2018 - Bury Mercury by Michael Steward

(3) 08/05/2018 - Bury Free Press by Paul Derrick


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