I have lived in Faversham for over 40 years despite working away a great deal, at universities in Leeds and Manchester and abroad. I have lived within the same half-square-mile, passionate about the Market Town and Port of Faversham which is my home. I have long felt an obligation to give back and to work with others to conserve the best of Faversham for future generations. An obligation because the Faversham I enjoy is the product of the efforts of those who have worked so hard to conserve and grow the town, so many of our facilities – the pool, the gym and the football club for example – are the product of voluntary effort. The Faversham Society of which I am presently chair has long sought, with considerable success, to Cherish the Past, Adorn the Present, Create for the Future.
On 16th September, in a ceremony subject to the pandemic Rule of Six I was presented with a KALC* Community Award and described as:
“a tireless contributor to the fabric of Faversham. Whether it be safeguarding its history (Faversham Society), supporting the local community (Community Land Trust) or ensuring its essence is preserved (Faversham Future Forum). “
The Award was presented by Faversham’s Mayor Cllr Alison Reynolds BME and the Deputy Mayor, Cllr Trevor Martin. The Deputy Town Clerk, Adrienne Begent, officiated.
I would like to acknowledge the support that my wife Kate Stefanko has given me, raising an eyebrow when I have taken on something else, but not more. Aside from the Food Festival, we decided that we would not be active in the same organisations. I wish to record the importance of her support and my gratitude for it.
The full text of Alison Reynolds’ speech, prepared by Cllr Kris Barker
“It was probably apparent in the 1960’s that Harold would go on to play a role in his community. A Social Sciences degree from the University of York in the early 1970s almost certainly cemented a world view that you had to contribute to society to effect change. The Doctorate in Political Science that followed emphasised he could articulate incisive and clear purpose in a debate. It is little wonder that Harold is able to successfully engage and enthuse such a broad church of people who care passionately about Faversham town.
Although I have only recently become a councillor, I have lived in Faversham on and off for nearly 30 years. I thought that I knew Faversham, at least I knew all of the pubs. I had taken some interest in it’s history. I knew a bit about the various gun powder works; read a little bit about Arden; knew there had once been an Abbey here; understood the importance of the creek to the town through the ages. What I hadn’t seen was how vibrant the community was. Until you become a councillor it’s impossible to understand the amount of effort a huge range of volunteers make in sustaining the town. I’ve honestly been astounded at the time that people contribute to make Faversham the wonderful place it is.
The aim of the Kent Association of Local Councils Award Scheme is to acknowledge and give recognition to those that have made a significant contribution to their local community.
Harold’s contribution to the academic community is well noted. Amongst the skills he’s endorsed for by his fellow professionals these stand out:
The following skills, which also receive huge praise amongst the professional community, are ones that we will all recognise:
Event management and planning
Harold brings all those characteristics to bear with an unshakeable level of enthusiasm in the many areas of the community that he nurtures. The Mission of the Faversham Society, for which he is chair, is to:
promote high standards of planning and architecture in or affecting the area;
educate the public in history, architecture, geography and natural history of the area;
and to secure the preservation, protection and improvement of features of historic or public interest.
Harold is the very embodiment of those aims. Not only does he seek to preserve the thread of history that runs through Faversham, but he also cares about the here and now. His work with the Community Land Trust is further evidence that he sees that the people of Faversham have always been the very soul of Faversham. He cares deeply that the people born in Faversham should not only want to stay here but also be able to stay here. His input into the Faversham Future Forum and Neighbourhood Plan yet more evidence that Harold wants to ensure the evolving nature of Faversham does not lose sight of its past whilst embracing the possibility of its future.
Harold’s fate may have been sealed in York, we are lucky to bear that fruit in the Market Town and Port of Faversham.”