We are delighted to announce that Shepperton in Middlesex has been selected as Top Town for Courtesy for 2017. Earlier in the year we visited the town in secret to see if its claims of being a contender to win Top Town were justified, and they were.
On Saturday 21 October members of the National Campaign for Courtesy visited Shepperton once again this time to present them with their award at the charity’s annual general meeting.
John Stokes, Chairman of the National Campaign for Courtesy, said: “Each year we seek out a town from across the country that has demonstrated courtesy in action. This year Shepperton really impressed our judges on their visit and now follows in the footsteps of previous titleholders Ilfracombe, Shrewsbury, Epsom and Skipton.
Friendliness and a good environment go hand in hand in making up a successful community and with the pressures of everyday life now it is more important than ever that these communities thrive. lifestyles can create a lot of stress and courtesy helps us all to treat each other with respect. The Top Town award recognises towns where the community has taken the extra step to encourage courtesy in all aspects of life. Congratulations to Shepperton on a thoroughly deserved win.”
Celebrities and executive councillors of the National Campaign for Courtesy travelled from across the UK to present the 2016 Top Town for Courtesy Award to Skipton in North Yorkshire on Sunday 27 November.
Acting Chairman John Stokes, standing in for Chairman Peter Foot, presented the Salop Leisure ‘Top Town for Courtesy Trophy’ to the Mayor of Skipton, Councillor Martin Emmerson at the Rendezvous Hotel, Skipton.
The event, attended by Skipton residents and business owners, included presentations from the campaign as well as appearances by celebrity patron, health and fitness expert, best known as Britain’s ‘Green Goddess’, Diana Moran.
John Stokes, Acting Chairman for the National Campaign for Courtesy, said: “It gives me great pleasure on behalf of the National Campaign for Courtesy to present the Salop Leisure trophy to the people of Skipton as we name it Top Town for Courtesy in Great Britain in recognition of its commitment to promoting courtesy throughout the local community. Congratulations and thank you to everyone in Skipton.”
Rendezvous Hotel owner Malcolm Weaving, who nominated Skipton for the award, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that Skipton has won Top Town 2016. Rendezvous Hotel guests often tell me what a pleasure it is to visit Skipton. They are amazed by the ‘real Yorkshire welcome’ they receive from locals.
“I am always impressed by the general level of courtesy in the town and it was really good to hear that the judges who visited experienced it too. All Skipton businesses can get a ‘Courtesy Top Town’ window sticker, which can be collected at the tourist information centre in the town hall, to show they are part of the town’s success.”
Voted Sunday Times Best Place to Live in Britain 2014, Skipton is a friendly compact market town on the doorstep of the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. Offering a superb range of activities, clubs, societies and entertainment it is also a short train ride away from the nearby city of Leeds.
The Rendezvous Hotel is family-run 96-room hotel, home to owners Malcolm and Karen Weaving, set on the Leeds Liverpool Canal, one mile south of Skipton, the ‘Gateway to the Dales’. It also features the largest square ballroom (according to our dance customers) in a privately-owned hotel in northern England.
Robert Zarywacz, Vice Chairman of the National Campaign for Courtesy, said: “Each year we seek out a town from across the country that has demonstrated courtesy in action. This year Skipton impressed our judges on their visit, following in the footsteps of previous titleholders Ilfracombe, Shrewsbury and Epsom.
“While a good quality physical environment is important, most people want to live in a friendly community. Modern lifestyles can create a lot of stress and courtesy helps us all to treat each other with respect. The Top Town award recognises towns where the community has taken the extra step to encourage courtesy in all aspects of life.
“Residents in any area who believe their town deserves recognition for the courtesy of their community can look out the for the launch of our search for next year’s Top Town for Courtesy early in 2017 at campaignforcourtesy.org.uk”
Epsom has been named Top Town of 2015 by the National Campaign for Courtesy after Epsom & Ewell Borough Council sent in an impressive application demonstrating that Borough residents and businesses work together to make this historic market town clean, safe and welcoming.
Pictured: (from left) Nathalie Hulbert (Epsom Downs Racecourse), Mary Zoeller (National Campaign for Courtesy), Frances Rutter (Chief Executive of Epsom & Ewell Borough Council), Chris Grayling MP for Epsom & Ewell, Peter Foot (National Campaign for Courtesy Chairman), The Mayor of Epsom & Ewell Councillor Christopher Frost, Alanna Coombes (Town Centre Manager), Harry Corben (Epsom Civic Society) and Vanessa Bond (National Campaign for Courtesy). PHOTO CREDIT: John McKenzie
The National Campaign for Courtesy is an organisation which strives to promote courtesy and respect in all aspects of life. It has been running for nearly 30 years. As part of their work they award a town each year as their Top Town. This is the second year the Top Town Award has been running and the inaugural winning town was Shrewsbury in 2014.
Campaign Chairman Peter Foot said: “Our local Campaign for Courtesy councillor Mary Zoeller nominated Epsom for the Top Town award and after receiving an outstanding application from the Borough Council we sent along an undercover inspector to see if the claims were valid. They most certainly were. We were particularly impressed with the active community and voluntary groups who work together with the Borough Council. Our inspector commented very favourably on the lack of litter, friendliness of local people and amount of information available to visitors.”
Mayor of Epsom & Ewell Councillor Chris Frost said, “I have known for years that Epsom & Ewell is a special place, with a strong community spirit and that the people here are decent and courteous. It is encouraging that my conviction has been endorsed by the National Campaign for Courtesy and I am pleased to accept this award on behalf of the residents of the Borough of Epsom & Ewell.”
Epsom’s application was endorsed by testimonials from Chris Grayling MP for Epsom & Ewell, the Mayor of Epsom & Ewell Councillor Christopher Frost, Town Ward Councillor Neil Dallen, Nathalie Hulbert of Epsom Downs Racecourse, Elaine Teague of Epsom Playhouse, Epsom Civic Society Chairman, Active Citizen 2015 Harry Corben and Paul Taylor of What’s On In Epsom.
Epsom & Ewell Borough Council was presented with the Top Town Award trophy at a ceremony in the Council Chamber of Epsom Town Hall in September.
5-point courtesy guide issued for parties and candidates
As campaigning hots up for the UK’s 7 May 2015 general election, the National Campaign for Courtesy has issued a 5-point General Election Courtesy Guide for all political parties and election candidates.
Politicians topped the table in the Campaign’s 2014 ‘Diminished Trust’ poll and the charity has previously sought to improve behaviour at Prime Minister’s Questions. With the prospect of a month of insults during election campaigning, it hopes the Courtesy Guide will encourage candidates to focus more on policies.
“We created and issued the guide in response to fears that this election will be fought with insults and abuse rather than logical argument about policies and demonstration of candidates’ suitability for office,” explained Robert Zarywacz of the National Campaign for Courtesy.
“The Electoral Commission’s Guidance for Candidates and Agents says they must make sure their ‘supporters are courteous when dealing with other candidates and their supporters’ and that they must not ‘knowingly make a false statement about the personal character of another candidate’.
“However, we see from Prime Minister’s Questions, in the press and on social media that policies are often forgotten under a barrage of insults when they are what matter most to the UK’s population. And in our own 2014 ‘Diminished Trust’ poll, politicians topped the table of those in whom respondents had lost trust.”
5-point General Election Courtesy Guide
The 5 points of the National Campaign for Courtesy’s General Election Courtesy Guide are:
Campaign on your policies, why you believe they are necessary and how they will benefit constituents.
Highlight the qualities that you believe will make you a suitable representative of your constituents.
Do not make personal attacks on your opponents or abuse anyone with differing views.
Do criticise opponents’ policies using facts and logic to argue your case.
Campaign vigorously and enthusiastically and with courtesy at all times.
The National Campaign for Courtesy does not believe the five points will stifle debate.
“Election campaigns need to be energetic and exciting to attract more people to participate in the political process,” continues Robert Zarywacz.
“They are an opportunity for candidates to stimulate debate so that we all examine the issues, open up our minds to change and use reliable information to decide which policies and candidates will be most effective.
“If televised debates go ahead, we hope these guidelines will help to make them informative and useful rather than a spectacle that distracts viewers from the important task of electing an effective government.
“By observing our five guidelines and campaigning courteously, candidates can demonstrate their political vision and leadership qualities to the electorate.”
See full details of this initiative and all National Campaign for Courtesy activities at campaignforcourtesy.org.uk
Mobile: 07971 176044
National Campaign for Courtesy
Tel: 020 8330 3707
National Campaign for Courtesy
The National Campaign for Courtesy stands for:
Respect for self and others
Courtesy for all
Rejection of anti-social behaviour
Launched in 1986, the National Campaign for Courtesy is a registered charity number 328296 and a not-for-profit organisation that has a loyal membership base including a network of volunteer regional representatives who work to:
recognise exceptional examples of politeness through presenting certificates and awards on behalf of the Campaign
undertake media interviews commenting on topical courtesy-related happenings
meet to discuss ways to promote the Campaign’s values
If you would like to join us in promoting courtesy in all aspects of life, in every community in the UK, please come along to our Annual General Meeting on Saturday 30 May 2015 at the Lancaster Hall Hotel, 35 Craven Terrace, London W2 3EL (see direction map below). Start time 12.30pm (to be confirmed).
National Campaign for Courtesy Annual General Meetings are friendly, interesting events, especially when our celebrity patrons attend.
We welcome everyone. Please let us know you are coming so we can ensure we can provide sufficient refreshments – email
We’ll also be celebrating our #pleaseMAY initiative to make May 2015 a month of courtesy.
Rachel Stokes writes about technology and its impact on courtesy:
The famous etiquette guide Debrett’s recently came to a fairly damning conclusion: our ‘young people’ are selfish, antisocial and unable to hold a conversation all because of technology. Modern technology one assumes, not the wheel. I should say at this point that I am one of these people. I am of the generation that simply does not remember a time before computers, mobile phones and all the information you’d ever need at the touch of a button, and I say this because it would therefore be all too easy for this to become an age-based defensive. That would be rather boring wouldn’t it?
In fact I agree there have been ramifications that are hard to ignore, a culture of immediacy being one. We can reach people through so many different channels now that we are expected to be permanently on call. If someone doesn’t reply to a text, well then I’ll call them. Failing that I could move on to Facebook and then perhaps Twitter, Skype, WhatsApp or Snapchat, all whilst googling local carrier pigeons. The result is a ‘now’ generation which, unwittingly or not, often comes across as a lapse in manners. Despite this, I would not say young people are socially lacking any more than I’d label any other age group.
I believe a vital element of courtesy is actively accepting rather than passively tolerating change. We live in a changing society just as we always have, and I think it is important that we recognise that the face of social interaction is also shifting. The internet can now host everything from a chat with a friend to business meetings and job interviews but, believe me, failure to hold a conversation here would be as noticeable as if you were face to face in an office. Interaction via mobile or internet also demands the same polite behaviour. A missed ‘please’ or ‘thank you’ is just as rude, while checking your phone mid conversation won’t go unnoticed when you’re in front of a video camera. Many more examples could be mentioned but the point is that the appropriate behaviour is no different, only the medium of communication. As such, an inability to properly converse or an antisocial attitude are real flaws, but can we say this is due to technology and not, unfortunately, the individual?
The fact that we are the first true computer generation has not gone unnoticed in my experience and many of my age are all too aware that we are the litmus test for this unknown quantity. Somebody who’d have been considered a thinking young person in one era is just that in our present one. To my knowledge, no contraption in the world can turn somebody in to a sheep if they don’t want to be, and a thinking person, of any age, has the wit to recognise modern technology’s flaws as well as how it can be used as a force for good. In the time it takes for vile online abuse to be posted, it can also be flagged as such and shows of solace and respect can be sent to victims in the blink of an eye. Look at a prominent incident of cyber bullying and underneath all the hate are thousands of messages offering compassion. Community involvement too is often aided through the internet’s potential to reach such a vast number of people, as well as support for charities. I can say from my own experience volunteering for the local Age Concern while at university that the fundraising efforts from the student community, all from behind a computer, were staggering. Not antisocial. Not selfish.
Technology has its pros and cons, certainly. We are also, it should be highlighted, dealing with the very first generation that was born with technology rather than adapting to it having experienced a life without it. To a certain extent therefore I acknowledge that we are at a rather ‘suck it and see’ point in time. However, surely there’s no benefit or indeed logic in singling out the youth for scrutiny. I for one wasn’t aware that somebody threw their antisocial behaviour away along with their Young Person’s Railcard!
Of the eight pet-hate topics listed in the 2014 National Campaign for Courtesy questionnaire, 77.75% of members placed littering way above all other bad behaviour categories. This compared with cold calling (phone or doorstep visits) which scored (58%), swearing in public (57%) and spitting in public (53%).
“It is litter strewn streets that are so despicable and destroy a town’s image” says Campaign Chairman, Peter G Foot. “Discarded bottles, cans, fast food cartons, cigarette ends and chewing gum are the blight of our town centres. Fortunately, many suburban streets residents are proud to display tidy and often spectacularly attractive front gardens. They take pride in living in a tidy community”.
‘Top Town’ award for Shrewsbury
(from left) The Top Town 2014 trophy presented by Campaign Central West England Regional Executive Liz Hall
to the Mayor of Shrewsbury, Councillor Beverley Baker, accompanied by Campaign Chairman Peter G Foot
On 11 September, the Shrewsbury Town Council was awarded the National Campaign for Courtesy’s Top Town Trophy for 2014. Nominated by a long-standing Campaign member, the trophy was presented by Campaign Chairman Peter G Foot and Central West England Regional Executive Liz Hall to the Mayor of Shrewsbury, Councillor Beverley Baker, at the town’s Severn Theatre. The Top Town Trophy is to be presented annually and has been sponsored by Tony Bywater MBE and his company Salop Leisure Ltd. of Emstrey, Shropshire.
Earlier visits by Peter Foot and Liz Hall to the town during 2014 convinced them that this year’s award to Shrewsbury was well merited. Virtually encircled by the picturesque River Severn, the town’s beautiful parks and floral displays, together with superb architecture, nine churches and a castle all proved very attractive. “It was all breathtaking and amazingly, the streets and parks were litter free” Mr Foot confirmed.
The questionnaire’s top eight categories were chosen from a list of topics raised from over 120 radio and newspaper interviews carried out since 2013 and included inconsiderate driving/parking, binge drinking, public transport behaviour (food consumption, feet on seats, mobile phone noise) and bad shop/store service. Approximately 25-30% of members condemned such behaviour.
Diminished trust poll
In this section of the Campaign questionnaire, members confirmed they had lost trust in the following public service sectors: Politicians (58%), Banks (52%), National Press (47%), Police (43%) and the BBC (30%). In comparison to the BBC, both ITV and Channel 4 only registered 9% dissatisfaction and Channel 5 and Sky registered even lower at 7%.
Stage manager Christian Robinson and his team at the Congress Theatre, Eastbourne were recently awarded a courtesy certificate by the National Campaign for Courtesy.
It was recommended by Edward Thomas, chairman of the Ashridge Circle, who works closely with the stage staff for 12 Mondays each year when Ashridge present their evenings at the theatre. 70 year-old Thomas told Campaign chairman Peter G Foot: “Whenever I arrive at the Congress I am met with nothing but polite and friendly professionalism by Chris and the lads. I feel strongly that they deserve recognition.”
When approached with news of the award, Chris Robinson was taken aback: ‘Well, it’s natural to behave reasonably. That’s how I was brought up.”
He continued: “When I took over this job, one of my aims was that every touring company and artist visiting the Congress would be treated with courtesy, even if some choose not to treat us the same way. If things don’t always go right – perhaps the sound plays up or some other problem occurs – I like to think they all go away from here knowing that they have been treated well and professionally.”
• Do you know an individual or organisation that deserves to be recognised for their courtesy? Nominate them now using our online form.
As thousands prepare for journeys of all descriptions over the bank holiday weekend, David Williams MBE, Vice-Chairman of the National Campaign for Courtesy and CEO of GEM Motoring Assist, wishes all drivers and passengers safe, enjoyable and courteous journeys.
“Taking a bit of extra time to prepare your car and plan your journey will help to ease the stress of travelling this weekend,” said David. “With more traffic likely to hit the roads during the bank holiday break, we strongly urge people to take the necessary precautions, and we hope that the tips below help with the planning.”