Awards were presented to two of The Co-op Credit Union’s guiding lights at our AGM yesterday (25th January 2022) on the occasion of their retirement from the board.
Chris Smith and David Dickman, who have between them dedicated over 40 years of service to the credit union, were recognised for their outstanding contribution with The Co-op Credit Union’s Graham Southall Award, and were awarded Lifetime Presidency.
The Graham Southall Award is an annual award recognising co-operative achievement and efforts by the credit union’s volunteers or supporters. Graham was the founding secretary of The Co-op Credit Union back in 1998 and became the first recipient of the award. Graham very sadly passed away in October 2019, but the credit union remains hugely indebted to his lasting contribution.
The Graham Southall Award shield was presented to Chris and David by Swoboda Research Centre Director and former Co-op Credit Union director, Nick Money, who said:
“These two remarkable people have been literally vital to our credit union’s growth and development and in Chris’s case to its actual initiation. Chris’s vision set the credit union off in the mid ‘90s, rallying round colleagues and using his influencing skills to gain support for the launching of an employee credit union. We wouldn’t have the credit union without Chris and his colleague’s determination. Chris was subsequently the credit union’s Chair on and off for many years. And then David joined our board, bringing his experience as a banker, professionalising the way we worked and lending wisdom and ideas to the directors and staff. It was an absolute privilege to work with them both and I’m sure they’re an inspiration to lots of other volunteers like myself. And their impact isn’t confined to The Co-op Credit Union. They both make such a contribution in the wider movement. We should all as members be deeply grateful to these two people who without whom this credit union would not be here, or be the successful and expanding organisation that is today”
David Dickman said:
“I’m taken aback with receiving this award. It’s been a privilege and most enjoyable to work with the dedicated team at the credit union and the various directors and volunteers over the years. It’s their commitment and enthusiasm that’s really taken us forward. Chris and I are leaving The Co-op Credit Union in very capable hands, with a very dedicated team of employees and an excellent board. I wish you well for the future, and thank you for all the enjoyment that I’ve got out of working for the credit union and helping a lot of members through difficult times over the years”
Chris Smith said:
“I feel very humbled to receive this award and echo every word David said. The credit union will be 25 years old this year and looking back at a booklet we put together 5 years ago in its 20th year, there’s a list of names thanking all the people that made the credit union successful over the years. There are 200 names in there. And when I look at that list, I know every one of them and realise it’s not credit unions that I love, it’s credit union people. That’s what’s kept me involved – some of my best friends are from the movement and lifelong friends. And I’m so proud of where the credit union is today. A wonderful set of people. Thanks for honouring us two today but it’s those 200 people in that booklet that really did it. We just happened to be there”
The occasion was celebrated after the AGM with a get together of many of Chris and David’s credit union friends and colleagues from over the years.