First time presentation for award in memory of respected Sheffield community champion

An award presented in memory of Sheffield Speakers’ group stalwart, Hilary Taylor-Firth, has been presented for the first time.

By Nigel Booth
Thursday, 01 August, 2019, 12:31
Jordan Vickery becomes the first recipient of the Hilary Taylor-Firth award for exceptional achievement

The first recipient of the award for outstanding achievement was Jordan Vickery (pictured right).

Sheffield Speakers is a local group that helps people improve their public speaking skills. Established in 2011, the club is part of the worldwide Toastmasters International network and meets on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month, 7-9pm at Jury’s Inn in Sheffield.

In 2015, the club suffered the loss of a member who many saw as the heart and soul of the club – Hilary Taylor-Firth. Hilary was a longstanding and outstanding member of the club as well as a past president.

John Spencer of Sheffield Speakers said: “Hilary was passionate about the craft of public speaking and was considered our club’s fountain of knowledge of the rules of Toastmasters. Hilary was known for her attention to detail, kindness to new members and her love of learning and her loss came as a great shock to our club. The award is a great way for us to commemorate Hilary’s dedication to our club.”

The club committee agreed to have a commemorative award and made contact with Hilary’s son Chris Taylor-Firth, who confirmed that he and his brother Robin supported this.

Matt Pennington, who introduced the award to the club, said: “Hilary’s death in 2015 came as a shock to the club and its members, as well as the wider toastmasters community. I am happy that we were able to commemorate Hilary and her commitment to our club, through an award that will recognise the achievements of our club members for years to come.”

Speaking after the award was announced, Hilary’s son Chris commented: “Thank you very much for arranging this and congratulations to Jordan. Mum would have been thrilled and humbled.”

Hilary grew up in Tameside, Greater Manchester and studied Russian with French at Leeds University, followed by a Masters in French Language and Linguistics at the University of Sheffield. Hilary lived in Nether Edge, where she was an active and respected member of the community, and for many years taught at Earl Marshal and Newlands Schools in Sheffield.