On Friday evening my partner and I were thrilled to join Ann Manning and a lovely bunch of her chums at Reading Town Hall for the Sue Ryder Women of Inspiration Awards, 2018. It is no secret that I nominated Ann for this award. But you might like to know why?
Up until six months ago I only really knew Ann as the Managing Director of MANNINGUK. Since then, I have added the business to Hello Henley’s portfolio of clients. It has been during this time that I have slowly become aware of some of the amazing things Ann does. Funnily enough, my discovery of all of this wasn’t from Ann herself, but from her Office Manager Jacquie Newport (who is also one of Ann’s best friends). Slowly, over time, I dug a little deeper and was awestruck by Ann’s generosity. The thing is, Ann doesn’t expect any thanks for any of the things that she does both in the Community and in her professional life. Quite often she will do something that no-one will ever know about until perhaps it is mentioned by someone else. I had been told that even at functions it saddens her to see someone on their own, and if she does she will always talk to them and introduce them to others. She is one of life’s “nice people”. Since Friday, I have also become quite aware of how many people care for her immensely.
But don’t just take my word for it. Here is the list of ‘Ann’s Work in the Community’.
Business Life: Ann started A Manning UK Limited in 1984. A Manning UK Limited trading as ManningUK is an Independent Insurance Broker. She decided to start the business so that she could offer a personal service to Corporate Clients both small and medium sized with a turnover of an average of ten million. Initially she only employed one member of staff however, since 1984 she has expanded the business such that she now employs 12. She takes a personal approach to the management of her staff and they all know that if they have a problem they can discuss it with her; whether that is work related or personal. She is a trusted Managing Director with a proven ability to motivate, train and develop staff and colleagues
Service to the Magistracy: Ann has been a Magistrate on the Reading Bench since 1988. As a magistrate she sits on the Bench regularly, and with her two colleagues, decisions having weighed up the evidence and circumstances relating to the offences before her. This she has done selflessly and with all the commitment and drive that one would expect from a person who is serving the Community. Since becoming a Magistrate she has served on a number of committees including the Licensing Committee, Bench Training and Development Committee and the Magistrates’ Courts Committee.
She was a member of the Bench Training and Development Committee from 1994 until the end of 2004. She did this for 10 years. As a member she was involved in the arrangement and monitoring of Supervised Sittings for New Chairman undergoing training. She was and is very supportive of her colleagues especially those that find it hard to qualify as a New Chairman. She spends many an hour explaining and supporting them both in the Courtroom and in the Retiring Room.
In 2001 became a representative on the Thames Valley Magistrates’ Courts Committee. She was a member of that committee until 2005 when Magistrates’ Courts’ Committees ceased to exist. As a member she attended monthly meetings where decisions were made regarding the courts and staff in the Thames Valley. Part of the role of a Committee Member was to make decisions in relation to the four key areas of management namely, staff, resources, information and operations. She was also member of the Magistrates’ Courts Thames Valley Health and Safety Committee where she had to ensure that the Health, Safety and Welfare of staff and magistrates was paramount. She advised on areas such Risk Management and Property Management.
For the last 10 years plus Ann has presided at the Attestation ceremonies for new police recruits at The Police Collage at Sulhamstead and prior to that at Reading and Abingdon colleges. At every attestation she speaks with all the new officers with encouragement and enthusiasm.
Service to the Community: Ann was a member of the Caversham Rotaract and assisted in a lot of fund raising activities, including a parachute jump. She served for five years as a Samaritan (1980-1985) offering support to people who were suffering from desperation and trauma. She was the first person to produce a local newsletter for the Samaritans.Ann has also recently become a member of the Shiplake Parish Council.
Ann supports many local committees and charities both personally and through her business. As Jacquie Newport adds, “She does this quietly and unassumingly in the background.”
- St. Mary’s Chantry House Appeal – she was actively involved in the restoration of the Chantry House along with her late father John Manning.
- Caversham Townswomens’ Guild – she started supporting the Guild as her late mother was a member and President for a number of years. Even though her Mother has now passed still supports the Guild and I believe pays for the rental of their premises and also the Christmas and Summer party.
- Marlow Town Band
- Dee Road Rangers Football Club
- Santa’s Grotto for local children
- Henley in Bloom (the flower patch on the corner by the Red Lion Hotel)
- Two benches in Henley. One is dedicated to her brother and the other has ManningUK on it.
- Woodley Festival of Music and Arts – for the past 12 years. She became involved in the Festival in 2005 as she was a friend of the then Chairman. Whilst helping out in 2005 she heard that there was a good possibility the Festival was going to have to close as they did not have sufficient funds to run the event. Ann gave quite a sizeable amount of money to make sure it ran the next year, 2006 and since then has donated, time, money, stationery and entertains the committee every year at the end of the event which is run over 3 weekends in March and culminates in a Finale Concert on the 4th.
- Ann became one of 100 Faces of Henley having donated to the worthwhile appeal.
- Henley’s Over 60+ Club. Ann recently saw an article in the Henley Standard that the Club was going to close if it did not find funds. Ann telephoned the organisation and not only gave them the amount they needed but doubled it so they had a bit of a cushion.
- It is important to point out that the form of donation is not always monetary but also time and resources. But there are so many people she has helped financially with sponsorships, if anyone is doing something Ann is there whether it be a half marathon or a swim.
On a personal level, I have also learnt that Art and Crafts whether that is viewing or participating is one of Ann’s passions. Her dream is to one day have her own piece of art hung at the Royal Academy. We can all have a dream!
So there we have it. I am so pleased I was able to nominate Ann, so that she can be recognised for the wonderful things she does. I’ve recently heard a few more tales of kindness – if I say ‘Angel at my Table’ does that ring a bell? Yes, that was Ann. But I shall leave that story for another day.
Woman of Achievement in the Community (sponsored by Invesco Perpetual) – Ann Manning
“I don’t know what to say? It was a privilege to be nominated and given the competition I really did not think I would win as I thought there were other more deserving nominees. When Ady started to read about the over 60s Club and Magistracy I thought ‘they are talking about me’. I was shocked on Friday and it still has not sunk in. I feel so honoured to receive this Award and thank you to the judges and everyone at Sue Ryder.”