Keith Scott of Woking, Surrey has been awarded the Wilson/Hinkes Peace Award 2016 for his initiation of and commitment to the Woking Debates, a series of discussions on topics that are important to the local community and the wider world, such as “Is war justified?”; “Should the UK replace Trident?” and “Restorative Justice – does it work?”.

These  gatherings take place in Woking up to 6 times a year and are attended by between 30 and 80 men and women, including regular attendees as well as one-off visitors, of varied cultures, and from all faiths or none.  One or two knowledgeable speakers are invited to introduce the topic, which is then opened to the floor for comments, questions and debate.  The aim of the debates is to provide a space for open and free discussion among people where different views and perspectives on vital issues can be heard and considered.

Keith has been an active and committed Quaker for forty years and in that time has undertaken a wide range of roles within the Quakers. It was during the time he was attending a course at Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre in Birmingham on Equipping for Ministry that the Woking Debates began. The course explored the question ‘what is our ministry’, and it helped to inform Keith’s thinking about how he would develop the Debates.

Keith said,  “I started the debates to provide a space where people could consider the issues involved in creating peace .  I hope that we will be inspired to action and be more understanding of different views.

Keith will receive his Award at an Interfaith Gathering of prayer and peace which  will be held Sunday 23rd October 2.30 pm Westminster Quaker Meeting House 52 St Martin’s Lane London WC2N 4EA.

The Wilson/Hinkes Peace Award is open to all, irrespective of nationality, ethnicity or faith.  It is awarded annually and recognises significant contributions by individuals, organisations or projects in furthering peace, justice and reconciliation.  With its distinctive focus on grass-root initiatives which have proved themselves over time, the Award enables otherwise untold stories to be told and honoured so that people can be inspired by the work of others in building peaceful communities.  This year it is sponsored by the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship.

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