Council presents awards to community minded citizens
ON SATURDAY Hatherleigh's town crier Roz Chard was out ringing her bell to announce the Town Council's Annual Awards Evening.
Later in the evening, balloons floated over the colourful, circular tables set up in the community centre.
The Ukulele Band was warming up on stage with a boisterous rendering of Freight Train. There was an air of expectancy with no one looking as if they would rather be at Okehampton Carnival or watching "Strictly". The mayor, Councillor Graham Alford, welcomed the audience to this, the fourth community awards evening.
This year had seen the largest number of recommendations and showed, he said, what a true community spirit existed in Hatherleigh.
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Frankie Diepenbrock, 14, was the first to receive an award in the under 18 section. Councillor Claire Tyson praised her "gutsy enthusiasm" in encouraging others to join her in clearing the area for the new skate ramp, on raising £150 on the sponsored walk, and her patient teaching of others to use the ramp.
Councillor Ian Trenaman announced Tom Strawbridge was the winner of the under 18, male award. A keen sportsman, he used his skills to help and encourage youngsters in both rugby and cricket.
Councillor Richard Jones declared Hatherleigh Carnival Committee the winners of the outstanding group class. Hatherleigh was fortunate, he said, in the number of groups and organisations that existed in such a comparatively small town. The Carnival Committee, comprising 13 people, was tireless in raising the £8,000 necessary to put on the annual event. Donald Edwards, now well into his eighties, has served on the committee since he was 27 years old and received the award on behalf of the team.
Councillor Gary Bush introduced the individual female award winner, Jo Barrat, as an avid and successful fund raiser for many good causes, including the children's hospice and the community centre.
Neil Price, who featured on this page a couple of weeks ago, was praised for his work in the Save Hatherleigh Market campaign, running the chess clubs at Hatherleigh Primary School and the town, and hosting Hatherleigh's website. He was awarded the adult male trophy.
A hugely popular choice for the male lifetime achievement award, was Charles Innis, who has worked at the cricket club for over 40 years, as treasurer, barman and coach. As a player he has taken 466 wickets in his time and maintains the wickets in such wonderful condition, on and off season. He modestly declared he was just one of a team, but was immensely proud to be associated with the club.
Councillor Dennis Bater introduced the female lifetime achievement award winner, Sandra Collier, to resounding applause. "This is the town's way of saying thank you," he said, "to someone who has given her time freely to so many groups."
These included the drama group, town band, Walruses, British Legion, Gospel Choir and the church. There must be many in Hatherleigh who have been warmed by Sandra's cheerful smile. Everyone must have left the community centre with a feeling of great pride that Hatherleigh is served so well by its many outstanding residents.