KIND neighbours, bell ringers and the emergency services were among those saluted at a special awards ceremony in Malmesbury commemorating the Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
In the wake of the national celebrations last year’s mayor Ray Sanderson was asked to find local people who had gone the extra mile for their community.
And after some tough choices the awards, backed by the Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire Sarah Troughton and MP James Gray, were handed out on Friday.
“It was difficult to choose, “said Cllr Sanderson. “It was recognising people who have done a fantastic job, but Malmesbury is a great place to live and when it is needed everybody pulls together.”
One of the awards went to Malmesbury Vics and youth football stalwart Dave Picter.
”He has served the community for 50 years. I remember as a kid playing football and he was doing the same job then,” he said.
Those who helped during the November 2012 floods, that saw the river inundate 16 homes near St John’s Bridge with several feet of water, featured heavily in the list.
Tom and Carol Hudson opened up the Rose and Crown to provide hot drinks and warmth to their neighbours even as the floodwater approached its front door. Jeanette Snell welcomed flooded out residents into her home.
The Warden and Freemen, their surveyor Dave Richards, South Cotswolds Rotary, Malmesbury Young Farmers, Tetbury Lions and the St Aldhelm’s Masonic Lodge were thanked for their help in supporting the flood hit residents and boosting an appeal to replace their ruined possessions, from pots and pans to cookers and fridges.
Prof Edward Evans, from Great Somerford, a flood risk management expert who has been involved in work to come up with a flood and emergency plan for the town, was also given an award.
Others who have played a part in the life of the town were on the list, including Mike and Christine Weaver who have made the Wortheys available to the town for sport and recreation for many years, luncheon club stalwart Helen Churchill and businessman Andrew Carnegie who ran to help a shop assistant during an armed robbery.
Veteran fundraiser Graham Jobes and his daughter Becki who spent five days Last summer walking 100 miles around the villages in appalling weather to raise more than £4,000 for Cllr Sanderson’s mayoral appeal, were each awarded a certificate.
The marathon was a repeat of a similar walk completed by Mr Jobes 26 years ago during Cllr Sanderson’s last stint as mayor.
Awards were also made to veteran bell ringers Christopher Dixey, Keith Player, Richard Gray, Michael Lewis and Andy Hatherell, who have a total of almost 180 years of ringing between them; Gwen Higgs who has been a hospital car driver for more than 30 years and the town’s ambulance, fire and neighbourhood police services.