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Vote for Melksham’s Person of the Year

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THE nominees for the Melksham News Person of the Year 2014 competition have been shortlisted, and now readers are being asked to cast their vote on who they think should be crowned the winner. In our last issue, Melksham News asked readers to nominate their ‘Person of the Year’ – somebody in the town who deserves recognition for their outstanding actions over the past year or who has had the biggest impact on life in the town.  Below are the nominations. You can vote by simply emailing your choice to news@melkshamnews.co.uk (including your own name and address) or by filling out the form on page 11 and returning it to Melksham News, 31 Market Place, Melksham. SN12 6ES. The deadline for voting is 5.00pm on WEDNESDAY 21st JANUARY. 

BRENDA ABBOTT AND ANN PEARCE

Brenda and Ann lead the Melksham Friends of Dorothy House Group which has raised over £300,000 for the hospice since the mid 1980s.

Both Brenda and Ann help organise fundraising events and work tirelessly for a worthy cause. In late 2014 they presented a cheque for £9,500 to Dorothy House after several fundraising events including lunches at Cumberwell Park Golf Club and a mixed golf classic competition at Kingsdown Golf Club as well as the Carol Supper at the Spencer Sports & Social Club in Beanacre Road which is the festive culmination of their year’s activities.

The 2014 effort pushed the total fundraising past the £300,000 mark.

Brenda said, “We are shocked to be nominated  for such an award. We don’t fundraise for the plaudits, we do it just because it is what we do.”

 

NORMAN DRAKE

Norman is the longest serving member of Melksham Rotary Club and has been president twice after joining 43 years ago. He is also the chair of the ArtHouse Cafe in Melksham Market Place which has raised over £40,000 for local charities since its launch. This includes many local charities and groups such as the Melksham Christmas Lights, Wiltshire Air Ambulance, Melksham PHAB and many more.

Norman was recognised for his contribution to voluntary services in the community and was invited by the Prime Minister to 10 Downing Street. He has also been awarded a Rotary Paul Harris Fellowship, in recognition of his exceptional service.

Norman organised the building of the Riverside Club in 1972 and is still involved as the secretary and a trustee, a position he has held for over ten years.

Norman said, “I am flattered to be nominated for the second year running, it is very humbling. The good work at the Rotary Club and the ArtHouse Cafe  is a team effort and many people play a role. It is a surprise to be nominated but I am obviously very pleased.”

 

KEN GRAHAM 

Ken took over as the Melksham’s Poppy Appeal organiser last year from long-standing organiser Bill Brown, and in Ken’s first year he helped lead a record breaking year for the appeal. Over £20,000 was raised from the 2014 appeal in what was also the centenary of World War One.

Ken is also a welfare officer for the Royal Air Force Association and helps former and current serving RAF personnel on welfare matters.

Ken said, “It is a huge surprise to be put forward for such an award but it is a big honour. I feel like this nomination is for the whole team that helps with the appeal and huge credit must go to Bill who led the town’s appeal so well for 14 years. Without his hard work the appeal would not be the success that it is.

“We were thrilled with the amount the appeal raised this year and it is thanks to the amazing Melksham community who once again has shown their generosity.”

 

VIC OAKMAN 

Vic has worked tirelessly in his campaign for two decades to get the Forest Community Centre open.

Now open, the centre has become a hub of the community and is enjoyed by many groups and organisations in the town.

After several set-backs he never gave up and it is testament to his hard work and dedication that the Forest Community Centre is now thriving. At the centre’s one year anniversary Vic was presented with an award for his services to the community.

Vic said, “ I am somewhat surprised and honoured to be nominated. In nominating me this is a reflection on all the hard work done and still being done by the brilliant committee I have behind me, and if I should be given the award it will be for them as well as for myself.

“The future is bright for the community centre as we are always looking to improve and expand and that will continue to be the case.”

 

EMMA SIMONSEN 

Emma has helped raise awareness of a little known and understood condition, trichotillomania.

Hair pulling or trichotillomania is a psychological disorder where sufferers have an irresistible urge to pull out their hair. At 13 she took it upon herself to self-diagnose her obsessive hair pulling.  Emma has set up a website with Fixers – the national charity which gives young people 16-25-year-olds a voice to campaign on any issue which matters to them – to provide support and information for others with the condition.

She set up a website and has been in contact with fellow suffers and helped diagnose members of the public through speaking in the media.  She has been volunteering with Fixers for the past year, she is not only a role model but an expert on this issue and has used her past experience to help others and become a fantastic young representative of youth today.

Emma said, “I am shocked and overwhelmed to have been nominated.”

 

BRIAN WARWICK 

Brian is actively involved in voluntary work as the co-ordinator and founder of the Melksham Senior 55+ Forum and founder member of the Melksham Seniors Film Club. He has also set up an activities club which recently launched at Forest Community Centre.

For the last 25 years he has been closely associated with helping disabled people and young people with learning difficulties. He was also a founder member of the Melksham Access Group as the chair, and also represents local disabled and older people on the Melksham Campus Board.

Brian’s nominator said, “He works tirelessly for the town. If anyone deserves this, it’s Brian.”

Brian added, “I feel very surprised and overwhelmed that I have been nominated for the award. “I am sure there are others that are more deserving but it does means a lot to be nominated.”

HOW TO VOTE

Simply email your vote to news@melkshamnews.co.uk (please include the name of the person you are voting for and your own name & address) or fill in the voting form on page 11 in this week’s Melksham Independent News.

The deadline is 5.00pm on Wednesday 21st January