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Vote for MELKSHAM’s Person of the Year

THE nominees for Melksham News’ Person of the Year 2017 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, The 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 shortlisted names. You can vote by simply emailing your choice to news@melkshamnews.co.uk (please include 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 3pm next Wednesday, 24th January.

Julie Cannings

Julie has been a regular face at the town tidy days and is well known in the town for her volunteering work. Last year, she braved the shave and raised over £200 for Dorothy House, losing all of her hair in the process.

Her nomination said, “Most days Julie goes around her local park areas collecting carrier bags full of rubbish to give children and other people somewhere pleasant to go.

“On top of that,  Julie works in the Dorothy House shop as a volunteer to help, and has become one of the most respected people in the town.”

Beth Dark

Beth has lived in Melksham all of her life and has been part of the Melksham Carnival committee for 12 years, making her the longest standing member. She also fundraises for local charities and donates her time to a number of other local groups including Melksham in Bloom and the River & Food Festival.

Her nomination said, “Beth works tirelessly for the good of Melksham and will put the needs of others in front of her own.

“Beth does all these things every year and seems to add more to her list every time a new event is in process. This is why I think Beth Dark should be person of the year. “

Galbindar Dhariwal

Father of three, Galbindar currently studies at Wiltshire College. In September last year, he took it upon himself to single-handedly clear an overgrown and hazardous pathway between Hazelwood Road and the town centre, after pleas for action fell on deaf ears at Wiltshire Council. His actions made the pathway safe again, delighting residents.

Galbindar volunteers at a residential home for the elderly and likes to help his neighbours with odd jobs. He recently adopted an 8-year-old dog called Buddy from Bath Cats and Dogs Home, who he enjoys taking on walks.

His nomination said, “Galbindar is a lovely and very friendly person. He always has time to stop and talk to people, and often reaches out to people in the community who are lonely. He is very kind and will do anything to help others.”

John Hamley

John has been an active member of the Melksham Rail User Group (formerly the Melksham Rail Development Group) for 20 years, and secretary for the last 10 years. In that time, Melksham Station has risen from 3,000 annual passenger journeys to 75,000. He regularly updates the MRUG website and fundraises for the group, helping to continue their activities. He is also a member of the Whitley Players and supports most productions, as well as appearing on stage.

His nomination said, “John has supported the service through thick and thin, mentored new volunteers and members, and can always be found actively helping at events such as the annual ‘Santa Train’.”

Ciaran Hanks

11-year-old Ciaran hit the headlines in 2017 for his continued fundraising in the pool. Last year he took on the monster challenge of swimming the length of Loch Ness, 36.33km, over five months, completing 1,454 lengths of a 25m pool.

His nomination said, “Ciaran has raised over £1,200 for Wiltshire Air Ambulance and MS Society UK. He is focussed and committed and has remained extremely modest throughout, despite his stories being covered in local press and has never asked for anything for himself in return. He has also inspired other people to follow in his footsteps and complete similar challenges to raise money for their chosen charities.”

Andy Hinchcliffe


Andy served as a member of Melksham Town Council from May 2013 until his death in September last year. He was considered an expert on planning and was part of the team helping to prepare the Neighbourhood Plan. Believing that the town should always look its best, he also volunteered on a regular basis, helping with litter picks as part of the Town Team and with the Queensway Community Group.

His nomination said, “I nominate Andy for his tireless work within the town and his dedication as a very hardworking town councillor. He was very passionate about our town.”

Alan Johnson

Alan is the owner of The M.O.T. Centre in Bowerhill, a family business that began in 1985. Despite reaching retirement age last year, Alan continues to work alongside his four sons.

Alan is also known for his charity work, having raised money in the past for Bowerhill Village Hall and the Melksham Carnival.

His nomination said, “Alan created his business using his drive, passion and desire to provide for his family. This mindset has been instilled into all four of his sons who work together in the family business.”

Mike Mills

Mike was a councillor for Melksham Without Parish Council for 28 years before retiring recently due to ill-health. He was also the council’s longest serving chairman at 12 years.

Outside of his council commitments, Mike has been involved in numerous community groups including the Bowerhill Village Hall Committee, Bowerhill Residents’ Action Group and Melksham in Bloom, helping to set up and run the canal picnic area between Bowerhill and Seend Cleeve.

His nomination said, “Given the voluntary time and effort Mike has given to the community over the past decades, it is fitting that he should be recognised for this work.”

Gavin Owen

Gavin is one of the founding members of Bowerhill’s Core Church and  organises the free Christmas lunch at Melksham Assembly Hall. The annual Christmas get-together has been running since 2007, and is a free community event held on Christmas Day when people are invited for lunch at the Assembly Hall. Gavin is also involved with several local charities.

His nomination said, “I would like to nominate Gavin of Core Church who organised a wonderful team of people to provide Christmas Lunch on Christmas Day for 150 people.”

Stephen Rolfe

Stephen has been praised by residents in the Primrose Drive area for his hard work transforming Clackers Brook and Primrose Nature Reserve into havens for local wildlife. His efforts are enjoyed by residents on a daily basis who spend their time and walk there.

His nomination said, “I put Stephen forward for his continued hard work and dedication for the transformation of Clackers Brook and Primrose Drive Nature Reserve. He’s worked miracles and helped the wildlife.”

Gerald & Linda Salter

Berryfields residents Gerald and Linda Salter  run a ballroom dance class every week in Melksham and a social dance at Bromham Social Centre, once a month. All monies raised is given to local charities and last year over £2,500 was given to Dorothy House and Wiltshire Air Ambulance.

Also, the couple have assisted the Melksham Scouts Group for many years and help the Christmas Shoebox appeal. Linda also  knits and makes craft items for charity.

Their nomination said, “This couple have given Melksham a great deal of time and energy for various charities over many years and I believe they should be recognised for their great efforts.”

67 Responses to Vote for MELKSHAM’s Person of the Year

  1. Dee Phesse

    January 17, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    I’d like to vote for Stephen Rolfe as person of the year. I’ve witnessed in person how hard he works at Clackers Brook and the Primrose Nature Reserve. I used to walk there frequently with my dog (sadly now passed away), and would stop and talk to Stephen and his delightful little dog Buster. He’s transformed this area, which is a wildlife heaven and a pleasure for walkers.

  2. Linda millward

    January 17, 2018 at 4:24 pm

    I would like to vote for Ciaran Hanks as he’s just 11 years of age and already he has raised hundreds of pounds for very worthy charities such as the MS Society and Wiltshire Air Ambulance Service. I feel that as a young person of melksham he has been a very positive inspiration for his peers and everyone he meets. Not all 11 year olds would spend time selflessly raising money for charity in this way. I think he would be a very worthy winner, and it would give him more reason to carry on with his charity work.

  3. Jackie fellows

    January 17, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    I would like to vote for Stephen Rolfe, I have lived on primrose drive over 20years and the area which has now been turned into the nature reserve has always been over grown and unkept Stephen has worked tirelessly clearing, planting,putting fencing up,and placing bird feeders and bird houses,hedgehog houses and plenty more,We now have a glorious area to walk and sit on benches to watch the amazing wildlife that has now come back to live in the area, I think he is a well deserved winner.

  4. Christine Soutar

    January 17, 2018 at 5:06 pm

    I would like to vote for Ciaran Hanks. What an inspiration he is giving up so much of his time to raise money for two very worthy charities. it is so refreshing to see an 11 year old boy giving so much & expecting nothing in return and I would like to think that others will take a leaf out of Ciarans book.

  5. Caroline Hanks

    January 17, 2018 at 6:11 pm

    Hi Christine
    Unfortunately I don’t think leaving a message here counts as a vote. Please could you email your choice to news@melkshamnews.co.uk (please include your own name and address)?
    Thank you so much for supporting Ciaran
    Kind Regards

  6. Brenda harte

    January 17, 2018 at 11:40 pm

    Having Owen for my vote.
    My parents put on a Christmas lunch yearly for 40 local people in Aldershot. I know how much work goes in to organising the event for 40 so arranging a Xmas dinner for 100 is just an amazing and wonderful task. Gavin and his family put their Christmas day on hold to ensure 100 single lonely people in the Melksham area have a fabulous day. Well done.

  7. Brenda harte

    January 18, 2018 at 12:51 am

    I would like to vote for Having. My parents do a Christmas dinner for 40 in Ash. Aldershot. The effort and organisation is very hard but worthwhile. I applaud Having for organising and putting on Christmas lunch for 100. He is not phased by anything. Xmas 2016 was a fabulous meal.

  8. Mrs j mayell

    January 18, 2018 at 10:14 am

    Gerald linda salter

  9. Mrs j mayell

    January 18, 2018 at 10:15 am

    They do very good things for melksham

  10. Helen Morris

    January 18, 2018 at 1:13 pm

    Stephen Rolfe has worked to provide a haven for wild life and walkers. Walk your dog, chat to others or just appreciate the bird song.

  11. Kate sparkes

    January 19, 2018 at 8:06 pm

    She brings a Brightness to Melksham, always so helpful and always there to help others, she is truly and inspiration to many people including myself and here’s hoping why Beth Dark should have person of Melksham award. To do what she does is above and beyond.

  12. Stephanie Langley

    January 19, 2018 at 8:27 pm

    I vote for Beth Dark
    She’s a wonderful person who just wants what’s best for everyone and is the most loving and kind hearted person I know.

  13. Mrs Sanghera

    January 20, 2018 at 7:07 am

    I vote for Galbindar Dhaliwal.
    He is very caring & kind person,he always help people.

  14. Mr Sanghera

    January 20, 2018 at 8:18 am

    I vote for Mr Galbindar Dhaliwal ,I have known this person for many , many years and always found him to be a very caring and helpful.

  15. Mr Sanghera

    January 20, 2018 at 8:59 am

    He is a community fella !

  16. Eileen Horton

    January 20, 2018 at 1:44 pm

    John Hamley , as I agree he has done so much to get Melksham train service to how it is doing so well with many more passengers using the service too, so many others have done many things for the community also, the train staff are so helpful and friendly too, I travel regular on the Melksham train to other local stations , I regularly use Melksham train to get me to Westbury for my connection to Plymouth to see my elderly mum who is the grand age of 96 , I traveled on the Flying Scotsman with my mum when I was a young girl , to travel to Edinburgh to visit family , such a memerable time traveling on the wonderful Flying Scotsman , travels on the night service too, remember sleeping on bunk beds that had curtains to draw across for privacy ,

    Wishing all containders good luck !,

  17. Sara panchbaya

    January 21, 2018 at 12:09 pm

    Gerald and Linda Salter
    They are a remarkable couple who take pleasure in helping in Melksham and helping many people ,,,,, they donate to charities help out at W I and have a garden which is open to public in the summer ,,,, they are absolutely wonderful.

  18. Christine Metcalfe

    January 21, 2018 at 12:36 pm

    I vote for Grald and Linda Salter

  19. june daniel

    January 21, 2018 at 3:36 pm

    I would like to vote for Julie Cannings for the great work she does in the town.
    June Daniel
    1 Martigny court

  20. june daniel

    January 21, 2018 at 3:37 pm

    Julie is great what she does keeping the town tidy.

  21. Jo Stewart

    January 21, 2018 at 9:10 pm

    I’d like to vote for Ciaran Hanks as to see someone that young doing things for others and setting a great example is brilliant to see. The other nominees are very worthy but Ciaran’s age sets him apart

  22. robert punter

    January 22, 2018 at 9:21 am

    John hamley

  23. Sarah

    January 22, 2018 at 10:45 am

    Mike Mills has my vote as he has been such an important part of the local community for so many years, putting so much time into Melksham and its residents.

  24. Patricia Beavers

    January 22, 2018 at 1:37 pm

    I would like to vote for ciaran hanks as he’s been inspiration for people

  25. Ian Holden

    January 23, 2018 at 8:41 am

    I am voting for Ciaran Banks.Great achievement !

  26. Caroline Hanks

    January 23, 2018 at 11:30 pm

    Thank you for supporting Ciaran, Unfortunately leaving a message on here doesn’t count as a vote.Please could you email your choice to news@melkshamnews.co.uk (please include your own name and address)?
    Thank you so much for supporting Ciaran
    Kind Regards

  27. Caroline Hanks

    January 23, 2018 at 11:30 pm

    Thank you for supporting Ciaran, Unfortunately leaving a message on here doesn’t count as a vote.Please could you email your choice to news@melkshamnews.co.uk (please include your own name and address)?
    Thank you so much for supporting Ciaran
    Kind Regards

  28. Caroline Hanks

    January 23, 2018 at 11:31 pm

    Thank you for supporting Ciaran, Unfortunately leaving a message on here doesn’t count as a vote.Please could you email your choice to news@melkshamnews.co.uk (please include your own name and address)?
    Thank you so much for supporting Ciaran
    Kind Regards

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