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Townspeople honoured at Civic Awards

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Individuals and groups in Melksham who have made a significant contribution to the community over the past year, were honoured with Civic Awards at the Mayor’s Reception, held on Friday 31st March.

The Melksham Civic Awards were officially presented by Melksham’s mayor, cllr Simon Crundell, who presented 14 awards across three categories; Achievement Award; Community Award; and the Enhancing Melksham Award.

The first Freedom of the Town, the highest award the mayor can give, was awarded to Melksham Town Crier, Peter Dauncey, who has retired after 16 years of service to the town.

Achievement awards

Two Achievement Awards were given; Grace Povey was recognised for her success in the Women’s Under 16s Kayaking competition. Grace started kayaking in 2021 and is now ranked first in the women’s under 16 and also 13th out of 110 other female participants across the country.

Chair of Wiltshire Youth Canoe Club and local aerospace engineer, Alex Edwards, was recognised for success in freestyle kayaking and winning a silver medal at the Freestyle Kayaking World Championships, with competitors taking part from over 25 countries.

Community awards

Ten Community Awards were given; Adrienne Westbrook was recognised for her work with Melksham Community Larder; DeeDee Macleod was awarded for her work with Melksham Free Dining; Jeanette and Mike Nash were honoured for their voluntary work with the Singin’ Group that they have run for eight years, contributing to the health and wellbeing of people in Melksham; Jeremy Flower was awarded for his work with the Melksham Stags, a mixed ability rugby team, helping people with physical and mental issues regain their health, confidence, and esteem.

John and Sharon Firth were recognised for their voluntary work to match Ukrainian guests with hosting families in Melksham; Kevin Bowerbank was awarded for his work with the Melksham Canoe Club; Ryan Clarke is the founder of Proud Melksham and was honoured for his work with the town’s LGBTQ+ community; and Virginie Djailebwas recognised for extensive voluntary work in the town, with Melksham Library, Melksham Community Larder and Proud Melksham.

Community Awards were also given to Mike Sankey, in recognition for his work as a Wiltshire councillor for the Melksham East ward and to Melksham Town Football Club’s joint president Mike Perrin for his 60 years service to the club as a player, secretary, treasurer, chairman and joint president.

Enhancing Melksham

Three Enhancing Melksham Awards were given; The Conigre Mead Volunteer Group were awarded for their commitment and work in the natural reserve, and for being awarded level five ‘Outstanding’ by the Royal Horticulture Society.

Melksham Flag Group were recognised for the work they do in designing and creating flags for the Market Place for summer floral displays, the Olympic rings and the Queen’s Jubilee; and finally, Wiltshire Youth Canoe Club were awarded in recognition for multiple river clean ups.

Wonderful town

Each award category represents achievements of individuals in different areas; the Achievement Award is for those who have excelled in their field or activity, including sports. The Community Award is given to anyone who has improved the quality of life for Melksham people; and the Enhancing Melksham Award is for anyone who has made an improvement to the physical environment in Melksham.

In his speech, the mayor, cllr Simon Crundell said, “On this special night, I want to thank each and every one of you for your contributions to our wonderful town. To the community groups, the beating heart of Melksham, thank you for all that you do to make our town a better place. To our civic award winners, the shining stars of Melksham, thank you for your selfless commitment to your neighbours.

“To my fellow councillors and officers, thank you for your hard work and dedication to our community. To our lovely Deputy Mayor, thank you for your unwavering support and commitment to Melksham. And to our fantastic Mayoress, thank you for the passion and enthusiasm with which you have adopted the role. It is not one of your choosing, but it is a privilege to have you by my side, and I could not undertake this job without you.

“In closing, I would like to say how proud I am to serve as your mayor, and how grateful I am to be a part of this incredible community. Let us continue to build on our strong foundation and work together to create a better future for Melksham.”

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