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 email@example.com (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 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 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. “
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 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’.”
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 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 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 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 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 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.”