Mayor sings praises of local heroes
COMMUNITY heroes in Gillingham have been praised by town mayor Val Pothecary at an awards ceremony.
Mrs Pothecary hosted the town's first ever Community Hero Awards ceremony at the Town Hall on Sunday stating when she took office she wanted to organise an event to recognise the unsung champions in the town.
In the weeks leading up to the event, Gillingham residents were asked to nominate the members of the community that they felt deserved special recognition.
Fourteen recipients were given the Community Hero Award in "honour and recognition of their extraordinary dedication to helping the community of Gillingham".
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Mrs Pothecary said that she had been humbled by some of the nominations and the awards had exceeded all of her expectations.
She said: "The afternoon was smashing, we had such a nice time. There were smiles all round and the buzz in the room was just excellent."
Following a performance by the Gillingham Imperial Silver Junior Band each nominee was presented with a framed certificate and a commemorative paper weight, engraved with the Town Council crest. Each nomination was read by the town crier David Wathen.
"I would not have even been surprised if there had been double the amount of nominations for the awards," said Mrs Pothecary, "There are so many people out there doing wonderful things in the community.
"We have a very special community here. As a town we maybe don't have a lot of heritage but the people themselves make the town – there is a kindness that just runs through.
"These awards are not a knee-jerk reaction to recent activity, they celebrate the work that people have done year after year.
"Some of them were quite surprised to have been nominated and even as they left at the end of the ceremony some of them said that they didn't deserve this.
"I am sure that many people have a view on who may be a worthy recipient but to put pen to paper and send in a nomination, putting that into action, really speaks volumes.
"I am really very proud of the town."
Over the coming weeks the Western Gazette will be revealing the stories behind each of the town's community heroes.