Somerset volunteers recognised for their positive contribution at awards
A 102-year-old man who decided to throw a party for children rather than celebrate his own remarkable milestone has been named Somer Resident of the Year.
With the help of a neighbour, Frederick Smith, who lives at Pine Court in Radstock, organised and paid for a party for 20 children who had suffered hardship through Barnado's.
Unfortunately, he was unable to attend the lavish event himself because he had a sore back, caused by chopping down a tree, but he was pleased the children had a splendid time feasting on a tea-party style lunch, playing games and making party hats.
His kindness and generosity and general good neighbourliness won him the award which was presented by the chairman of Bath and North East Somerset, Peter Edwards.
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As well as his good deeds Mr Smith is on course to becoming a computer whizz kid and cheers everyone up with a laugh and a joke. He gets his happiness from making other people happy and now plans to organise another party.
Mr Smith's nomination was one of 107 received from individuals and community groups from across the area for the Chairman's Awards which recognises volunteers that make a positive contribution to show leadership and initiative in the community.
Midsomer Norton resident and former councillor Shirley Steel was given a lifetime achievement award for service to her home town.
Her public service began in 1954 as leader of the 1st Midsomer Norton Troop. Since then she has been a councillor on Norton Radstock Town Council, Wansdyke District Council and Bath and North East Somerset Council.
Mrs Steel is also involved in many local organisations including Silver Street Nature Reserve, Midsomer Norton Community Association, Somerset and Dorset Railway and the Sarah Ann Trust.
Highly commended was Eileen Colburn, of Midsomer Norton, who has completed 30 years with the Home Library volunteers and has also been a Guide leader over the same period.
Twins Ursula and Rosemary Cherry, from Midsomer Norton, won honours in the Young Volunteer of the Year Award.
Ursula was the winner in the category for her service with St John Ambulance. Her nomination was for volunteering as much as she could and serving with a smile, patience and grace.
Her sister Rosemary was highly commended for commitment to the projects she undertakes with St John.
Young Volunteer team were Somer Valley FM Young Volunteers who, according to PC Simon Selby, youth strategy officer at Avon and Somerset police, who said they stood out by their enthusiasm, dynamic energy and the fact they simply got on and made a huge difference, encouraging others by their example.
Highly commended as Volunteer Leader of the Year was Sarah Westell, of Haydon, who has been involved in the village day, organised village clear up days, has organised film nights, fundraising bingo evenings and craft sessions for children in the village. She is also the driving force of Radstock Youth Partnership.
Highly commended in the Somer Resident of the Year section were Sheila Coombes, from Peasedown St John, and Barbara Garrett, of Radstock.
Despite her own disabilities Mrs Coombes and always gone the extra mile for her neighbours while Mrs Garrett was said to be kind and generous and always there for her neighbours.
Mr Edwards said he had been heartened by the stories of true unsung heroes in the community.