The Mayor of West Devon Borough Council, Councillor Mike Davies, has paid tribute to the extraordinary community spirit of this year's Mayoral Award Winners.

Group Mayor Award Winners

The annual Mayoral Awards are held to recognise individuals, organisations or groups who have enhanced the reputation of the Borough nationally, contributed to the protection and conservation of the natural environment, or done something particularly noteworthy within the Borough.

A large number of nominations were received, leading to some difficult choices for the Mayor.

Cllr Davies paid tribute to the high standard of the nominations, saying: "It never ceases to amaze me just how many hard working people there are in our Borough, plugging away quietly to make lives better for those around them. When you consider that the population of West Devon is somewhere around 50,000 people, it really is astonishing that year after year, we receive so many nominations, and picking just four winners out of those is a real challenge. I'd go so far as to say that it's been the hardest thing I've done as Mayor.

"Having said that, I think that the winners and commendations this year really do represent the very best of our community heroes, and they are truly deserving winners. Each and every one is a credit to their community."

The winner of this year's Green Award is Proper Job Resource Centre Charitable Incorporated Organisation, based in Chagford. One of the UK's very first community refuse centres, this charity aims to keep reusable items away from landfill by putting them on sale in an Aladdin's Cave of pre-loved treasures. It's now grown to become one of the largest employers in Chagford, with 25 local people employed there, and a further 10 in voluntary roles.

The winner of the Over 18 category is Mrs Joan Stewart. Mrs Stewart has been secretary to two West Devon Charities, the Watts Charity and the Marshall and Browne's Memorial Homes Charity, for over fifty years. The award is given in recognition of her phenomenal service and dedication to those in need.

The Over 18 Commendation is given to Mr Steven Bolt. Steve regularly volunteers to help the community in Okehampton, and whenever an event is taking place, he is working in the background to help. Whether it's putting up hanging baskets around the town, erecting Christmas lights or volunteering with the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme, Steve will be behind the scenes working away.

The Organisation Award winner is John Harris and the Weir Quay Watersports Hub Club. John has been the pivotal contributor to the design and construction of the boathouse at the Weir Quay Community Watersports hub club. A retired engineer, John led on the procurement and design, fundraising, research and negotiation, and even helped out with the construction work.

The Under 18 Winner is Chantel Whiting, a determined and hard-working young woman who represents West Devon Nationally in Boxing. Chantel has travelled all over England and visited Sweden and Ireland as well. In a National Competition she won 3 - 2 against Ireland, and has recently been chosen as an ambassador for Devon Girls Can.

The Under 18 Merit Award goes to Edward Selwood. Edward is heavily involved with the local community and has shared Dartmoor's living folk traditions with the English Folklore Society. He is a member of the National Folklore troupe of England, a Dartmoor Broom Dance Champion and has performed at local and National folk festivals, keeping centuries-old traditions alive in the Borough.

Cllr Davies continued: "It's been a pleasure and a privilege to meet all the winners and runners-up, and one of the highlights of my time as Mayor. I'm very proud to represent people like this, and all of the West Devon residents."



Issued: 16 May 2019