Published: September 8, 2013
In photos: 250 attend Burnham-On-Sea's annual Civic Service

Four residents from Burnham-On-Sea were presented with awards to recognise their work in the community during the town's annual Civic Service on Sunday (September 8th).

John Alexander, Mark Newman, Roger Packer and Jason Vickers received the awards after being nominated for their community work.

The Mayor of Burnham and Highbridge, Cllr Martin Cox, was joined by Brigadier Tom Lang QVRM RD DL, Deputy Lieutenant for Somerset, (pictured right) to present the awards at the annual ceremony in St Andrew's Church, attended by 250 people.

Award winner John Alexander is the founder of Burnham Dreamscheme and is a member of the Rosewood Action Team. He works as a volunteer for Burnham Police and is chair for what were once called PACT meetings. He is also Neighbourhood Watch and Speedwatch co-ordinator.

Mark Newman runs Burnham's long-running community website,, which has been promoting groups and events across the area for ten years. He is also Chairman of Burnham-On-Sea Chamber of Trade and Chairman of BARB and a founder member of BiARS, which runs Burnham's Tourist Information Centre.

Jason Vickers, right, is a charity marathon runner who was a torch bearer at the 2012 Olympic Games. He works tirelessly for local charities and is a familiar face at the town's Tesco store where he works and is also an active member of Burnham Lions Club.

Roger Packer has for 55 years rung the bells at St Andrew's Church for Sunday Services, public events and weekly practices. 35 years ago he became Captain of the Ringers when he became responsible for organising ringing, and teaching new recruits, maintenance of the bells and liaising with visiting bands of ringers, wedding parties and visiting tradesmen.

The church was filled with a congregation of more than 250 people who heard the Mayor thank the residents for their "commitment and dedication to the community over the years."

The Mayor added: "It's always difficult to pick the winners because there are many nominees in our towns each year but those we have chosen are all highly deserving. The Civic Service demonstrates how local community spirit is very much alive and shows how we are proud of our town."

A further Mayor's Special Award was announced for Burnham cyclist Liam Phillips, who became the BMX World Champion. Further details here.

Sunday's service was led by Rev Graham Witts and included community choir Burnham On Song giving gave a strong performance of 'Sing', the Queen's Jubilee song, while Burnham and Highbridge Town Band gave a stirring rendition of 'O Perfect Love'. Felicity Berry also sang a powerful solo of 'Over the Rainbow' by Eva Cassidy.

Readings were given by Graham Cox and Sharon Davis, Cadet Corporal Harry Jackson, Cllr Neville Jones and Nick Tolley, and prayers were given by Rev Sharon Crossman. The service ended with collections for BARB and the St Andrew's Church Appeal and was followed by a Civic Reception at The Princess Theatre.

Cllr Martin Cox and Brigadier Tom Lang arriving at Sunday's Civic Service

Cllr Martin Cox, Brigadier Tom Lang, Cadet Corporal Harry Jackson and Mayoress Arlene Cox with the four award winners

The procession parading through Burnham before Sunday's service

Reverend Graham Witts and Rev Sharon Crossman with the curates

Burnham and Highbridge's Mayor and Mayoress with Cllr Peter Burridge-Clayton and James Heappey (pics courtesy of Mike Lang)

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