September 14, 2014
Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge Civic Service to be held today

Two community-spirited couples in Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge are to receive Civic Awards today (Sunday, September 14th) when the town's annual Civic Service is held.

Mark and Sara Cox-Conklin and Tony and Sue Merrett will be receiving this year's awards.

Mark and Sara run Burnham's Swim and Sports Academy, and Tony and Sue Merrett oversee the long-running Highbridge Monarchs Gymnastics Club.

Mark and Sara Cox-Conklin, who run Burnham's Swim and Sports AcademyThe awards will be handed out by Mayor Cllr Martin Cox and the VIP guest Glastonbury Festival founder Michael Eavis CBE at the town's 28th annual Civic Service.

The service in St Andrew's Church will be preceded at 2.50pm by a short procession through Burnham by several local dignitaries from The Princess Theatre to the church.

The Civic Party will be greeted by a guard of honour from the cadet services.

Then at 3pm in St Andrew's Church The Civic Service will take place when Michael Eavis CBE will present the awards.

Sara and Mark Cox-Conklin will receive an award for their work in saving Burnham's swimming pool from the axe six years ago and then transforming it into thriving Burnham Swim and Sports Academy.

The couple took on the pool when Sedgemoor District Council intended to close and sell off the site in 2008 due to budget cuts.

"In the ensuing years, due entirely to their vision and determination they have made an enormous success of this Academy," said the Mayor. "They not only brought this old facility up to modern requirements at great expense, but have also added to it over the years with a fitness centre and various outdoor activities; all facilities for keeping people fit."

"The pool is now the hub for other activities including runs, triathlons and semi-marathons and is an enormous asset to Burnham. It would certainly not have been here today but for Mark and Sara, who of course are international athletes themselves."

Sue and Tony MerrettSue and Tony Merrett, pictured right, will also receive Civic Awards for their work in running Monarchs Acrobatic Gymnastics Club.

Tony and Sue have given huge amounts of their time and expertise over the last 15 years with youngsters of all ages.

"Working tirelessly to raise funds and recruit young people, they have also given encouragement and regular training sessions to the children. The club's members have consistently reached high standards that have enabled them to compete locally, nationality and internationally," said the Mayor Cllr Martin Cox.

They transformed an old warehouse in Highbridge into the nerve centre of the successful gymnastics enterprise, Monarchs Acrobatic Gymnastics Club. A transport company in Highbridge had faith in their vision for creating the club, and provided part of their warehouse. The club has now expanded and has every facility for over 100 youngsters.

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