photos: Michael Eavis presents Burnham-On-Sea Civic Awards
Festival organiser Michael Eavis was the VIP guest who presented
Civic Awards to four residents from Burnham and Highbridge to
recognise their work in the community during the town's annual
Civic Service on Sunday (September 14th).
and Sara Cox-Conklin from Burnham's
Swim and Sports Academy and
Tony and Sue Merrett from Highbridge
Monarchs Gymnastics Club received their awards in front of a congregation
of over 200 people.
service was preceded by a special procession by local dignitaries
through the town centre from The Princess Theatre to St Andrew's
Mayor of Burnham and Highbridge, Cllr Martin Cox, led Sunday's
ceremony and praised the two couple for their "commitment
and dedication to the community over many years."
and Mark Cox-Conklin, pictured right, received their awards
for their work in saving Burnham's swimming pool from the axe
six years ago and then transforming it into the thriving Burnham
Swim and Sports Academy. The couple took on the pool when Sedgemoor
District Council intended to close it in 2008 due to budget cuts.
the ensuing years, due entirely to their vision and determination
they have made an enormous success of this Academy," said
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 many activities."
and Tony Merrett received their Civic Awards for their work in
running Highbridge-based Monarchs Acrobatic Gymnastics Club. They
have given huge amounts of their time and expertise over the last
15 years with youngsters of all ages.
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 Cllr Cox.
Sue's daughter, Mandy Warburton, received the award with Tony,
right, because she was unable to attend.
Civic Service was led by Rev Graham Witts and included readings
by Juliet Cox, Cllr Neville Jones and Sharon, Eloise and Ruby
Davis plus musical entertainment.
were two powerful performances by Highbridge singer Gypsy Watkins,
pictured below with Michael Eavis, who wowed the audience
with her rendition of 'Nessun Dorma', the well-known aria from
the final act of Puccini's opera.
players from Burnham-based group Flutation gave a magical performance
of 'Flutation' by Clare Grundman and 'Anitra's Dance' from Peer
Gynt by Grieg.
Strickland, from North Sedgemoor History Group, gave an amusing
speech on ten things you never knew about Burnham and Highbridge.
hymns and prayers the service ended with a stirring performance
by Wells City Band and the singing of the national anthem.
was followed by a Civic Reception at The Princess Theatre where
a special Past Mayor's Badge was awarded to Cllr Neville Jones
for his considerable civic efforts for the two towns over several
and a original painting of the town's beach and lighthouse by
Burnham artist Michael Squire were presented by the Mayor and
Mayoress Arlene Cox to Michael Eavis to thank him for his attendance.
Eavis told Burnham-On-Sea.com he'd "greatly enjoyed"
the visit. He added: "It was very nice to be invited along
- I do love Burnham. I have long family connections with the town
and frequently visit for walks along your wonderful beach."
procession by local dignitaries took place through the town centre
team from Burnham's BARB Search & Rescue was invited to lead
Eavis with vicar Reverend Graham Witts and the Mayor and Mayoress
services represented at the special service included Burnham Police
plus BARB Search & Rescue, Burnham RNLI and Burnham Coastguard
Sheriff of Somerset, Richard Lloyd, with Mr Eavis and the Mayoral
Eavis with Burnham Police Community Support Officers at the event
Eavis receiving a painting of the town's beach and lighthouse
Neville Jones receiving a Past Mayor's Badge for his work over
Eavis with the teams from The Princess and Town Council
with their partners and former Town Clerk Eileen Shaw at the event