Five residents from Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge were awarded Civic Awards on Sunday (October 2nd) in recognition of their service to the local community.
Pat Farrow, David Gordon, Alan & Jan Huddart, and Margaret Williams were honoured during the service at St Andrew’s Church, which was attended by hundreds of local residents and dignitaries.
The service was preceded by a special procession by local dignitaries through Burnham town centre from The Princess Theatre to St Andrew’s Church.
The Mayor of Burnham and Highbridge, Mayor Cllr Michael Clarke, led Sunday’s ceremony and praised the winners for their “huge commitment and dedication”.
After a welcome from Rev Sharon Eldergill, Gracie Wickens-Sweet sang a powerful performance of ‘Over The Rainbow’. Cllr Michael Clarke, Denise Emery and Dawn Carey gave readings, while Tim Pitman provided two uplifting, pitch-perfect opera songs.
Prayers were led by Rev Graham Witts and an address about community spirit was given by Rev Sharon Crossman. Burnham and Highbridge Town Band gave stirring renditions of popular music, finishing with the National Anthem.
The winners of the awards, chosen by the Town Council, were drawn up from a list of nominees submitted by members of the public earlier this year.
During the service the Mayor’s guest of Honour, The High Sheriff of Somerset, The Honourable Edward W G Bayntun-Coward ESQ, presented Civic awards to four of the winners, with Margaret Williams unable to attend.
Pat Farrow was nominated for her involvement with Sedgemoor Community Partnership at Morland Hall in Highbridge. Pat has been volunteering at Morland Hall for more than eight years.
Chief Petty Officer David Gordon David Gordon has been a member of Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge’s Sea Cadet unit for 35 years, first as a Cadet, then as a staff member, before attaining his present rank of Chief Petty Officer in 1998. All members of staff are unpaid volunteers and David has selflessly given up two evenings a week and most weekends over that time.
Alan and Jan Huddart are described as the backbone of the volunteers at Burnham-On-Sea’s Princess Theatre and Arts Centre. Jan coordinates the volunteer team with excellent diplomacy and skill and is a great asset. Without her ability to draw the team members in and allocate their duties so well, the theatre could not operate as well as it does. Alan is always happy to jump in at any time when there is extra help needed and has been involved with numerous local groups.
Margaret Williams’ involvement with Sedgemoor Community Partnership (SCP) at Morland Hall in Highbridge is also recognised with her award. Margaret originally became involved with SCP via the Highbridge Dreamscheme which was started in the Morland Hall Annexe in early 2010 by a local police initiative in partnership with the group. She was a founder member on the committee and later became its Chair until the Police withdrew their support.
A collection was taken in aid of the Mayor’s chosen charity, which this year is ‘In Charley’s Memory’.