Four residents from Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge were awarded Civic Awards and honoured for their service to the local community on Sunday (September 16th).

Town crier Alastair Murray, Burnham In Bloom’s Jo Brown, former Mayor Dennis Davey, and RNLI operations manager Matt Davies were presented with their awards during the annual Civic Service at St John’s Church in Highbridge, which was attended by over 150 local residents and dignitaries.

The award winners, chosen by the Town Council, were drawn up from a list of nominees submitted by local residents earlier this year.

The service was preceded by a short procession of civic dignitaries along Burnham Road to Church Street, past the war memorial to St John’s Church, pictured above.

The Mayor of Burnham and Highbridge, Mayor Cllr Bill Hancock, led Sunday’s ceremony alongside the High Sheriff of Somerset, Denis Burn. He praised the winners for their “huge commitment and dedication”.

After a welcome from Rev Sharon Crossman, the Mayor’s Chaplain, there was a prayer led by Evie Milburn, the Mayor’s cadet.

After a bible reading from the Mayor Cllr Hancock, there followed a thought-provoking address from Rev Crossman with the theme of respecting our earth and communities.

The four winners then received their Civic Awards from the Mayor and Mayoress and High Sheriff after testimonials were read for each.

After the presentations, local Burnham-On-Sea group Anchors Aweigh, sang sea chanties and The Town Clerk Tatiana Cant then gave an introduction to the council’s theme for the coming year, ‘clean and safe beaches’.

Representatives from the Mayor’s two chosen charities, Phil Counsell and Mark Newman, introduced the RNLI and BARB.

After prayers and hymns, a collection took place for the Mayor’s charities and the service ended with the singing of the National Anthem followed by a civic tea at the Oaktree Arena.

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.

Alastair has held the role of Town Crier since 2013 and is often heard ringing his bell to inform residents and visitors about community events. He supports the Mayor by attending many official functions and visits and helps to ‘meet and greet’ coach visitors in the town. He is also a founding member of the Panto Society and a regular performer.

Matt is currently the Operations Manager at Burnham RNLI Lifeboat Station where he has put in many hours of volunteer time. He is one of the first people suffering from diabetes to be accepted by the RNLI as operational boat crew and has been instrumental in lifesaving in Burnham.

Dennis joined the Rotary Club in 1995 and became its President. He’s an active member of the Fritzlar Twinning Society Committee and is Vice Chairman. He served for 16 years as a town councillor, was chairman of Sedgemoor District Council and is a former Mayor.

Jo was nominated for her long involvement with Burnham In Bloom, helping to brighten our streets with fantastic floral displays. Jo has been the group’s children’s co-ordinator for 13 years and encourages schools to take part. Jo is also well known as the friendly face at Burnham and Highbridge’s post offices.

Burnham and Highbridge’s Mayor, Cllr, Bill Hancock, told “It was a wonderful afternoon for four deserving members of our community – four people who have been an important part of community life in both the towns for many years.”

Presentations were made by the Mayor to those who had helped make the event a success, including High Sheriff of Somerset, Denis Burn and his wife, Hillary plus Rev Sharon Crossman – the Mayor’s Chaplain, Tatiana Cant – Town Clerk, and the council’s Lorna Brewer, Lorna Williams and Sally Jones, plus Debbie Hancock for the civic function and Rhiannon Parsons, who created a large landscape beach art scene for the event.

A plastic art installation showed a fish made up of plastic bottles collected by parishioners during August

The Mayor of Burnham and Highbridge, Cllr Bill Hancock, and Mayoress Francess Hancock, with High Sheriff of Somerset, Denis Burn and his wife Hillary

Debbie Hancock at the civic function with Rhiannon Parsons, who created a stunning landscape beach art scene for the event

Town Clerk Tatiana Cant and the town council team were thanked by the Mayor and Mayoress