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The sun was shining once again as Thame celebrated its 6th annual Town Awards at the Barns Centre on Thursday evening. Local businesses and organisations gathered to honour all those and to congratulate the 7 people who won a coveted Town Award.
Ninety entries were received, thirty more than in 2013, and the Awards Panel was once again delighted with the calibre of those nominated. CLICK HERE for a list of everyone who was nominated. Choosing a winner is always a difficult task which is becoming more so as the scheme gets bigger and better each year! However, six very special individuals and one group stood out as this year’s greatest unsung heroes:
Sporting Achievement – Les Canfield
Les has been a voluntary green keeper at Thame Bowls for many years, maintaining the clubs reputation as having the best green in Oxfordshire! Unfortunately, due to family commitments he is no longer able to volunteer, however, this award marks the many hours he has given voluntarily and how much he will be missed by members of the club.
Young Achiever – Harry Parsons
Harry is a student at Lord Williams’s School and has represented his peers in all aspects of school life including the school council. He has given a voice to his year group on issues such as bullying, homophobia and mental health and also supported new students as they make the transition from lower school. He also makes up half of a popular radio show on Thame’s very own Black Frog Radio – all this whilst studying for his GCSE’s.
Service with a Smile – Michael Hutt
Michael is a familiar face to most people in Thame, particularly if you have ever suffered from a cough or cold. As the pharmacist in Boots, Michael gets to meet a lot of local people, many of whom described him as helpful, knowledgeable and a friendly asset to Thame.
Due to the number and standard of nominations in this category the Panel decided to split the category into two and award both an individual and an organisation.
Voluntary Individual – Ken Bennell
Ken, an active member of Thame Lions for over 30 years, received an award for his outstanding length of service from the foundation at the 37th Charter Luncheon. He has worked for the Thame & District Housing Association for 6 years and, since retiring, volunteers at the Bowls Club and was recently appointed treasurer for Thame Sports Club. In 2005 he received the Melvin Jones Fellowship for Dedication to Humanitarian Services from the Lions International Foundation.
Voluntary Organisation – Sharing Life
Sharing Life is a vital organisation run by volunteers that offers numerous forms of support to people in our community. As well as providing debt counselling, family support and transport for the less mobile, Sharing Life has implemented the Food Bank, which distributes food parcels to struggling families. The Community Bank which helps combat the pitfalls of pay day loan companies. The charity also has links in East Africa and India, widening their scope of giving to enable these global communities to flourish.
Person of Courage – Nathanael Armstrong
At the age of 16 Nat was diagnosed with an extremely rare allergy to all proteins and sugars, dramatically restricting his diet and impacting on his health. He has undergone extensive investigations and experiments into curing his illness at the John Radcliffe, Guy’s & St Thomas and Great Ormond Street hospitals. Unfortunately, due to nature of his illness, treatment is extremely costly and so Nat and his family have set up a trust to help raise the money needed to continue his medication (www.help4nat.co.uk). Prior to his illness, Nat was a gifted county swimmer and continues to support his swimming club.
Lifetime Achievement - Beatrice Dobie
Beatrice has been a lifelong resident of Thame and has devoted her life to serving the community. She was a Brownie leader for many years and continues to be an active member of the Community Hospital League of Friends. She was also instrumental in realising the new library in North Street. Others may also be more familiar with Beatrice in her role as a representative of Thame Town Council, of which she was a member for many years. Beatrice was delighted to receive the award and thanked the people of Thame for nominating her.
Town Mayor, Jeannette Matelot Green concluded the awards ceremony by thanking Pat Ruxton who announced she was stepping down as Chairman of the Panel after six years. Pat spoke of all the people in Thame who do ‘great things very quietly’ and was proud to be part of a scheme that recognised these unsung people for their achievements.
The Awards this year were generously sponsored by : Arriva, Brothers, Independent Mortgage Solutions, Kubota, Parkers and Thame Chiropractic Clinic.
Photo courtesy of Ross Dike