Brian Coombs has run the town’s carnival for the past 43 years. Sadly, he has had to resign this year due to cancer, but the Community Champions judges felt he was deserving of recognition for his enormous contribution to the town. Thousands of children, parents, grandparents, born-and-bred Westonians and visitors have enjoyed the carnival over the years, and that is in no small part down to Brian’s hard work and dedication.
It is often easy to forget how lucky we are to have great neighbours, but Myra Ann nominated Marianne Ford for not only raising thousands of pounds for charities including Weston Hospicecare and MacMillan Cancer Support, but also for being a supportive neighbour. During the years Marianne has helped Myra with shopping, cooked meals, cleared snow off her neighbours’ driveways and popped in the make people’s days with fresh flowers and home-made cookies. Myra described Marianne as ‘a gem’ of a person, and our judges agreed.
Haywood Village is one of Weston’s newest developments, but it is not lacking in community spirit and that is in no small part thanks to Vikki Lindsay. She currently volunteers for Haywood Village Residents Association, the area’s leisure enterprise and its WI. Vikki has helped to run successful events – including the community games which saw more than 400 people from the community come together. A friendly community can never be underestimated, and Vikki’s dedication to include everyone has benefitted hundreds of people in Haywood Village. Unfortunately, Vikki was unable to make it to today’s ceremony but our judges would like to thank her for her hard work.
We pride our town in being made up of people from all walks of life, and Weston’s Multicultural Friendship Association helps to ensure people from all around the world feel welcomed into our town. The organisation is chaired by Triliria Newbury, and our judges were inundated with nominations for her to receive a Community Champions award. She was described as ‘kind’, ‘caring’, and ‘an absolute star’ – in no small part due to her work supporting those who move to the area from other countries and promoting their integration into our community. Congratulations, on your award.
Marcus is in his 80s, but is Weston born and bred. He has spent his life making the town a better place and so far – alongside his son Steven – has raised more than £6,500 for Weston Hospicecare. Marcus was nominated by Sally Davis, from the hospicecare, who wanted to thank him for his hard work. Marcus’ wife, Jeanette, was cared for by the hospice and sadly died three years ago. Since then Marcus has worked tirelessly to host fundraising parties, skittles nights, car boot sales and he will soon be taking part in a Memory Marathon where Steve will push Marcus in his wheelchair around Weston for the length of a marathon – we wish them both good luck.
Sue Collard is a regular in the pages of the Mercury, having worked alongside her husband Andy and dozens of friends and family members to raise more than £300,000 for the Bone Cancer Research Trust. Sue and Andy’s daughter Mary passed away from the disease, but they have since inspired hundreds of people with their fundraising efforts. Multiple people nominated Sue for an award, describing her as ‘an inspiration with a sunny and positive outlook on life’.
The hard work of our next Community Champion award-winner has seen children provided with a new play area and a football pitch, a nature garden created and a flourishing book club set up. Bridie Collier was a founding member of the Shrubbery Neighbourhood Watch, which has now evolved into the Shrubbery Neighbourhood Group. She has worked to establish good relationships with North Somerset Council and make the area into a friendly place with a real community feel. She has also worked to cut crime in the area, working with police teams which attend the group’s meetings to combat drug-dealing, and monitored anti-social dog-walkers. Unfortunately, Bridie was unable to make it here today to collect her award, but we are lucky to have Helen and Harry Anderson of the Shrubbery Neighbourhood Group here to collect it on her behalf.