Wiltshire Publications

Hospital campaigner is Westbury’s Person of the Year 2015

This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 26th, 2016 at 11:53 am.
Erica Watson receives the award from White Horse News editor, Ian Drew

Erica Watson receives the award from White Horse News editor, Ian Drew

WESTBURY’S Person of the Year 2015 award has been won by hospital campaigner Erica Watson.

Hundreds of votes were received in the competition, which was organised by White Horse News to find the person who had the biggest impact on life in Westbury during 2015. Erica – chair of both Westbury and District League of Friends and Sensible Thinking on Patients (STOP) which is fighting the sell off of Westbury hospital – finished the polls ahead of five other candidates.

Erica was nominated for her instrumental role in a  year-long campaign to try and stop Westbury’s former hospital being replaced by a housing estate. As chair of STOP she has given hundreds of residents a voice with which to fight for improved healthcare in Westbury.

Erica is also the chair of the League of Friends, which continues to raise much-needed funds for the White Horse Health Centre, where she occasionally works as a practice nurse.

Erica said, “This is absolutely amazing! I’m very grateful for everyone who voted for me. When I was nominated I never expected to actually win the award, especially when I saw who else had made the shortlist.

“They all do such great things for the town and so many other people do, too. It really brightened my day to find out people had voted for me; I’m thrilled.”

Ian Drew, editor of White Horse News, presented the winner’s shield to Erica last week. Ian said, “Congratulations to Erica on winning this year’s Person of the Year award. She is a deserving winner and has played an important and at times demanding role in giving Westbury people a voice this year, as well as continuing to raise money for the health centre with the League of Friends.

“All this year’s nominees have, and continue to, work incredibly hard for people in the town and are the kind of people who give Westbury such a great sense of community. They can all feel proud to have been involved with the competition.”

Other nominees were Jack Bates, coach of Westbury Ladies’ Rugby Team; Nigel Coward, former president of Westbury Lions Club; Ian Cunningham, town councillor, school governor, and chair of Westbury Music and Arts Festival; David McCance, founder of Imperial Charity, which celebrated its 25th birthday last year; and Bill Prior, organiser of Westbury’s Poppy Appeal for nearly 30 years.