Wiltshire Publications

Who will be this year’s Person and Group of the year?

Story posted on

NOMINATIONS are in for this year’s White Horse News’ Person and Group of the Year awards,  looking to celebrate the tremendous work that goes on in the town. 

This year, as well as the Person of the Year award – recognising a resident who has made a real contribution to the community in 2019 – an award will be made for the first time to a local group which has also made a real difference to the town.

“It’s been an exciting year for Westbury and many individuals and groups have worked hard to improve the town, raise money for charity or helped other people, and these awards are a way to celebrate all the great work that goes on to improve our community,” said White Horse News editor, Ian Drew. “With so many people doing great things, there are some fantastic nominations and all of them deserve recognition for the excellent work they do.”

Residents in the town have sent in their nominations and the shortlist for Person of the Year is: Chris Curtis for her dedication to the Westbury Girlguides; Joan Eggleton for her 21 years volunteering at the Wiltshire Air Ambulance charity shop; Lilly Goodall for her fundraising for The Little Princess Trust; Angela Graham-Leigh, for her voluntary work for the Westbury Leigh Community Hall and the publishing and distribution of the village’s newsletter; Bex Jones for founding online social group ‘Buddy Me’, Nick Jones for his continuous fundraising in the name of his own bereavement charity; Emma Osmond for her work on setting up a pre-school in Bratton following the shock closure of the village pre-school last year; and Gareth Vaughan, chairman of Westbury Rugby Club, putting over 25 years of volunteering into the growth of the club. 

The group of the year nominations are: Buddy Me for being an online forum for those struggling to make friends; Crosspoint, a Westbury charity that gives support and advice to those less fortunate; The Horse and Groom for their charity fundraising across the year; POPCAN for their work in creating a better community for the residents of Oldfield Park, Westbury Ladies Rugby Club for a successful league-winning season and the work they put into making the club inclusive for all;  and Westbury Lions for their community fundraising. 

Person of the Year

Joan Eggleton: 

Joan has been a volunteer at the Wiltshire Air Ambulance shop on Maristow Street for 21 years since it opened in 1998. She also celebrated her 90th birthday last year. She volunteers four hours a week. 

As well as volunteering, Joan is also a member of The Thursday Club in Westbury. Even when working full-time, Joan always enjoyed volunteering, often taken disabled people away on holidays. 

Joan’s nomination said, “Joan is well known in the Westbury area.  She was born and bred in Westbury, leaving school at the age of 14 years and working in the local area.  Joan is now in her 90s and is still working for the community in the Air Ambulance Charity Shop where she has been for the past 20 years.  An example to us all.”

Chris Curtis:

Chris Curtis has been involved with Westbury GirlGuiding since 2004. She has enabled girls to have memorable opportunities including overseas day trips. She also carries out community work such as carol singing at local nursing homes and charity bag packing sessions.

Chris’ nomination said, “She always goes over and above for the girls and gives a huge amount of her time and support. She regularly sacrifices her own holiday time to run events and do planning. She is most deserving of this award as I’m sure you will agree.”

Lilly Goodall: 

Lilly is a nine-year old at Westbury Leigh Primary School who last year raised over £750 for the Little Princess Trust  by having 14-inches of her hair cut off. It was her idea to go ahead with the challenge and now has influenced others to do the same. She also joined her school in a climate change protest through the town and wrote letters to the mayor asking for the town to fight climate change. 

Lilly’s nomination said, “With her hair she has inspired a lots of adults to donate or look into donating their hair going forward. She is the happiest little girl, she was determined to make another child happy as she couldn’t imagine being as unhappy as them. Lilly is a star and she shines a positive light on Westbury”

Angela Graham-Leigh: Angela moved to Westbury in 2001 and soon threw herself into the heart of the local community. She is a keen volunteer for Westbury Leigh Community Project ltd, the charity that runs the community hall, as well as becoming the booking officer. She has organised many events and runs the monthly market. 

Since 2007, she has also produced more than 50 editions of the Westbury Leigh Community Newsletter, delivering it free to around 300 households. 

Following her retirement in 2019 she now also volunteers at Citizen’s Advice in Trowbridge, Mompesson House in Salisbury as a National Trust guide, and is a part-time volunteer at Westbury Library. 

Angela’s nomination said, “I feel that Angela deserves recognition for the great amount of unpaid voluntary work she does for the community.”

Emma Osmond:

Emma is the manager of Cygnets Pre-school in Westbury Leigh and over the last four months has set up a new pre-school provision in Bratton following the shock closure of the village pre-school last September, leaving parents without care provisions. 

She was able to liaise with Bratton Parish Council to secure the Pavilion as the base and then crowdsourced funding and successfully applied to local councils for grants in order to refurbish the area, in the hope to open the new pre-school in February this year.

Emma’s nomination said, “Emma’s passion for the project to provide this vital facility to the village has shown just how determination can make things happen. She really is an inspiration; proven by the support she has received from parents in the village. She is one incredible lady who has given so much to the village.”

Bex Jones: 

Bex is the founder of ‘Buddy Me’ a Facebook group with over 1,200 members from the town and beyond that helps with social isolation and loneliness.

She has given a platform for those who find it hard to make friends to find like-minded people, or those who are new to the area get to know the community, or to arrange events, coffee mornings and also a way to fundraise for a variety of charities. 

Bex’s nomination said, “Bex has collectively changed the lives of so many people – for the better. From those who suffer mental illness to those who simply lack self confidence. The doors have been opened and those who are quiet in their ways now have the ability to acknowledge this is all due to one person’s kindness.”

Nick Jones:

Nick Jones is a fundraiser who has dedicated his time and effort to create a foundation to help support children who are dealing with bereavement called, ‘The Nick Jones Foundation for Bereaved Children’. Last year, the charity was able to help their first family in the local area through their new application process.

To raise money he has organised  charity events with celebrity guests including Peter Andre and Martin Kemp. He also, alongside a team of friends, climbed to base camp of Mt Everest, all whilst suffering with a terminal illness. 

Nick’s nomination said, “Despite Nick being terminally ill he is still fundraising and doing all he can for his foundation. Whether that be attending Westbury events such as the Christmas Lights switch-on, outside supermarkets, the Christmas tree festival or events he organises himself, he really does try his hardest to make a difference to the children who need support with bereavement.”

Gareth ‘Foggy’ Vaughan: Gareth is the current chairman of Westbury Rugby Club and coaches the men’s team – who are currently unbeaten this season and winners of the Dorset and Wilts plate trophy. He started playing for the team in 1994 and since then, has dedicated over 25 years to its growth, completely voluntarily. 

As chairman, he is responsible for the day-to-day running of the club. He also dedicates his time to ensure the club is up to standard and often takes on maintenance jobs. The club is completely run by volunteers under Gareth’s supervision and is completely self-funded. 

Gareth’s nomination said, “A past player and present coach. Under his coaching, Westbury are currently unbeaten in the league. I am just coming to grips with all that he does for the club because the list is never ending. His dedication to the men, ladies and all the supporters is second to none.”

Group of the Year

Buddy Me: 

Buddy Me is a diverse community of individuals who have joined together on Facebook and are  taking loneliness and isolation into their own hands. 

By organising events ranging from a coffee at a local cafe, to a bowling trip and a holiday abroad, Buddys are using their online forum to create lasting friendships. 

Since the group’s inception in March, the group has grown to over 1,200 members ranging from 18 – 80 years old. They pride themselves on  stories of fighting adversity with some members even saying it has ‘saved their life’. They are proud to be a part of the #makesomeonewelcome campaign. 

Buddy Me hopes to represent the very best of social media and how a mobilized community can support each other in the best way.

Its nomination said, “Buddy Me is a site that is open to all with the goal of creating friendships and reducing social isolation.”

Crosspoint: 

Crosspoint is a Westbury-based charity, founded on Christian values, providing a service to enable and support those in the community who have issues relating to well being, isolation, poverty or distress irrespective of age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, race or religion. They also act as Westbury Food Bank, housing the Westbury Community Fridge, provide debt counselling, CV preparation and carry out personal counselling sessions. 

They also have computers and free phone lines available for clients to use. The charity is run by volunteers.

Their nomination said, “I nominate Crosspoint as it is consistently helpful to numerous numbers of people for a huge variety of reasons, anything from homelessness, loss of income, emergency food need, friendly atmosphere, cup of tea and a chat, use of computers and form filling, contributing to making Westbury and its surrounding area a better place in which to live and work.

Horse and Groom: 

Bob and Carol Musker have been landlords of the Horse and Groom since 2013. They, alongside their staff and a team of event organisers, have raised over £15,000 for charities across the years including Guide Dogs for the Blind and Westbury Lions.  

This meant that they have been able to fund the training for two guide dogs, ‘Alfie’ now guiding a blind person  and the other ‘Bob’ undergoing his training.

The team also hosted a family fun day, organised by Westbury Rotary and Inner Wheel in the summer of 2019, to raise money for guide dogs and partake in an annual charity festive boxing day walk. 

They hold an Oktoberfest each year that raises money for local groups such as schools, clubs and charities and hold fundraising quizzes throughout the year. 

Their nomination said, “I would like to nominate Bob and Carol Musker and regulars of The Horse And Groom public house, they have raised an incredible amount of money for charity this year.”

POPCAN – Penleigh and Oldfield Park Community Action Network: 

POPCAN was established by residents living in the area who wanted to improve their neighbourhood. 

It has been running for just over two years and in that time has carried out local litter picks, organised bi-monthly walkabouts, campaigned for the removal of the dangerous pavilion in the park, fundraised for the resurfacing of the wobbly footpath, as well as fundraised and organised two pop-up fun days in the park, as well as much more. 

The group also work with local schools and organisations to give opportunities to young people and to work on various community projects such as the Community Pledge Tree and 100 years of social housing project.

Their nomination said, “POPCAN work tirelessly to work towards improving their neighbourhood for, not just the residents, but improving the park for all in the local area. They also provide social opportunities for local people to get together.”

Westbury Ladies: 

Westbury Ladies is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year and was started and is run by a hard working team of volunteers. 

Over the last few years they have been a finalist in the RFU Grassroot Rugby Awards, won Wiltshire Sports Awards, recruited 10’s of new players, helped to start and run the Westbury RFC 10s tournament, won the league twice  before moving up to a higher league as well as advocating for mental health awareness through playing women’s rugby. Westbury RFC is entirely self-funded, they receive no support from the RFU and therefore have to source their own sponsorship and are grateful to be supported by local businesses. 

Their nomination said, “The ladies team shouldn’t just be judged on their rugby success but also the sense of community and family they have created. They are welcoming to all and some people just use its free training sessions to keep themselves fit, have fun and make new friends. The ladies support each other and their success is really down to the girls choosing to work for each other. 2019 was a big year for the ladies and their rugby success is really helping to put Westbury on the map.”

Westbury Lions: 

Westbury Lions are known in the town for their year-on-year fundraising for the community. They organise annual events such as the Donkey Derby, Lions 10k run and the vintage vehicle festival, all to raise money to give to local groups and charities. 

Each Christmas, the volunteers follow Father Christmas around the streets in the town, visiting the children of Westbury whilst raising money and awareness. 

The club has proudly served the Westbury area since 1973 and is completely run by volunteers. Then have also introduced a young contingent of the group ‘Westbury Leos’ in order for young people to also get involved with community work. 

Their nomination said, “I would like to nominate the Westbury Lions for all the hard work they do on behalf of the Westbury community.  All of their volunteer members go above and beyond in everything they do.”

 

The winners will be selected by a panel of judges including Ian Drew, editor of White Horse News, mayor of Westbury Mike Sutton and last year’s winner, Jim Shaw. The winners will receive the White Horse News Person/Group Of The Year trophies. 

 

Keep an eye out for our next issue on 29th / 30th January where the winners will be announced!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *