The pride and joy of the community in Gainsborough and the rest of West Lindsey have been feted at an annual awards ceremony.
For the sixth year running, West Lindsey District Council’s community awards raised the profile of work carried out by volunteers, groups and local heroes, all of whom ask for nothing in return.
Their hard work and dedication resulted in nominations for the awards from the very people whose lives they have enriched and supported. And the upshot was a presentation ceremony, overseen by the chairman of the council, Coun Pat Mewis.
She said: “These awards are a way to honour the outstanding members of our district’s communities and to recognise the numerous people who give up much of their free time to make West Lindsey a better place.”
The chairman’s special award was won by Ellie Hallam, who has worked tirelessly for many years to serve the community of Scotter.
Ellie chairs the local community centre, volunteers weekly at Belton House at Grantham, has edited Scotter’s parish magazine, the ‘Eau Valley Advertiser’, for more than 15 years and has also started a lunch club for over-55s.
Paying tribute, Coun Mewis said: “Ellie’s generous and selfless personality serves as an example to all. She is a pillar of the local community and someone that is a pleasure to know and live alongside.”
A similar champion of the community in Caistor landed the citizen of the year award. Cliff Rust was chosen for his work on a range of projects that boost the town, such as litter picking and helping older people with DIY.
The young citizen of the year accolade went to 18-year-old Jessica Gibbard, who works as a volunteer front-of-house assistant at the Trinity Arts Centre in Gainsborough.
Presenting the award, Coun Judy Rainsforth said: “Jess is more than willing to go in at short notice and will stay on and do extra shifts if necessary.
“She such a lovely young person and a joy to be around.”
Couns Rainsforth and Mewis were among the five councillors who made up the judging panel. The others were Couns Sheila Bibb, David Cotton and Giles McNeill.
They decided that two of the awards should go to Nettleham. Resident Susan Stainton took the good neighbour accolade for giving her time to cook, clean, shop for those living near her, while Nettleham Festive Market won the community group or club honour.
Of Susan, Coun McNeill said: “She gets so much enjoyment from helping others, and nothing seems to stop her!”
The festive market was chosen for bringing Nettleham’s community together. It helps support and promote local businesses, while raising money for charities.
Another award involved the Trinity Arts Centre, which is a regular venue for the Stepping Stone Theatre for Mental Health, winners of the contribution to wellbeing prize.
Stepping Stone, run by Bill and Kate Rogers, has revived the confidence of people with mental health issues to such an extent that many have found full-time employment.
Coun Bibb said: “The group spreads a positive message that helps to stamp out the stigma surrounding mental health.”
THE full list of winners and runners-up:
WINNERS -- Community Group or Club, Nettleham Festive Market; Contribution to Sports, Market Rasen and Louth Rugby Club; Contribution to Wellbeing, Stepping Stone Mental Health Theatre; Contribution to Arts and Culture, Market Rasen Station Community Project; Good Neighbour, Susan Stainton; Young Citizen of the Year, Jessica Gibbard; Citizen of the Year, Cliff Rust; Chairman’s Special Award, Ellie Hallam.
RUNNERS-UP -- Community Group of Club, Stonecliff Park Social Club Committee and Gainsborough St John Ambulance; Contribution to Sports, Mark Smith and Nigel Stevenson, from Gainsborough Dolphins Swimming Club (pictured inset, left); Contribution to Wellbeing, Debbie Stevens; Citizen of the Year, Susan Mumby and Hugh Gilfedder.