Great and good of Thatcham rewarded with Civic Awards
Thatcham mayor Mike Cole, who presented the awards at his civic reception, said “The civic awards are given to people who have, over many years, served the town and given their time and commitment for the greater good of the town.”
First in line for an award was Stephen Walker, who owned and ran The Family Bookshop in the town centre for the past 15-and-a-half-years.
He was chosen for the support he has given community events and activities over the years, including running the box offices for Kennet Amateur Theatrical Society performances and the annual Thatcham Festival of Arts and Leisure events.
Describing him as a “jewel in Thatcham”, Mr Cole said: “He is just a thoroughly good egg.”
Speaking at the event, Mr Walker – who closed the bookshop earlier this year because of a drop off in trade and because the unit he rented was being redeveloped – said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time but times have changed and there comes a time to move on.
“The high street is changing all the time. You might not get what you want, but I hope you like what turns up. I hope the vitality will come back to the town.”
The Rev Marion Fontaine, of St Mary’s Church, was the second recipient of the civic award.
With 42 years community work under her belt, she is one of the best-known people in the town.
She was a community midwife in Thatcham for for 23 years, starting in 1972, before she changed uniforms and joined the church, first as a warden, then a lay minister and now a priest.
Mr Cole called her “one of the pillars of Thatcham”.
She said: “When I changed my uniform, my work in the community did not stop, it just took on a different guise.
“It has been a great pleasure being part of the town for more than 40 years.”
The former chairman of the Thatcham Chamber of Commerce, Colin Heslop, was the final 2014 civic award winner.
Mr Heslop is also a trustee of the Old Bluecoat School, founder of the Thatcham & District Rotary Club who was also the instigator of the fireworks display that the club organised for almost 30 years, a governor at Kennet School and helped organise the first Christmas lights display in Thatcham.
Mr Heslop said that the award was a great privilege, adding: “I have enjoyed my time in Thatcham. Thatcham is a great place to be.”