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Newbury's community heroes recognised

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Coronavirus pandemic did not stop town acknowledging unsung stars

THE unsung heroes of Newbury have been honoured with Civic Awards, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Although the presentation evening was postponed, the virus has not stopped the council recognising the people who have made an exceptional difference in the community.

There are four awards – the Newbury Town Civic Award, the Newbury Town Young Person’s Civic Award, the Newbury Town Business Civic Award and the Newbury Town Environmental Contribution Award.

Scooping the Civic Award 2020 are Steve and Jan Pye, for their outstanding service to the Newbury Air Cadets.

Mr and Mrs Pye retired from volunteering in January after a combined 46 years of service to the cadets.

When their son became a cadet in 1995, Mr Pye recognised the need for volunteer staff to help run the unit and soon joined as an adult warrant officer.

His knowledge and experience of the armed services stood him in good stead to pass it on to young people

Four years later, Mrs Pye began volunteering, supporting marketing and recruitment to help grow the squadron.

The Pyes attended two nights a week for many years – their service has been exemplary and has had an impact on hundreds of young people from Newbury and surrounding areas.

The winner of this year’s Business Civic Award was Mathew Groves, from Greggs on Northbrook Street.

Over the last three years, Mr Groves has aided Newbury Soup Kitchen, donating food and disposable cups and plates from his store to help support those in need.

He has also shown that he takes the plight of the homeless and vulnerable in the community seriously, often sitting with homeless people in doorways in the mornings for a quick chat and to give them a coffee and something to eat.

Winner of the Young Person’s Civic Award was nine-year-old Jacob Halling, described by his nominator as “an amazing young boy”.

He has been raising money for Muscular Dystrophy UK.

He has a “huge heart” and is passionate about raising money for MD research in support of his mother who suffers from the disease.

Jacob has raised money by doing a four-hour litter-pick around the Greenham area.

Finally, the recipient of the Environmental Contribution Award was Marion Fenn, who has been an example to others, is nature-conscious and wasting as little as possible.

She runs an allotment for schoolchildren, introducing them to the preparation of soil, growing organically and recycling newspaper to make paper pots for sowing seeds.

She has also created nature areas at three schools, impacting on the children’s learning of the importance of the ecosystem.

Ms Fenn has also run a parent and child group, cooking sessions with fresh food and previously ran a weekly gardening club for the elderly.

She has helped hundreds of people learn how important it is to be environmentally aware and to do as much as possible to protect our planet.

Newbury mayor Elizabeth O’Keeffe congratulated all the nominees for their outstanding achievements by letter.

The winners will collect their award in person from the Town Hall at a later date.

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