Steam Museum played host to the naming and presentation ceremony for this year’s Pride of Swindon awards on 17 March, giving the town the chance to celebrate its unsung heroes.
In February community and business representatives from across the town judged the nominations. The awards are supported by the Mayor of Swindon and this year Excalibur and Positive Media Group became the event’s main sponsors, joining Swindon Advertiser, Intel, Nationwide, Zurich and McDonalds.
Nominations were made for an individual or team and each shortlisted nominee was presented with a certificate. A select group were chosen to receive the special commemorative Brunel badge. They will also have their names honoured on a plaque at Swindon Central Library.
Among the winners were Wiltshire Fire and Rescue service chaplain John Maxwell, Old Town Festival organiser Josie Williams and the late Swindon councillor and campaigner Frank Richard.
Having spent 14 years with the Fire Service, John Maxwell regularly makes two trips a year to The Gambia, to coach school and community based football teams. He was nominated for his ‘selfless voluntary community commitment’ at home and abroad.
Josie Williams works as a Community Arts Development Officer at Commonweal School and is a leading organiser of the Little Big Festival held in Town Gardens. She also chairs the Old Town Festival, ‘working tirelessly’ to promote arts activities.
The organisers of Swindon Mela received a team award to recognise 14 years of putting on the South Asian festival of culture which ‘provides an opportunity for local residents to come together’, celebrating the diversity and strength of community in Swindon.
A posthumous award went to ward councillor and campaigner Frank Richards, who passed away in November 2015 aged 90. Mr Richards oversaw planning and construction of a community centre in the Lawns area of Swindon during the 1980s, having campaigned tirelessly for it.
The full list of winners:
Individuals: Marie West, Ailsa Palmer, Gina Musty, Phoebe Maddison, Ricardo Defazio, Ken Stronach, Josie Williams, Michelle Howard, Penni Sevious, Sue Lee, Jo & John McCue, Michael Blunsden, Helen Steward, John Maxwell, Frank Richards (Posthumous)
Team Winners: BIOS mobile youth club, Swindon Phoenix Rotary Club, Swindon Downs Syndrome Group, Swindon Mela, Swindon Big Breakfast, Youth Offending Team volunteers
During the afternoon Zurich Community Trust donated £1,000 to three charities: Swindon Downs Syndrome Group, JDRF and Swindon 10 to 10 Project
Congratulations from Swindon Link to all of the Pride of Swindon nominees and award winners. The town is indeed proud of you and this recognition is much deserved.