VOLUNTEERS and community stalwarts have been recognised for their efforts for what Knutsford’s mayor described as ‘the greatest town in the country’.

Cllr Peter Coan was speaking at the presentation of the annual Town Awards.

He said: “Since its inception in 2013 the Town Awards have given public recognition to those who make the Knutsford community what it is.

“They are backbone to our great town – the countless hours of volunteer effort, those going above and beyond what can be expected of them all to make Knutsford what I believe is the greatest town in the country.

“I would like to thank the Knutsford-based Forum of Private Business for sponsoring the awards.

“The forum has been our sponsor and partner on the awards since the beginning, and I am pleased to have its managing director Ian Cass here to help me present the awards.

“The judging panel is always blown away by the volume and variety of nominations received, and it is always humbling to read about the fantastic work that goes on in our community.

“As your Mayor it makes me so proud knowing that so many give so much to our town.”

The Youth Award goes to an individual or a group of individuals aged 21 and under who have started early in a life of service to their communities, and went to Lenny Turner, Jake Phillips and Eleanor Woods for organising an annual charity concert which has raised thousands of pounds for charities.

The Business Award aims to recognise the many local businesses which give something back to the community, and went to Oliver Valves.

Cllr Coan said Knutsford was blessed to have a rich tapestry of community organisations which provided valued services, entertainment or support those most in need.

He said: “The Community Award recognises the importance of these groups, and we hope by being nominated and by receiving an award the volunteers who make these groups what they are will know how grateful the town is.”

The award went to The Canute Lunch Club, which provides a weekly lunch for our elder population.

Cllr Coan said: “I wanted to share one of the nominations which this year’s winner received.

“ ‘The club helped my mother-in-law become part of the community and gave her the opportunity to make new friends. It provided her with transport and gave me as her carer much-needed respite’.

“What a fantastic testimonial to the incredible value this group adds to our community.”

Cllr Coan added: “Behind all our community groups there are scores of people giving up their time.

“These individuals are the life-blood of the community, and it is no exaggeration to say without them this town would not be what it is.

“The Civic Awards look to recognise these people, to ensure the whole town knows how hard they work for them and to ensure they know the town appreciates what they do.

“When reviewing the nominations for this award the panel hit a bit of a quandary.

“These awards recognise the volunteers in our community, but we were presented with a nomination for someone who is paid for what they do but goes above and beyond.

“So before I move to the Civic Awards, I am able to announce a new award category.

“The winners of this award will be those who may be employed but don’t just do the day job. The winners of this award will be those who go the extra mile to help or benefit those in the community.

“I am delighted to present the inaugural Extra Mile award to Knutsford Town Council’s own Bob Garner.

“Bob has only been in post of just over 12 months but has already made the role of Town Ranger his own.

“He’s engendered true community though his entertaining use of twitter and we know he takes huge pride in everything he does.”

The first Civic Award went to Beryl Jenyons for her voluntary work at the Welcome Café.

Cllr Coan said: “The Welcome Café is a jewel in our community. Our first award goes to a lady who volunteers there five days a week, helping in the kitchen and having helped set up many of the groups based there, such as Knit and Knatter.”

The second award went to Rob Walley, Group Scout Leader for 2nd Knutsford Scouts, who was nominated for his transformational leadership.

Cllr Coan said: “Described in nominations as a ‘shining light’ and credited with providing solid leadership, which has seen membership increase, fundraising increase and more parents coming forward to volunteer, it was clear this gentleman’s contributions were hugely appreciated by all those who know what he does.”

The final award went to Ronnie and John Mills, who have volunteered with Knutsford Stroke Club for 25 years in a number of roles.

Cllr Coan said: “When I read the reasons given in the nominations of our final recipient, it will be obvious how easy the panel found this decision.

“This couple have been foster parents, have volunteered with the Knutsford and District Stroke Club for almost 30 years, whose leadership was described as ‘inspirational’.

“On top of this they regularly help with the Friendship Café for dementia sufferers and the Methodist Church’s Senior Citizens Lunch Club.”

The discretionary special award went to the 2056 Knutsford Squadron Air Training Corps.

Cllr Coan said: “It has long been an aspiration of the town to have a marching band to lead our Remembrance Sunday and Civic Sunday parades.

“The Knutsford Air Cadets pulled out all the stops to train up and ensure that in the centennial year of the end of the First World War, Knutsford’s parade was led by its own community marching band.

“The Cadets are a credit to the town, and I have been delighted to have one of them as my Mayoral Cadet.

“So for the great opportunities they provide the youth of our town and the exceptional effort they made to create a marching band I am pleased to present a special award to the 2056 Knutsford Squadron Air Training Corps.”

Pictures by WA16PR