It was a joint victory in Ottery’s Citizen of the Year for 2012 after a dead heat in the voting for the second year in a row.

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Ottery Town Council declared both Hazel Abley and Keith Richardson winners of the prestigious award at Tuesday’s Annual Parish Meeting.

It was not the first issue for this year’s competition, after Anne Knight was denied the prize because she lives outside of the parish boundary.

Mrs Knight came top in the public vote for her work with the pantomime and other projects in Tipton St John, but was ineligible for the award.

But the council felt she should still be recognised, and Mayor Glyn Dobson handed her a special prize, which she said left her ‘overwhelmed’.

Mrs Abley and Mr Richardson were then handed the shield together after the pair came joint second in the public vote.

Cllr Dobson said: “When we had a tie last year, we thought, we don’t need to get a second shield it won’t happen again, and then the following year we get another tie!”

The mayor paid tribute to Mr Richardson’s tireless work with the Ottery skateboard and BMX park, who has done an estimated 550 hours of unpaid work at the site, getting it ready for when the ramps finally arrived earlier this month.

He said the town had been waiting for many years for the skatepark project to be competed, but without Keith’s commitment to the cause it would not have happened.

Mrs Abley was nominated for her work with Otter Vale Art Society, the Heritage Society and with East Devon Cats Protection.

One voter said she is never at home, because she is always out doing things for other people, and is ‘very caring person’.

Cllr Dobson said the competition this year was extremely tough, with more applicants and more votes cast than ever before.

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