Citizen of the Year

NEW Citizen of the Year for Sidmouth is David Baldock, who was awarded the prestigious 2007 title by the town s Rotarians on Wednesday.

NEW Citizen of the Year for Sidmouth is David Baldock, who was awarded the prestigious 2007 title by the town's Rotarians on Wednesday.

There were 119 votes for 21 people nominated for the 2007 title, organised by the Rotary Club of Sidmouth in conjunction with the Sidmouth Herald.

Past president Arthur Passey, who organised the event, could not attend the announcement as he is unwell, so former president Don Hale stood in for him.

Introducing guests Councillor Tom Cox, chairman of Sidmouth Town Council, and Peter Le Riche, acting editor of the Herald, Mr Hale said: "The club is greatly indebted to the town council for its support and in particular for allowing the award board to be exhibited at Woolcombe House.

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"The tremendous assistance by the Sidmouth Herald in promoting this award is absolutely crucial to its success."

Mr Hale read out comments sent in about Mr Baldock, 71, who, with his wife Mavis, 68, is a familiar figure in the town; they dress to play the street organ to raise money for charity.

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They included: "This man has worked tirelessly, giving his time and energy supporting various local and national charities." ... "He's raised thousands of pounds for charity ... "An asset to Sidmouth" .... "A quiet, kind and generous individual."

In the winter, he prepares and gives a range of talks to various clubs to help them raise money for charity.

Rotary President Ray Davies awarded Mr Baldock a glass bowl and certificate and said: "Many honoured people have gone before you but you do give it the grace for this year."

Mr Baldock, who lives in Sidford, thanked Rotarians, saying: "It is a great honour and delight to be awarded this honour and I would like to thank you, the Sidmouth Herald and all the people who nominated me."

He also thanked his wife for her help and said: "We are a team really, so we will treat it as a team award. It is a lovely award and great to get it for something you enjoy doing."

Of the other 20 nominees, he added: "It's great that in Sidmouth there are so many people doing things, very quietly. They deserve our thanks too, particularly those visiting the sick and elderly."

Mr Cox said: "We are blessed with so many people who do these voluntary things for people in difficult situations.

"We should make better use of our Citizens of the Year and glory in them while they are there. David is the people's player of the year."

Mr Le Riche said: "The whole competition should say something to people about our nominees.

"If you stand up and go above and beyond the call of duty, you will be recognised and rewarded - and I think that's what a strong society is all about - people working together for the greater good."

l See the Herald next week for more about the Citizen of the Year.

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