'Legendary Sidmouth Lion' Ian Skinner is named town's Citizen of the Year

PUBLISHED: 17:30 28 April 2018 | UPDATED: 07:36 30 April 2018

The event's organiser Graeme Bullock, Cllr Ian McKenzie-Edwards, Ann and Ian Skinner, president Steve Gunnell and Sidmouth Herald editor Stefan Gordon.

The event's organiser Graeme Bullock, Cllr Ian McKenzie-Edwards, Ann and Ian Skinner, president Steve Gunnell and Sidmouth Herald editor Stefan Gordon.

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A 'legendary Sidmouth Lion' - whose community and charity exploits are too many to mention - has been named the town's Citizen of the Year.

Ann and Ian Skinner.Ann and Ian Skinner.

Ian Skinner has lived in the Sid Valley for more than 40 years and was told this week that he deserved to win the accolade many times over.

Ian, 80, and wife Ann, were celebrated at a Rotary Club of Sidmouth lunch at the Victoria Hotel on Wednesday.

The great-grandfather-of-three, of Hamilton Close, Sidford, said the accolade was ‘an honour and a privilege’.

A member of the Lions Club of Sidmouth for 32 years, Ian was described as ‘the embodiment’ of the organisation’s motto: “We Serve.”

The event's organiser Graeme Bullock, Cllr Ian McKenzie-Edwards, Ann and Ian Skinner, president Steve Gunnell and Sidmouth Herald editor Stefan Gordon.The event's organiser Graeme Bullock, Cllr Ian McKenzie-Edwards, Ann and Ian Skinner, president Steve Gunnell and Sidmouth Herald editor Stefan Gordon.

His involvement with the Lions spans back to 1986 and he has held the position of president eight times. Ian has played an important role in the annual Duck Derby and his charity efforts are vast. Among them, he has arranged trips to the Manor Pavilion Theatre for people who could not otherwise see shows, and organised an annual lunch for the elderly.

Ian and Ann are congregation members and strongly involved with the community at St Francis Church, Woolbrook. The couple are also joint-editors of the East Devon Talking Newspaper.

In November 2012, Ian was the driving force in the setting up of the Sid Valley Food Bank. He also played a crucial role, some 26 years ago, in the town getting a swimming pool at the Ham.

Ian helps with the Poppy Appeal collection, spent seven years working at Sidmouth Information Centre, volunteered as a minibus driver for Sidmouth Voluntary Services, and started the former Sidmouth Help Link.

Councillor Ian McKenzie-Edwards, chairman of Sidmouth Town Council, said: “He represents the strong sense of community and love of Sidmouth which living here instils in many of us. Ian’s enthusiastic involvement in the life of Sidmouth speaks volumes and I’m proud to be here today to bear witness to this. I can think of no worthier recipient.”

Rotarian Graeme Bullock, who organises the Citizen of the Year competition, described Ian as a ‘legendary Sidmouth Lion’. He hailed the work Ian and Ann have done for the community as ‘extraordinary’.

Rotary club president Steve Gunnell said: “I don’t think there’s ever been a Citizen of the Year so deserving as Ian Skinner. He should have been Citizen of the Year eight times, let alone president of the Lions eight times.”

Ian said: “I thank you sincerely for this award – I will treasure it.”

He thanked Herald readers for voting for him.

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