Memory Cafe stalwart Angela named Sidmouth's Citizen of the Year

Presentation of Sidmouth Rotary Club's Citizen of the Year

Left to right, Sidmouth Rotary Club President, Alan Clarke; Sidmouth Citizen of the Year 2021, Angela Thompson; Stephen Thompson; Chair of Sidmouth Town Council, Cllr Ian Barlow; future 22/23 year club president, Bob Underhill - Credit: Sidmouth Rotary Club

The co-ordinator of the Sid Valley Memory Café has been named Sidmouth’s Citizen of the Year 2021 by the town’s Rotary Club. 

On Wednesday, May 11, the club hosted a lunchtime award ceremony at the Victoria Hotel, where Angela Thompson was recognised for her many years of dedication in organising the Memory Café’s weekly meetings at Twyford House. These provide an informal, social venue for anyone suffering any kind of memory loss, along with their families and friends. 

Sidmouth Rotary Club president, Alan Clarke, invited the town council’s chairman Cllr Ian Barlow to present the Citizen of the Year Certificate, and Mr Clarke presented her with an engraved Dartington vase. Angela’s name will also be entered on the Board of Honour at the Town Council offices. 

Citizen of the Year is organised at the end of each year by Sidmouth Rotary Club and promoted through the Herald. Townspeople are invited to nominate candidates who have made a real difference to town life in the preceding year; they can be charity workers or people who act on their own initiative to benefit the local community.  

Angela took on the role of Memory Café coordinator just a few years after the Café was started in 2010. As well as organising the weekly meetings she set up a walking group and arranged additional support when members were not well.  

When the pandemic prevented weekly meetings, Angela organised a rota to keep in touch with members and to arrange help with shopping. She also introduced regular Zoom calls and with the help of family and friends, organised a virtual Christmas party. She was always available by telephone when help was needed, ensuring that families were never left without someone to call.  

On receiving the award Angela said: “This is a great honour, and really the award could be for any of the people who have also worked so hard to ensure the Memory Café has kept going for so long.  

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“I and all the volunteers have striven to make the Memory Café a safe place to meet, to talk, to let off steam and drink loads of tea, and to receive the certificate is a great recognition for all the volunteers.”