Singing fundraiser Wally is Sidmouth Citizen of the Year
- Credit: Archant
SIDMOUTH has made a song and dance about a fundraising entertainer with a heart of gold – by naming him as its Citizen of the Year.
Wally Cotgrave, who has used his talents to net thousands of pounds for numerous charities, became the 28th recipient of the honour on Wednesday.
The 73-year-old, of Winslade Road, thanked generous residents and likened his experiences in the town to ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’.
He added: “Sidmouth is peppered with giants. There are some really special people here and it has been a pleasure and gift to live here.”
Wally described receiving the Rotary Club of Sidmouth award as ‘a shaker’ and paid tribute to his wife, Maureen, and the other half of his popular busking act - Celia Monck.
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Wally is well known for performing around the town with friend Celia, of Milford Road, after she suggested the idea to him.
Their efforts, and charity boxes placed around East Devon shops by Wally, have raised more than £17,000 for Help for Heroes.
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The duo set out to bag £1,000 when they started in 2010.
Wally added that Sidmouth must be in the top 10 places in the country for fundraising.
He praised the tireless support of wife Maureen and lovingly described her as the ‘oldest roadie in Sidmouth’.
“This has been a very special day in both of our lives,” added Wally.
Citizen of the Year organiser, Arthur Passey, said Wally was ‘lost for words’ when he delivered the good news to him.
Arthur told of how Londoner Wally and his family came to Sidmouth 25 years ago when, held up by traffic jams, he landed in the town thinking it was Budleigh Salterton and fell in love with it.
Arthur said Wally was chosen to receive the accolade for his ‘unstinting’ charity work and involvement with various organisations, appearing in charity concerts and musical shows.
Wally’s next role is in the Exeter Musical Society’s production of Guys and Dolls at the Northcott Theatre from April 29 to May 4.