Unsung Sidmouth hero Ian ‘honoured’ at jubilee gesture

Granddad-of-eight to attend garden party for ‘tireless’ community work

A GRANDDAD-of-eight says he’ll be “honoured” to attend a Diamond Jubilee garden party after civic leaders hailed him as one of Sidmouth’s unsung heroes.

Ian Skinner was singled out by town councillors for the ‘tireless’ community work he has carried out in the 35 years he’s lived in the parish.

The 74-year-old and his wife Ann, of Sidford, will attend a royal event in Exeter in May at the invitation of Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Devon.

Ian drives a charity minibus, campaigns over dementia issues and to help carers, and has been a member of the Lions Club of Sidmouth for 26 years.

“I do what I think anybody should do,” he said. “I hadn’t realised I was the only person the council had put forward - I’m extremely honoured.”

HM Lord-Lieutenant of Devon extended a garden party invitation for events to be held before and after a Diamond Jubilee service in Exeter Cathedral on May 27.

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The town council was asked to nominate an “unsung hero” to attend from within the community who has shown traits of selfless service during the Queen’s 60-year reign.

Council chairman, Stuart Hughes, put Ian’s name forward and said: “He’s worked tirelessly for Sidmouth without any recognition.

“If anybody in the community fits the bill as an unsung hero, it’s him. I hope he enjoys the event.”

Ian is currently chairman of the Sidmouth Locality Health and Care Team that highlighted a lack of local facilities for carers and the people they care for in Sidmouth - particularly those suffering from dementia. He is also a member of a working group set up last July following the closure of a mental health facility at Stowford Lodge.

Ian drives a Sidmouth Voluntary Services minibus that takes elderly people to and from lunch at Twyford House once a week. He is currently the Lions Club’s secretary, has held the group’s presidency five times, and has been involved in fundraising events including the annual Duck Derby and the Father Christmas float.

Ian has been the booking secretary and hall manager at St Francis Church Hall and is a committee member of the Sid Vale Athletic Meeting.

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