Vision Group awards recognise 'champions' who helped Sidmouth pull through lockdown

Presentation of award by Peter Murphy to Frances Newth

Peter Murphy, chair of the Vision Group for Sidmouth, presents the Chairman's Award to Frances Newth, president of Sidmouth Voluntary Services. - Credit: Tony Spooner ARPS, President of Sidmouth Photographic Society

People who made an outstanding contribution to Sidmouth’s community during the Covid pandemic have been recognised and rewarded by the Vision Group for Sidmouth. 

Its Sustainable Sidmouth Champions Awards were presented at a ceremony at Kennaway House on Friday, October 22. 

The awards recognised those who helped Sidmouth ‘pull through lockdown’ and were in three categories: community, resilience and sustainability. 

Winner in the Community class was Di Fuller, chair of the trustees of Sid Valley HELP; the Resilience award-winner was Kyle Baker Photography, and the Sustainability title went to Sidmouth Plastic Warriors. 

The runners-up were Woolbrook News for Community, Sidmouth Primary School for Resilience and the Fillfull shop for Sustainability. 

The group made some extra awards because of the many excellent nominations it had received. There was a ‘chairman’s award’ for Sidmouth Voluntary Services, a ‘highly commended’ for Sid Valley Practice and a ‘special mention’ for nine-year-old Thomas Franklin, who organised a litter-picking initiative with the 1st Sid Vale Scout Group.  

The chair of the Vision Group for Sidmouth, Peter Murphy, said: “The response to the Champions Awards far exceeded our expectations, and showed the enthusiasm throughout our community for recognising the major role volunteers played during lockdown, to keep the wheels turning on so many new fronts. 

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“Taken across the three awards categories, some key themes emerged which seemed to summarise the ways in which people responded to the new challenges of our times. 

“Retailers adopted and provided online ordering, with safe click-and-collect; they boosted stocks and services, and organised outside eating and takeaway services. 

“Across the whole health and welfare, education and wellbeing areas, all rose to the challenge of learning how to use video technologies to make the transition to online classes, in order to maintain group entertainment and cohesion. 

“On the other hand, society and special interest groups continued to organise social meetups outdoors. 

“And when it came to sustainability, the nominees organised groups of volunteers to clean our streets and beaches, providing collection points for soft plastics; and many adopted repackaging in recyclable materials and encouraged the reuse of existing packaging through wide-ranging refill services.” 

The panel of judges comprised Cllr Chris Lockyear, the vice-chair of Sidmouth Town Council, Professor Brian Golding, and Chris Woodruff, Manager of the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. 

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