Milford Haven's unsung heroes had their moment in the spotlight when the mayor’s awards and charity cheques were presented last Saturday.
At his last event as Milford Haven mayor, Councillor Guy Woodham presented ten awards and gave £15,100 in donations to 14 charities.
A huge £2,000 was awarded to PATCH (Pembrokeshire Action to Combat Hardship), while Nova St Non’s Project received £1,000 towards furnishing the ward’s new day room, and Pancreatic Cancer Research was awarded £2,000 in memory of Alfie Allen and Roger Brown.
PATCH co-ordinator Tracy Olin said: “Previously our food bank cost £250 a month, and now, our last food bill was £1,240 – and it’s really needed. I cannot thank the mayor enough for this generous donation."
A further £1,500 donation was presented to Christmas Together, which Cllr Woodham said he intended to continue this year.
Neyland Ladies Choir accompanist Peter Griffiths received an award for outstanding contribution to music in Milford Haven, while the choir received a £500 donation from the Mayor’s Charity Fund.
Greenacres Animal Rescue was awarded £500, and the centre's Mikey Lawlor was presented with an award for outstanding contribution to animal welfare in the community.
Cllr Woodham said: “This individual has quite simply dedicated his life to the support and welfare of abandoned animals. Along with his fantastic colleagues at Greenacres Animal Rescue countless animals have been saved from cruelty and have avoided being destroyed.”
Tesco community champion Debbie Mills, who has “community at the very heart” of what she does, was awarded for her outstanding charity work in Milford Haven.
Cllr Guy Woodham said: “This award is not given for her simply undertaking the role for which she is employed. It is given for the regular contribution that she makes over and above what she is required to do in her role.”
Debbie added: “I am absolutely delighted to receive this recognition from Cllr Guy Woodham, I am fortunate to be able to use Tesco’s size and scale to make a difference to people. I meet such committed volunteers every day, they are an inspiration to me and that is why I volunteer to help in my own time as well, I thoroughly enjoy what I do.”
The Mayor’s award for outstanding contribution to the work undertaken by the Kasambya Project was awarded to David Stowell.
Cllr Woodham said: “The bit that makes his work extra special is that in addition to raising the necessary funds, he has personally financed his trip to Uganda and helped hands-on in building the school in Kasambya.”
The Milford Haven Sea Cadet and Royal Marine Cadet Unit received £500, while mayor’s cadets L/Cpl Nathan Abbott and Trooper Jordan Rawlinson were presented with certificates and badges.
Commanding officer Sgt Mark Flude said: “Any donation is invaluable to us, and to get such a large donation on such a great evening has been an honour. I would like to thank the mayor and all our supporters.”
Milford Haven Twinning Association’s Dorothy Walter picked up a further £500 donation.
Cllr Woodham, who visited the twin town of Uman last October, said: “The esteem with which twinning is held in Uman is quite remarkable as too was the wonderful and friendly welcome that we received. My visit to Uman made me appreciate the opportunities that can be offered, and gained, from twinning.”
Milford Haven Round Table, without which Cllr Woodham said “Milford Haven would be a poorer place”, also received a £500 donation, while the award for outstanding contribution towards facilitating successful cruise ship visits to Milford Haven was awarded to cruise ship co-ordinator Sue Blanchard-Williams.
Cllr Woodham said: “She’s known to most as ‘the cruise ship lady’ or ‘Sue from the Port’. Both are accurate descriptions as Sue is in fact the person who undertakes all the hard work and effort that it takes to get cruise ships to visit Milford Haven, and most importantly of all, get them to return again."
"I have personally seen the enormous amount of effort and positivity that Sue has put in to this role, which in my opinion goes over and above what is required.”
Special Olympics Team GB member James Tyler, who last year won gold at the Russian European Games 200m, received an award for outstanding sporting success, while Milford Haven Music Festival was presented with a cheque for £500.
Unison Dance and the Paul Sartori Foundation also accepted £500 each.
Charity manager Sandra Dade said: “I am completely gobsmacked; I didn’t expect it at all. There are so many fantastic charities out there, and to be pulled out of the bunch is just phenomenal.”
St Katharine’s Stratford Players' Dave and Viv Barrat picked up a £500 donation, while Milford Haven Town Band and the Pill Social Centre received £750 each, with volunteers Steve, Andrew and Joel recognised for their commitment.
In what he called the ‘nepotistic section’ of his awards, Cllr Woodham presented an award to Torch Theatre's Andrew Sturley for his outstanding contribution to technical theatre, while his brother David was recognised for his voluntary work.
Town council clerk Moyra Galliford was also awarded for her support to the mayor.
Cllr Woodham said: “Together we have had to face a number of difficult challenges and managed to come out the other side to fight another day.
“Her advice has been sound and her support unwavering. I know she will tell me off for making this award and that she would have done it all for any mayor, well, I don’t care and as the current mayor I want to say thank you, not only from me but on behalf of the whole council for the wonderful job that you do.”
Cllr Woodham’s final award was presented to consort Colin Sharp for whom “no job has been too big and no job too small”.