Anniversary year for Thame Town Awards

Award winners from left: Vicky Wheeldon, John Hussey, Gill Read, Mayor of Thame Cllr Tom Wyse, Janet Shannon, Johnnie Littler. Pic Caz Wales
Award winners from left: Vicky Wheeldon, John Hussey, Gill Read, Mayor of Thame Cllr Tom Wyse, Janet Shannon, Johnnie Littler. Pic Caz Wales

Dedicated people from the community have been honoured at this year’s Thame Town Awards which mark a landmark year.

The 10th Thame Town Awards were presented at The Barns Centre with around 70 guests including this year’s winners and their guests, sponsors, members of the Town Awards panel, the Mayor of Thame, councillors and Town Council staff, on Thursday, May 3.

Many of the 54 previous winners and panel members from the past 10 years, including Pat Ruxton, Dee Bixley and Jeni Pilkington all from the first panel in 2009, were invited back to celebrate the awards’ big birthday.

The Mayor welcomed those in attendance and thanked those who took the time to make a nomination this year and the Town Awards panels who had the difficult task of choosing the winners.

This year’s sponsors were Thame Freight Services, Atalay’s Kebab Van, Thame Leisure Centre, Towersey Festival and the Town Awards Panel, who all donated a small gift for the winner in addition to their sponsorship as part of the 10th year celebrations. The Mayor thanked them for their kind support of the event.

The award winners are:

Sporting Achievement award – Vicky Wheeldon, for her involvement with Thame Hockey Club.

The first award of the evening went to Vicky, who has been heavily involved in Thame Hockey Club for 10 years, as a committee member, player, umpire, but particularly with growing the junior section. She is the first lifetime member of the club and has implemented a welcoming and safe culture for players. Her teammates described her as an inspirational, passionate individual with an infectious enthusiasm and their prized asset.

Volunteer of the Year award – Gill Read

Gill received this award as a recognition of the many organisations to which she gives her time, including the Thame Good Neighbour Scheme, Museum, Arts & Literature Festival and the Citizen’s Advice service. Her involvement with Thame Citizen’s Advice as a dedicated volunteer and supervisor spans over 20 years during which she has helped hundreds of local people who have been facing great problems in their lives. Gill adopts a straight-forward approach and was described as the stalwart of the Citizen’s Advice service in Thame.

Service with a Smile award – Dominic Mutero

Dominic was described as having an admirable work ethic by his customers – unfailingly reliable, polite and always smiling. As a newspaper-deliverer for The Chocolate Box in Thame, he completes his newspaper round in all weathers before going to college and almost never misses a round or runs late. Furthermore, he goes above and beyond expectations to help his customers where he can. Unfortunately Dominic was not able to attend the awards ceremony, but plans are being made to present Dominic with the award.

Volunteer of the Year award – Janet Shannon

The second Volunteer of the Year award of the evening went to Janet who has been involved with the Beavers Club in Thame for over 20 years. She quietly gives her time, including at evenings and weekends, to support the Beavers club, including going camping, planning meetings and attending scouting jamborees. She has shown 100% commitment and enthusiasm to ensuring the beavers have fun, respect for each other and experience the positive world of Scouting. In her nomination she was described as a truly exceptional role model.

Lifetime Achievement award – Julia Hussey

Julia lived in Thame all her life during which she gave her time to so many local causes and organisations, including Thame Museum, Barley Hill School, Royal British Legion, Thame Conservation Trust, the Barns Centre, St Mary’s Guild, Thame Housing Association, Thame Welfare Trust, Lord Williams’s Association, and Thame Hospital Appeal Fund. Her involvement with the Girl Guiding movement in Thame spanned over 50 years, where she offered invaluable support and knowledge. Current members of the Girl Guiding in Thame said they felt blessed to have had Julia as a member, treasurer and president. Julia was very much a ‘people person’ and had a unique ability to remember people and their connections. In her nomination she was described as a “patient, kind, determined and dedicated lady… who had a heart for Thame, and gave her time and wisdom abundantly to so many different causes stretching across the whole community”. Julia sadly passed away in December 2017 and her award was collected by her husband, John, and daughters.

Creative Arts Achievement award – Johnnie Littler

The final award went to Johnnie – a musician, promoter of all things music, and founder of the First Thursday Music Club and Thame Town Music Festival. Johnnie works tirelessly to spread the enjoyment of music to others; he encourages, listens and helps anyone who is interested in music, and is loved by everyone who meets him. The open mic nights at the First Thursday Music Club are always well attended and draw visitors to the town. The first town-wide music festival in 2017 was a fantastic success and a credit to the town – due entirely to his enthusiasm and vision.

The Mayor presented his Cadet, Jake Newbrook, with a certificate, and thanked him for his support during his Mayoral year. Guests enjoyed a buffet and photographs with the Mayor, followed by the cutting of the Town Awards birthday cake by the first and current chairs of the Town Awards panel.

Images from the event are available to view on the Thame Town Awards’ Facebook page and Thame Town Council’s Flickr Page.