TWO community stalwarts each received a High Sheriff of Gloucestershire’s award for their sterling efforts on Friday, February 1.

Meryl Teague, 83, has been organiser and treasurer for Parkend Carnival for 50 years, while Chris Brown is manager of Forest Voluntary Action Forum (FVAF).

The awards, which came as a complete surprise to both of them, were presented by High Sheriff, Charles Martell.

Meryl, who moved to Parkend from Lydney 54 years ago with her husband Stanley, was presented with her award at Parkend Hall.

Mr Martell said: “I am delighted to be able to present Meryl Teague with this award because, after my invitation to open this year’s event, I learned of her long and dedicated contribution to the annual Parkend carnival.

“The funds raised are used to support local charities. The carnival is a fantastic community event and volunteer effort that draws in the entire village and wider community.

“I live in a village that has a similar population to Parkend, but there is nothing like the community involvement such as the carnival to keep the village alive.

“As guest of honour at last year’s carnival, I witnessed for myself that the people of Parkend punch far above their weight.

“Behind this event, and many others, is Meryl Teague. She has been behind Parkend Carnival for the past 50 years, in fact since the event started.”

Meryl said: “I am very honoured to be recognised in this way. This presentation also explains why my family kept asking me what was I wearing today.

“While I am shocked, it is nice to be held in such high esteem by the village.”

Meryl is also on the committee of the Over 65s Club and the Memorial Hall and is involved with many other organisations.

The High Sheriff was met by Sharon Stratford (Meryl’s daughter), Elaine Highfield and Meryl.

Around 20 people from the carnival committee, hall committee, the over 65s club and Parkend Brass Band also attended the event, alongside Forest councillor Alan Grant (UKIP, Pillowell). 

The awards are given in recognition of great and valuable services to the community, and take the form of a framed certificate and the presentation includes a china-lidded pot decorated with the High Sheriff’s insignia or a china tankard similarly decorated.

Chris Brown has played an important role in managing a sustainable future for FVAF.

He has recently been very active in establishing a Forest Youth Association (FYA) and the trustees of FVAF attended the presentation in Cinderford.

Mr Martell said: “Chris has been an energetic and enthusiastic manager of FVAF and has developed an excellent relationship with voluntary organisations and the community in the Forest.

“He puts huge efforts into funding and organising projects, which is always a challenge during a time of limited public funds.

“He played a vital and practical part in the funding, delivering and opening of Café Thirty One in Cinderford and is now playing a very important role in establishing FYA.

“Chris is a brilliant role model and the values of helping communities to help themselves that underpins his work is hugely impressive.”