SEVENTEEN people who give their time to help the community were honoured at the annual Pride of Coleford awards.

The awards, which are orgnised by Coleford Town Council and are now in their fifth year, had previously recognised the efforts of 50 people.

The awards were presented by the Mayor of Coleford, Cllr Nick Penny, at a ceremony at The Main Place on Saturday morning (November 25).

He said: “This event is my favourite event of the Civic Year – it is a time when I get to say Thank You on behalf of the Council to you, the members of our community who so freely give of your time to make a difference to the town of Coleford and the people who live, work and play in our community.

"Now in our fifth year of the Pride of Coleford Awards – we have issued a total of 50 awards to date, and I am delighted to be able to present another 17 this morning.

“That means that those receiving recognition today will be within the less than one per cent of Colefordians that we have been able to thank over the last five years.

“That really is something to be proud of.”

The winners were selected by a panel made up of Lena Maller, the community engagement lead at the Forest Council, Coalway Junior School headteacher James Barrow, Luke Edinburgh, the owner of the Baguette Stop and a previous winner and new Town Clerk Laura Schroeder.

The award winners were:

Judith Pople, a volunteer at the Great Oaks Hospice charity shop in Coleford.

Judith has been volunteering in the community for over 20 years and was an early supporter of the hospice, collecting signatures to demonstrate the community’s backing for the project.

Lucy Fall and Tony Jones, the owners of Pomegranate in St John Street have been the driving force behind the Faddle Fair, an event that they brought to Coleford, and have organised and run for the last five or so years as volunteers, bringing thousands of people into the town.

They have created the brand, organised all of the event infrastructure, selected the mix of artisan traders for each event, and ensured that the town looked fantastic to welcome visitors.

Paul Nicholls has worked tirelessly to bring a defibrillator to the Mount of Olives Church, running fundraising events to raise the money for the purchase and installation.

He went on to organise vital Heart Starter training with the Great Western Air Ambulance charity, As a paramedic for the South West Ambulance Service, Paul also volunteered his time to support the training.

The Rotary Club of the Forest of Dean works hard all year round to raise money, and to volunteer their time Through their twice-yearly Half Marathon events, they raise tens of thousands of pounds, which is then granted to support events and projects across the Forest, many of those in the Coleford area, such as their regular support for the Music Festival and Great Oaks Hospice.

Chris Brain had a vision over 15 years ago to create opportunities for local children to play football.

He has worked tirelessly, building Broadwell Youth into a thriving community, with teams at all age groups from age 4 right up to the under 18s. He has coached children, acted as chairman of the youth system, trained coaches, and given thousands of hours for the cause.

Chris has recently hung up the boots “so this seems like the perfect time for the community of Coleford to acknowledge the wonderful legacy he has selflessly left for others to nurture,” said Cllr Penny.

The dedicated team of 26 volunteers at Coleford Tourist Information Centre promote Coleford and the wider Forest to visitors and locals alike.

They willingly give up their time to share their knowledge and experiences to ensure everyone is aware of the facilities, businesses and attractions available in the area as well as recommending walks, creative activities and sports to keep everyone happy.

Madison Gingell is a martial arts black belt and encourages other students at Five Acres High School to take up the sport, volunteering three nights each week to support and teach others the skills and dedication required.

Joshua Parker is an active member of eco club and science magazine society at Five Acres High School.

He has also taken part in enterprise challenges where he set up his own business to raise money for charity. Outside of school Josh regularly helps and supports a local church with his family.

Evie Harris was another Five Acres student to undertake a business enterprise project with the school providing £10 to invest

Evie turned her parents’ kitchen into a makeshift workshop selling her own handmade Christmas decorations raising £550 for Teens in Crisis and a record for a Five Acres business enterprise project.

She then organised a Virtual London Marathon sponsored run in conjunction with Teens In Crisis, and with a number of churches around the Forest of Dean with more than 20 runners and raising more than £1,000.

Elizabeth Walsh set up a business to fund raise for the British Heart Foundation and successfully raised over £200, showing her determination and respect.

Anastasia Roberts is an active member of the student leadership team at Five Acres High and works hard to ensure that students take part and enjoy the character education programme offered at school.

She is head librarian and organises events as well as raising hundreds of pounds for the library. She is also the lead of the eco club which has been awarded Eco school status.

She has also been a mentor to other younger students who are currently below their reading age.

Ebony Powell is a young volunteer for the Forest of Dean Dog Rescue, volunteering whatever the weather and whatever the job, wherever needed and not worrying if she is getting wet or cold. She’s up early and gives up her days, evenings and time with her friends to help.

Ebony has organised some fantastic events this year raising lots of money for the charity.

Through his volunteering with the Coleford Welcomes Walkers group, Anthony Calvert, jumps in and helps out with projects around town, including repairing fences, clearing rubbish and removal of graffiti.

He also works tirelessly for Great Oaks Hospice and helps his neighbours at Kings Mead.

Pat Short and Katy Fogarty have led the Coleford Poppy Appeal for several years and without their hard work, dedication and unlimited energy, the Poppy Appeal for the Coleford Area would have suffered.

Pat and Katy notably carried on through the pandemic, and at no time did they ever consider not ensuring the Royal British Legion had a local presence in Coleford.

They are supported in their work by Katy’s husband Adam.

Andy Childs from the Tram Stop fish and chip shop goes above and beyond to support local events and sports teams around the town. For each of the main town centre events s Andy provides vouchers offering free food for all of the volunteers and crew, running into hundreds of pounds each day.

Andy is also a big supporter of the charity quizzes in The Dog House where he provides sausage and chips to raise extra money for the chosen charity each fortnight.

Les Middleton is often seen walking the verges of the town wearing a hi vis vest and carrying a bag full of litter which he has picked up.

He is affiliated to the ‘Forest Wombles’, an unofficial group of litter pickers who share posts on Facebook of their efforts to keep the Forest free of rubbish and cleaning graffiti off road signs and street furniture.

The Forest of Dean Parkrun takes place every Saturday at Five Acres.

It is entirely organised by volunteersis appreciated by visitors and residents alike.

Recently, one local completed his 250th run, an 85-year-old ran his 85th and a seven-year- old ran her first.