THE cream of the Morpeth community will be honoured, with nominations open for this year’s Civic Awards.
Morpeth Town Council organised the gongs for the first time last year in a revamp of the former citation awards to recognise outstanding service to the area by individuals, groups, teams and businesses.
The awards provide for recognition in all aspects of local life, with specific trophies for sport, leisure and culture, business and community work, as well as achievement and bravery and the star titles of Townsperson of Morpeth and Young Townsperson.
Members of the public are invited to make nominations for worthy candidates in each category and shortlisted finalists will be invited to the council’s Annual Assembly in May when the winners will be announced.
Town Clerk Gillian Turner said: “Morpeth has so many unsung heroes. This is your chance to recognise their many achievements.”
There are eight award categories.
The Community Award, sponsored by Heighley Gate Garden Centre, is presented to an organisation that has worked for the benefit of the community.
The Business Award, sponsored by Sanderson Arcade, aims to reward a local business that has created jobs, nurtured the skills of local residents, or invested in making Morpeth a great place to live and work. It should be a good employer, with evidence of supporting the environment and promoting equality and diversity.
The Leisure and Culture Award, sponsored by Rutherford and Co, is for a person or group who has excelled in cultural, artistic or entertainment fields, bringing cultural recognition to Morpeth.
And the Sport Award, sponsored by Schweppes Abbey Well, honours a person or team who has gained significant success or excelled in sporting achievement, bringing credit to the town.
Morpeth Lions Club sponsors the Achievement Award, which is for a person or group who has provided exceptional services and demonstrated long-term dedication as a volunteer for a charity or community group.
The Mayor’s Award is only awarded in exceptional circumstances to recognise a specific act of bravery or courage.
The Young Townsperson of Morpeth Award seeks to reward a person aged 21 or under who takes part in community or voluntary activities that benefit the area, or who regularly provides care or support to a relative or friend.
Finally, the Townsperson of Morpeth is given to someone who has made a significant contribution to the lives of Morpeth residents by showing outstanding service to the community on a voluntary basis. Last year the honour went to Alan Bell, who leads the Morpeth Flood Action Group.
Previous Achievement Award winner Tom Ridley, who last year took the prize for his work with Northumberland County Blind Association’s Bloomers Gardening Group, said: “I was extremely proud, especially receiving the award on behalf of the Reiver House gardening club.”
And coach Simon Clemitt, who saw his Under 10s Morpeth Rugby Club team take the Sport Award, said that not only does the scheme reward success, but it can inspire nominees on to even greater achievements.
“It was brilliant to be recognised outside the normal rugby environment. All of the team were on cloud nine,” he said.
“The team was spurred on to win the Land Rover Cup, which is the regional trophy for the North of England. The team is going down to Twickenham in May for the club final and they will be wearing their Morpeth strips and brandishing the Morpeth banner.
“The award just gave the team so much confidence.”
Nominations forms are available from Morpeth Town Hall, online at www.morpeth-tc.gov.uk or by email to Mayor@mor peth-tc.gov.uk
Alternatively, call 01670 514314.
They should be submitted by Saturday, March 9, and will be considered by the Civic Awards Panel, which is chaired by Morpeth Mayor Mark Horton.
The presentation evening will take place in Morpeth Town Hall on Wednesday, May 29.