More eligible for awards

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MORE people are now eligible to receive an accolade in Morpeth Town Council’s revamped Civic Awards.

The authority has already opened up the process to the public to nominate their local heroes and heroines for the first time, as well as added some new categories and invited sponsors to get on board.

And now it has agreed that a salaried person can be given a voluntary award if they have done something above and beyond their paid role, which is also considered to be an exceptional contribution to Morpeth.

All members voted in favour of the change, apart from Coun Derek Thompson, who abstained.

Earlier in the discussion, he asked if it would still be possible for councillors to speak to the judges about the person they have nominated to explain why they put them forward.

Previously, the council awards were only presented to individuals nominated by members.

But Coun Nic Best said: “As the process has been branched out to the general public this will no longer be possible because those who aren’t councillors wouldn’t get the opportunity to speak in front of the panel.”

Council Clerk Gillian Turner said the nomination form has a large section for residents, including councillors, to write down in detail why they are putting someone forward for an award.

The honours are split into eight categories — Townsperson of Morpeth, Young Townsperson of Morpeth, Mayor’s Award, Achievement Award, Sport Award, Leisure and Culture Award, Business Award and Community Award.

Those who make the shortlist for an award will be invited to the authority’s Annual Assembly in the Town Hall on Wednesday, May 9 when the honours will be presented.

The majority of members also approved the recommendation that the council’s Communications Group, made up of five councillors, should be the judging panel for the awards.

Sponsors are also allowed to join the panel for the category they are supporting.

Nomination forms are available from the Morpeth Town Hall reception desk, the council’s website at www.morpethtowncouncil.org.uk or by calling 01670 514314. They are also available by making a request by email to Mayormtc@btconnect.com

However, submissions must be returned to the Town Hall by the end of tomorrow (Friday).