Community champions are honoured at town hall event

Back, from left, David Barker, Morpeth Mayor Nic Best and Ken Irvine. Front, Ian Nelson.
Back, from left, David Barker, Morpeth Mayor Nic Best and Ken Irvine. Front, Ian Nelson.

A trio of individuals in Morpeth have been rewarded for their hard work and services to the community at an evening ceremony.

Morpeth Town Council presented the Civic Awards during its Annual Assembly last week to recognise their contribution.

Mayor Nic Best handed out the honours at Morpeth Town Hall and read out the nomination information for the three winners, which included the following:

David Barker: ‘David has been nominated for his huge personal dedication and sacrifice, influencing the health of many hundreds of Northumberland residents.

‘For almost 20 years, he has been the driving force, through massive personal efforts, of a programme of guided walking that is free to residents.

‘During this time, over 200 people have taken part in the scheme and over 60 are regularly active.

‘A major benefit of the programme is that David is fastidious in his research for the walks chosen, many of which include areas of historical interest where facts are imparted to the walkers to add a fascinating dimension.

‘David has developed a very extensive and growing catalogue of interesting routes, with a wide range of length, terrain and difficulty.’

Ken Irvine: ‘Ken has served the community with his music making and organising of events within the town. He has been an accompanist, enabler and performer.

‘Ken has been the organist at St George’s United Reformed Church for 36 years, originally as a temporary position. He has also been a member of the Mid Northumberland Chorus since it was formed 35 years ago and for the past 25 years, has been its accompanist and assistant musical director until he retired at the age of 84.

‘He introduced and organised outreach concerts that profiled the young musicians from the Wansbeck Music Festival, thus promoting their talents. These concerts raised many thousands of pounds for charities, churches and other organisations.

Ian Nelson: ‘Ian’s disabilities have never stood in his way and he is a positive, cheerful and independent character.

‘At school, he achieved bronze and silver Duke of Edinburgh awards and this set him on the path of lifelong service in the community.

‘His main role is his voluntary work with the British Heart Foundation, for which he volunteers at the Morpeth shop five days a week.

‘In 2017, he received a commendation and gold medal from the British Heart Foundations for 10 years of loyal service.

‘He takes part in collections for the Marie Curie charity and during the annual Red Cross week and he also helps with Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline and Morpeth Lions Club activities.

‘Ian is a popular figure in Morpeth, bringing out the best in people, and is always willing to help.’