Now in their 26th year this year's awards was bigger and better than ever before with lots of new categories introduced reflecting the wide breath and depth of contributions that are made on a daily basis, by many of whom go unnoticed.
About 150 or so invited guests on arrival were offered a complimentary drink and took their seats in the hall for the evening's proceedings, where the evening commenced with the incredible Didcot Rock Choir entertaining everyone with some uplifting songs. The choir were exceptionally phenomenal and opened up the event in style.
The brand new Community Awards introduced for the first time this year were the first to be presented by the Mayor, Bill Service and his Army Cadet, followed by the allotment awards and culminated in the presentation of the prestigious and final award of the night, the 'John Eldridge Award for Voluntary Service', which we are delighted Andy Baker, our very own founder, was nominated for the first time in its history.
Also present was representatives from various groups in the town that were awarded Grant Aid during the last year as a thank you for the work they do, which included us at Play2Give for running and organising this year's brand new Summer Fayre.
In total, eight awards were handed out, with 35 recognised across the board. Director and owner of James Gesner Estate Agents, James Gesner, was announced as the winner of this year's John Eldridge Award for Voluntary Service.
After the conclusion of the awards a buffet was provided for all guests to mingle and socialise.
James was awarded this year's John Elridge Award for raising over £40,000 over the past four years for charities, including the disabled children's charity, Footsteps Foundation for which he is an ambassador. James has ran various marathons, sponsored many local events and charitable events through his business and run golf days to raise funds. James's colleague Carl Davis picked up the award on James's behalf.
Andy was delighted to be nominated in with James and up against the company of fellow young Didcot volunteer Courtney Hughes, who set up the Secret Santa project by collecting gifts for the elderly and vulnerable, and Sherryl Blowfield, who has run many marathons to raise money for the Freddie Perry Foundation.
Jack Cummings, close friend of Andy, was the winner of the Sporting Achievement Award. Jack was unable to attend, so Andy was delighted to receive the award on his behalf.
Congratulations to all winners and nominees for making a positive difference to the life of the town!
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