Derek given award for service to Wells

October 31 2018
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A SPECIAL award has been given to Derek Cooper for his service to the local community.

Derek was one of 36 people to receive Somerset County Council community awards after being nominated for all he has done for Wells by Mayor Celia Wride.

The Wells Poppy Appeal organiser and a Wells Royal British Legion committee member for many years, Derek also volunteers with Wells Arthritis Care, helps promote Wells through the city tourism forum, and set up Wells Film Centre in 1992 with his wife June, which his family still run.

“I was very humbled to receive it and to think our mayor thought me worthy of it, especially when you heard some of the other awards in the room,” said Derek.

“The clue is in the title community because without the amazing folk at Arthritis Care and the Wells Royal British Legion and all the things I get involved in, without them what I do wouldn’t happen. We live in an amazing place, it’s alive with so many doing such good work without notice or reward. I am privileged to be part of it and they are all part of this award.”

The annual awards celebrate some of Somerset’s most respected community figures.

More than 120 people were at this year’s ceremony at Taunton Rugby Club, where award-winners were presented with a certificate by county council chairman Councillor Nigel Taylor. They also received a community service award badge and a county council tie.

Councillor Wride read out her citation for Derek at the ceremony. She said: “This nomination is in recognition of Derek’s outstanding service to the City of Wells, in growing a successful local business over 30 years, which is still thriving today.

“Derek has worked as a Community Support Officer with the Wells Chamber of Commerce and is still involved with the Wells City Tourism Forum.

“His tireless commitment to his voluntary work for the Wells Branch of the Royal British Legion and Wells Arthritis Care over the last several years until the present day, needs to be recognised. It is said that there is not an event in the city that Derek cannot be seen helping, or indeed has not organised himself, all out of the kindness of his heart and in his own time.

“Derek, you are a worthy recipient of the Chair of Somerset County Council’s Community Service Award.”

Others who received awards included Chris Jewel, Connor Roe, Josh Bratchley and John Volanthen, who were given bravery awards for helping rescue youth footballers trapped in caves in Thailand; and Peter Leighton Bright for his contribution to village life in Westbury-sub-Mendip.