The mayor of West Devon has highlighted the ‘outstanding selfless work’ of those within the community at the council’s 2023 Mayoral Awards.

Among those to win awards were a squadron leader with more than 50 years’ service, a local volunteer dedicated to conservation, a community organisation who are doing amazing work to support local families and three young shining stars who are going above and beyond within the community.

West Devon mayor, Cllr Caroline Mott presented the awards to the recipients last Tuesday (March 7).

Cllr Mott said: ‘It is great to see the wonderful examples of individuals and organisations who work hard to make an enormous difference to the community here in West Devon.

‘Congratulations to our winners, we are delighted to be able to celebrate their contributions here today.

‘The high number and calibre of nominations received, highlights just how much outstanding selfless work takes place throughout the Borough to support each other.

‘We thank all of those who took the time to nominate, it was a difficult process to choose from all the excellent examples which we received.

‘Thank you to all who go above and beyond to support the West Devon community.’

More than 58 years of service and dedication has been recognised in the Long Service Award category with the prize going to Tavistock’s squadron leader John Olver.

John has been involved with the Air Training Corps since he was 13 years of age and has served as commanding officer at 2312 Squadron on three occasions. John has worked tirelessly to provide opportunities for hundreds of young cadets as well as support the local community.

Cllr Anne Johnson, who nominated squadron leader Olver, said: ‘John’s enthusiasm to ensure the continuity of the squadron has been outstanding. Cadets’ past and present provide a continuing demonstration of the dedication and work that John has committed to them, he is held in enormous and fond respect by cadets, past cadets and staff. It was a joy to watch the growing confidence of young people during their time in the unit, under John’s continuing guidance.’

With the cost-of-living crisis affecting so many, the Merry Go Round Community Ventures CIC has been working extremely hard to support local families and are this year’s winners of the Over 18/Organisation category.

Claire Richards who nominated Merry Go Round Community Ventures CIC said: ‘Not only does this amazing organisation raise funds for 12 local primary schools, it also now offers a warm space, and community fridge and larder. The whole organisation is built on a model of compassion, environmental sustainability, reducing waste and supporting the local community as much as possible.’

Lots of care and challenging work has gone into the conservation of a local wildlife reserve supported by the dedication of the mayor’s Green Award winner, Will Walker Smith.

Will has been a long-standing active member of the Brentor Commons Association which seeks to promote conservation and improvement of the physical and natural environment for the benefit and education of the public.

Karl Cradick who nominated Will Walker Smith said: ‘This is a special local reserve with very high biodiversity. Achieving this takes an inordinate amount of time, both practically and administratively and Will has dedicated himself to every aspect of this.’

Three awards were also given out in the Under 18’s category ­­ —Jenifer Mears for her long-distance running fundraising achievements, Fraser Stainer for his fundraising efforts to support the homeless and Izzy Voaden, a young leader for the 1st Lifton Sea Scouts, who works hard to support younger children.