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THE nominees for Frome Times’ Person of the Year 2015 competition have been shortlisted, and now readers are being asked to cast their vote on who they think should be crowned the winner. In our last issue, The Frome Times asked readers to nominate their ‘Person of the Year’ – somebody in the town who deserves recognition for their outstanding actions over the past year or who has had the biggest impact on life in the town. Below are the shortlisted names. You can vote by simply emailing your choice to firstname.lastname@example.org (please include your own name and address) or by filling out the form on page 5 of your newspaper and returning it to Absolutely Fabulous Costume Hire at 20 Bath Street, Frome. The deadline for voting is 5pm next Wednesday, 20th January.
Pete is perhaps best known in the town for his work as a DJ, regularly appearing at fetes for the carnival and Lions Club among others, but he is active in numerous ways in the community.
He works front of house at the Memorial Theatre, is the vice-chairman of the town’s branch of the Royal British Legion, volunteers at Frome and District Day Centre every week, is the local welfare officer for the Royal Air Force Association, a Poppy Appeal volunteer, and hosts singalongs and bingo games at residential homes in the area.
Pete said, “I’m very chuffed to have been nominated for the award. I’ve never been chosen for anything like this before so it makes me very happy! I don’t do things in search of rewards, but it’s nice in a funny sort of way to be recognised. Just the nomination is also a great way to publicise the causes like the day centre and RAFA, and let people know what help there is in the town.
“I love all the work I do and am really driven by being able to help people. To be able to work with real people who genuinely need help and be able to take their life from a negative to a positive in any way I can feels so worthwhile.”
Ruth is a bid writer for Frome charity Positive Action on Cancer (PAC) and also works as a community projects officer at Frome Town Council. Last year she was a driving force in the huge campaign to raise over £330,000 to save Whatcombe Fields from being sold to a housing developer.
Ruth has spent two years working at PAC, which last year celebrated its 21st anniversary. She has also taken an active role in the charity’s new Good Gallery which has opened on Stoney Street. As well as her two occupations Ruth, who has lived in Frome for 20 years, is also a long-standing member of Fairtrade Frome and a volunteer at the Merlin Theatre.
Ruth said, “It’s lovely to have been nominated; I feel very honoured. I also feel a sense of embarrassment because there are always lots of people doing great things in the community.
“I never get involved for things in the hope of awards or rewards, but it is very nice to be noticed! I enjoy both jobs and am passionate about getting involved with projects in the town.”
Johannes is the director and founder of Edventure Frome, which supports unemployed young adults to train themselves and work locally.
2015 was Edventure’s third year, and saw it set up the popular Share: A Library of Things in the town centre, the Roundhouse community space near Welshmill Lane, and Feast on This, an enterprise dedicated to putting on community events using food that would otherwise be wasted.
The Share shop was the first one to set up in the UK, and keeps a catalogue of useful items and tools that can be rented by the community, with the idea of removing the need for everyone to buy the same thing.
Johannes said, “I feel honoured with the nomination, especially considering how many people here in Frome would deserve it.
“Over the past three years, Edventure has instigated and supported young adults with setting up 25 community projects and were involved in creating 41 local jobs.
“Although this is a ‘person of the year’ nomination, I’d like to really shine the headlight on the amazing people from Frome – all working together to set up Edventure and all our associated projects in Frome.
“I can’t think of anything more important and rewarding than supporting young adults to build a sustainable livelihood for themselves locally, and to use their energy and passion for making a positive difference in Frome through social enterprise.”
Marjorie is a long-standing volunteer for Frome Festival, as well as secretary for Frome Society of Disabled Artists (SODA), and works with Save the Children in the area.
Having been active in the town since moving here almost 20 years ago, Marjorie has helped run the festival since it began in 2001 and now volunteers securing sponsorship and stewarding; last year’s event was the biggest ever.
Marjorie has also been heavily involved with SODA for around 16 years after volunteering to help during her work with social services.
Marjorie said, “I’m very flattered to have been nominated for the award; I’m sure there are many more people in the town more deserving.
“Although my involvements are very different I find them all very rewarding. I love getting involved with things in the town because there are a lot of people doing great things here.
“I’m originally from South Wales but Frome feels like home to me; it’s a friendly place and people are happy to stop and chat in the street. I’m very keen on the town and get cross if people criticise it!”
Jim has made the headlines for his extreme running and triathlon challenges which, while keeping himself and his loyal dog Alfredo fit and healthy, also raised nearly £3,000 for Frome charity Positive Action on Cancer in 2015.
Jim has been piling on the challenges in the past three years, during which time he has run 10km every day. In 2015 he also completed a sprint triathlon (750m swim, 20km cycle and 10km run) every day. Alongside his own challenges he set up the fitness community Kx365, which encourages people to exercise regularly.
He has also spoken in a local school and hopes to do more educational work, recently announcing his intentions to recreate Forrest Gump’s 19,000 mile three-year run across the USA, speaking on obesity and fitness in schools along the way.
Jim said, “I’m incredibly grateful to be nominated! Last year was the most stressful year of my life, time-wise at least. Cramming everything in as well as running my own business, trying to fund-raise, and have a life outside of these things, was very difficult. Being nominated for an award like this makes it all worthwhile.
“I find everything I do so rewarding. However, whilst my own challenges and fundraising are important, the most important and worthwhile thing to me personally, above all else, is to get adults and children active a little more outside each day.”
Derek has been instrumental in the Friends of Frome Hospital’s effort to install an entire network of defibrillators in the town, a project that was completed in 2015 and saw nearly 400 people attend training sessions in Frome and the nearby villages.
For 30 years he has also been chairman of the Reg Gilbert International Youth Friendship Trust (GIFT), a national charity granting bursaries to young people to experience other cultures.
Derek has also been involved with a fundraising initiative to repair the organ at Wesley Church, and has in the past been a volunteer at the Memorial Theatre, which he campaigned to save from closure.
Derek said, “I’m overwhelmed to have been nominated! I’m absolutely delighted – I like to think I do my bit to help out in the town but I’m surprised to find out I’m up for an award. It’s very flattering.
“The defibrillator project wasn’t easy but it is absolutely superb and a very important and potentially lifesaving thing to have in Frome.”
Jane Wilson has run her own hair salon, now on Beechwood Close, in Frome for 20 years, and is passionate about helping people in the area and local charities in her spare time.
Through the salon Jane has run an annual Christmas raffle to raise money for charity every year since she started the business; this year’s draw raised over £700.
In June 2015 she held her second yearly black tie ball at Frome Football Club, which raised nearly £2,000. Jane holds a number of other fundraisers including raffles and cake sales, and open garden events.
Last year she began her newest venture, a singles meeting club. The club seeks to move away from a focus on dating and instead offers like-minded local people a chance to socialise.
Jane said, “I’m taken aback to have been nominated! It’s a complete surprise. I really enjoy fundraising and I have to give credit to my clients; they’re the ones who inspire me.
“Without their help donating prizes for raffles or baking cakes for sales I wouldn’t be able to do half as much. There’s a great close-knit community spirit in the town and it’s very rewarding to be able to give something back.
“I try to support local charities such as Dorothy House, as often my family or friends will have had first hand experience of what they do, and we can see the money being put to good use.”
You can vote by simply emailing your choice to email@example.com (please include your own name and address) or by filling out the form on page 5 of your newspaper and returning it to Absolutely Fabulous Costume Hire at 20 Bath Street, Frome. The deadline for voting is 5pm next Wednesday, 20th January.