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Who will be this year’s Person and Group of the year?

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NOMINATIONS are in for this year’s Frome Times’ Person and Group of the Year awards,  looking to celebrate the tremendous work that goes on in the town. 

This year, as well as the Person of the Year award – recognising a resident who has made a real contribution to the community in 2019 – an award will be made for the first time to a local group which has also made a real difference to the town.

“It’s been an exciting year for Frome and many individuals and groups have worked hard to improve the town, raise money for charity or helped other people, and these awards are a way to celebrate all the great work that goes on to improve our community,” said Frome Times editor, Ian Drew. “With so many people doing great things, there are some fantastic nominations and all of them deserve recognition for the excellent work they do.”

Residents in the town have sent in their nominations and the shortlist for Person of the Year is: Jason Collier, crew manager at Frome Fire Station who led a successful campaign against proposed cuts to Frome’s fire service; Katy Harris who volunteers for Fair Frome to help cook food for the ‘Food at Five’ project; Pat Mason chair of the Frome Macular Support Group; Lauren May who runs Cornpop Critter Rescue taking in unwanted animals and rehoming them; Charlotte Pidgeon, coordinator of the Frome National Childbirth Trust who launched the Baby Café to support families; and  Alison Rayner who works at Frome Community Hospital as an activities coordinator. 

The group of the year nominations are: local charity We Hear You who provide emotional support to patients, families, friends and carers who have been affected by cancer or any other life-threatening condition and Fair Frome who work in the town with those people most in need of help, and offers practical support, such as ensuring that everyone has access to food, furniture, white goods and kitchen equipment.

Group of the Year

Fair Frome

Local charity Fair Frome works in the town with those people most in need of help, and offers practical support, such as ensuring that everyone has access to food, furniture, white goods and kitchen equipment.

The charity’s food bank provides emergency food, in the form of grocery top-up parcels that contain three days’ supply of essential dried food and toiletries, for local people who are experiencing financial crisis. Their furniture bank helps people in need of items to create a home.

Its community dining events, ‘Food at Five’ and ‘Holiday Hunger’, support the community to come together to enjoy a free meal, socialise, meet new people, and learn more about healthy cooking on a budget.

Fair Frome is also known for its campaigning for greater financial, educational, social and health equality in Frome. One example is its ‘Access For All’ campaign, which has highlighted the need for better access to public buildings, cafes and restaurants around the town.

Their nomination said, “I would like to nominate Fair Frome for ‘Group of the Year’ because of all the great work they do for the community.”


Frome-based cancer counselling charity, We Hear You (WHY), works in the town and across Bath and North East Somerset, Somerset and Wiltshire, providing emotional support to patients, families, friends and carers who have been affected by cancer or any other life-threatening condition.

WHY offers a minimum of 100 counselling sessions each week across 20 locations. The charity also has specialist children’s counsellors that work in the community, including here in Frome. And they also offer online counselling via a video platform for people of 16 and over, and group counselling for adults living with and beyond cancer.

It was founded in 1994 by Jill Miller, who died last year. Its original name was ‘Positive Action on Cancer’, initially operating as a telephone helpline for women affected by breast cancer. In 1998, the service expanded to offer a counselling service, before rebranding in 2006 as WHY.

Their nomination said, “I would like to nominate WHY as an organisation, due to the amount of lives they have changed.”

Person of the Year


Jason Collier is a crew manager at Frome Fire Station. In 2019 he led a successful campaign against proposed cuts to Frome’s fire service by Devon & Somerset Fire and Rescue Service (DSFRS). 

His nomination said, “I nominate Jason for spearheading the fight to save Frome’s second fire engine during the day. He has fought tirelessly to galvanise public support for the case. Throughout this year, as well as his day job, and being a firefighter, he has spent many unpaid hours preparing presentations and fighting for the DSFRS to overturn their decision.

“Jason took his case to a Frome Town Council meeting on 26th June, with a presentation to the council offering a multitude of facts and figures to support his argument. His research was extremely thorough and highlighted some very disturbing facts and figures.

“Jason utilised social media to create public awareness, highlighting the risks to Frome, as well as personally spreading the word, and gaining support from Mendip District Council, too.

“Jason also organised a public meeting on 21st August to present the facts to local residents. He encouraged everyone there to attend the DSFRS public consultation on 29th August, making sure he was also at the event to promote local awareness.

“Frome’s population is growing at an extraordinary rate, and without the second engine during the day, Frome could have been at enormous risk, but Jason’s campaign to ‘Save Frome’s 2nd Engine’ has resulted in the town being served by two engines, both night and day. Jason’s work has served to reflect his passion for the fire service in Frome, and for keeping Frome residents safe. It’s been a tireless effort and I feel should be acknowledged. Hats off to him – I believe he would be a very worthy and deserving ‘Person of the Year!’”

Katy Harris

Katy Harris is a volunteer for Fair Frome, and helps cook food for the charity’s ‘Food at Five’ project, which offers free or reduced-cost meals for families on a low-income or receiving benefits. She also volunteers as a cook for the charity’s ‘Holiday Hunger’ project, which offers meals to children and families during the school summer holidays.

Her nomination said, “Katy leads Fair Frome’s ‘Food at Five’ project, delivering three community dining events every week with surplus supermarket food waste. This project brings the community together and makes sure that people who are on benefits/low income have a decent two-course hot meal three times a week. As well as this, she also cooks lunches in the holidays for Fair Frome’s ‘Holiday Hunger Club,’ ensuring children get a nutritious hot lunch when schools are closed.

“This year, Katy has fed over 300 people a month serving delicious, hearty food with a huge lot of love, passion and care. Along with her volunteers, she has made the project a huge community success, as well as reducing food waste in our town. We are so proud of her hard work and determination to make this project a real community achievement in Frome, we really feel she deserves this award!”

Pat Mason

Pat Mason is the chair person of the Frome Macular Support Group. The group meets every third Thursday at the Frome Medical Practice. The group offers support to people affected by vision loss and their carers.

Her nomination said, “There are about 25-30 people, some with poor sight, many blind. Pat does a wonderful job in holding the whole thing together! In addition to monthly speakers she organises trips on the canals, to the lavender farms, and fish ‘n’ chip lunches. None of this is easy with blind people.

“She also chooses and pays for all the prizes in the popular monthly raffle. Pat is not wealthy. She has great rapport with all the members and knows their individual concerns.”

Lauren May

Lauren May has been running ‘Cornpop Critter Rescue’ in Frome for over eight years. The not-for-profit centre takes in unwanted animals, and animals in need of rehabilitation from injuries. Animals are either rehomed or stay permanently with Lauren.

Her nomination said, “She has a way with all animals and has contacts if a particular skill is needed. She survives by donations and from selling eggs and equipment. She would be very well deserved of this title.”

Charlotte Pidgeon

Charlotte Pidgeon has been the coordinator for Frome’s NCT (National Childbirth Trust) branch since 2017.  She also helped to launch the Baby Café, which offers support to families; and the Frome Sling Library, which hires out slings and baby carriers  at a low cost to local families. 

Her nomination said, “Charlotte’s work has helped thousands of families in Frome and the surrounding areas.  Charlotte fulfills this role on a voluntary, unpaid basis. With two children of her own under the age of four and working part-time, what Charlotte has been able to achieve is nothing short of miraculous. For the past three years, but in 2019 particularly – Charlotte has worked and fund-raised tirelessly to keep all the NCT’s vital services running, ensuring they are accessible to all. This year saw her put on the NCT’s first pregnancy and family fair, smashing funding targets to ensure the Baby Café will continue running in 2020.

“She also improved the format of the NCT Nearly New Sales, making it easier for parents to shop. Through her fundraising efforts, the Tuesday toddler playgroup, Tiddlers, was able to purchase new play equipment and supplies. Additionally, the Newborn Baby Bundles scheme also benefited local families in need. 

“As a result of her efforts, Frome’s NCT branch is one of the most successful in the whole of the South West, punching well above its weight for a town of Frome’s size. Charlotte’s calm and determined approach to life is an inspiration, managing to reach all her goals with a smile on her face and warmth in her heart.”

Alison Rayner

Alison Rayner has worked at Frome Community Hospital for 13 years – for the past two years she has been working as the hospital’s activities coordinator.

Her nomination said, “Alison works at Frome Community Hospital as their activities coordinator, but she absolutely goes above and beyond. From pampering patients with beauty treatments, to staying on after hours to sit with patients in need of company and everything in between. 

“She helps out wherever she is needed, be it washing up, helping with personal care or ’just’ a hug, nothing is ever too much bother. She gives her heart and soul to her patients and I feel she deserves recognition for being such a special human being.”

This year, the winners will be selected by a panel of judges including Ian Drew, editor of Frome Times, mayor of Frome Mark Dorrington and last year’s Person of the Year winner, Rachel Clark. 

The winners will receive the Frome Times Person/Group Of The Year trophies.

Keep an eye out for our next issue on 29th / 30th January where the winners will be announced!

46 Responses to Who will be this year’s Person and Group of the year?

  1. Michelle Curtis

    January 15, 2020 at 7:16 pm

    How do I vote for person of the year? I’d like to vote for Lauren May.

  2. Carol White

    January 15, 2020 at 7:42 pm

    I would like to vote for Lauren May.

  3. John Smith

    January 15, 2020 at 7:47 pm

    My vote goes to Lauren May 🙂

  4. Vicki C

    January 15, 2020 at 7:50 pm

    Well deserved nomimation Alison Rayner! An unsung hero making peoples lives that little brigher!

  5. Mrs Pauline L Parr

    January 15, 2020 at 7:52 pm

    I would like to vote for Lauren may of cornpop critture rescue, she’s outstanding.

  6. Amy Decuir

    January 15, 2020 at 8:00 pm

    Lauren May!!

  7. Rach M

    January 15, 2020 at 8:05 pm

    A Vote for Lauren May

  8. vincent villano

    January 15, 2020 at 8:07 pm

    I would like to vote for lauren may corn pop critters. She does alot of amazing work to save the animals!

  9. Meg Davis

    January 15, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    My vote goes to Lauren May

  10. Sue Carpenter

    January 15, 2020 at 8:20 pm

    I’d like to vote for Lauren May. She does a fantastic job.

  11. Gemma Ginis

    January 15, 2020 at 8:23 pm

    My vote goes to Lauren May

  12. Joanna Drew

    January 15, 2020 at 8:33 pm

    My vote goes to Lauren May (and all the animals she looks after & saves).

  13. Heather

    January 15, 2020 at 8:36 pm

    Person of the year, Lauren May

  14. Gavin Hill

    January 15, 2020 at 8:37 pm

    My vote goes to Lauren May.

    You need to have a link for people to vote properly.

  15. Bradley Lewis Allen

    January 15, 2020 at 8:37 pm

    Vote for Lauren may

  16. Colette

    January 15, 2020 at 8:47 pm

    Person of the year, Lauren May

  17. Lucy

    January 15, 2020 at 9:21 pm

    I vote for Lauren May!

  18. Karen Taylor

    January 15, 2020 at 9:39 pm

    I would like to vote for Lauren May – sh absolutely deserves this for the work she does.

  19. Jay Boher

    January 15, 2020 at 9:42 pm

    I hive for Lauren my

  20. Jay Boher

    January 15, 2020 at 9:44 pm

    I vote for Lauren May

  21. Michelle

    January 15, 2020 at 9:47 pm

    I want to vote for Lauren May

  22. Melissa Black

    January 15, 2020 at 9:49 pm

    Lauren may

  23. Luanne S. Smith

    January 15, 2020 at 10:10 pm

    I’d like to vote for Lauren May. I rescue reptiles and it takes a lot to help these animals get through some of their worst times. She does it for love and pays for the vet care and everything out of her own pocket just so these animals don’t have to suffer. That’s not counting the emotional roller coaster of helping animals in need!

  24. Jess

    January 15, 2020 at 10:45 pm

    My vote goes to Lauren May

  25. Grace

    January 15, 2020 at 11:09 pm

    I vote for Lauren May

  26. Caroline Roberts

    January 15, 2020 at 11:27 pm

    My vote goes to Lauren May

  27. Niketa cloherty

    January 15, 2020 at 11:56 pm

    Lauren May well deserved 😊

  28. Rebecca Preston

    January 16, 2020 at 12:17 am

    Katy Harris is an outstanding member of the community so my vote goes to her.

  29. Rachel McPherson

    January 16, 2020 at 12:26 am

    Why is Rachel Clark not among the nominees???

  30. Janet Whiting

    January 16, 2020 at 12:49 am

    I vote for Lauren May

  31. Lauren May Williams

    January 16, 2020 at 1:30 am

    I would like to vote for Lauren May. Incredible woman, donating her life to being a saviour of the innocent with no voice.

  32. Vicky Garrett

    January 16, 2020 at 8:27 am

    My vote is for Lauren May 🙂

  33. Linda

    January 16, 2020 at 8:29 am

    Aly Rayner. An all round decent human being. She goes above a beyond her job role of Activities coordinator. She is kind, caring and thoughtful and does her best for everyone she meets.

  34. Karen Dunn

    January 16, 2020 at 9:44 am

    I vote for Lairen May, her dedication and selfless work is amazing.

  35. Jack

    January 16, 2020 at 12:23 pm

    Aly Rayner!!!

  36. Vincent Pitman

    January 16, 2020 at 12:47 pm

    Aly Rayner

  37. Stephen.P.

    January 16, 2020 at 1:42 pm

    Aly Rayner

  38. Sophie Redman

    January 16, 2020 at 1:52 pm

    I definitely vote for Lauren May. Her work to rescue, re-home and educate people about a huge range or animals is truly inspiring.

  39. Helen Pitman

    January 16, 2020 at 5:32 pm

    I would like to vote for Aly Raynor. Our Society need more people that genuinely care for the more vulnerable amongst us.

  40. Annette Pitman

    January 16, 2020 at 6:36 pm

    Alison Rayner gets my vote, I’d want someone like her around me if I were in hospital!

    Local hero x

  41. Caylee Kaitner

    January 16, 2020 at 10:42 pm

    Lauren May!!

  42. Danae

    January 16, 2020 at 10:47 pm

    Voting for Lauren may

  43. Madeleine

    January 17, 2020 at 10:06 am

    My vote is for Alison Rayner who works so hard and always goes above and beyond for the people in her care.

    My vote is for her – our local hero

  44. Heather Welling

    January 17, 2020 at 11:21 am

    I would like to vote for Aly Rayner. Outstanding lady. Goes above and beyond at frome Hospital

  45. Heather Welling

    January 17, 2020 at 11:23 am

    Aly Rayner has my vote excellent lady at frome hospital. Outstanding goes above and beyond xx

  46. Emily Edwards

    January 18, 2020 at 8:38 pm

    I think it is also worth mentioning that the amazing Pat Mason is not just running the brilliant Fome Macular Support Group but that she is doing it at the wonderful age of 78 whilst also being registered as partially sighted herself. It was after her diagnosis of macular degeneration that she decided to help others who are sight impaired. She is truly inspirational. X

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