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Tony Perry is Frome’s Person of Year 2013

Ian Drew, editor of Frome Times presents the Person of the Year shield to Tony Perry.

Ian Drew, editor of Frome Times presents the Person of the Year shield to Tony Perry.

FROME’S Person of the Year 2013 is Tony Perry, who runs the local community Bridge Cafe, is a trustee of Harry’s Hydro, chair of the Frome Mencap Society and campaigner on disability issues.

Hundreds of votes were received in the competition, organised by the Frome Times to find the person who has had the most impact on life in the town during 2013, with Tony coming out ahead of eight other candidates.

Tony has lived in Frome for 27 years and has since devoted his time to working with charities that aim to help children and adults who are disadvantaged or have disabilities. He is the chair of the Frome and District Mendip Society where he runs a fortnightly club for adults with learning disabilities. He also runs joint activity events with the Frome Gateway Club which allows the members to socialise and go on trips together.

Tony campaigns on issues affecting disabled people and additionally runs a neighbourhood cafe, the Bridge Cafe which he set up ten years ago with his wife, Margaret. The cafe, staffed by volunteer members of local churches, is open three days a week and on average 60-70 people attend in order to socialise and gain help and advice. It is also an access point for the local Foodbank.

Tony is also a trustee at Harry’s Hydro centre which helps people with disabilities. They are currently raising funds to equip the building with solar panels which will make the facility more eco-friendly and will reduce running costs.

Tony also works with the Wessex Counselling Service, which helps both adults and children in psychodynamic counselling. They are currently raising funds to provide counselling for children and adolescents.

“I am very pleased but also very surprised, to have won the award,” said Tony. “I try and raise as much money as I can and do everything in my power to help those people who are disadvantaged or have disabilities.

“All the organisations that I am involved with are run by highly dedicated people who reflect the diverse and vibrant nature of Frome. The award is not just for me but very much for them as well.”

Ian Drew, editor of the Frome Times, presented the winner’s shield last week. Ian said, “I’d like to congratulate Tony on being this year’s winner of the ‘Person of the Year’ competition. All of the nominees work extremely hard for their local community and they all have reason to be proud. We hope this award helps to highlight all the fantastic work which is carried out to help make Frome such a great town.”

Other nominees were Simone Benhayon, who set up swim school; Dorothy-Anne Bryant, who organised litter picking and the weeding of the river; John Dean, chief marshal for 30 years; Jim Parsons, who raises money for locally-based charities; Charlotte Paulsson, who despite personal has tragedies has remained strong and brave; Jim Pluntkett-Cole, who ran 10k every day to raise money for charities; Lily-May Twohig, an inspiration to young people after starting her own business; and Shirley Wort, a fundraiser who has helped raise over £32,000 for CRY.