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Cinema owner is Frome’s Person of the Year 2014

Ian Drew, editor of Frome Times presents the Person of the Year shield to Martina O'Connor.

Ian Drew, editor of Frome Times presents the Person of the Year shield to Martina O’Connor.

FROME’S Person of the Year 2014 vote has been won by Martina O’Connor  who owns and runs the Westway Cinema. 

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 2014, with Martina coming out ahead of six other candidates.

Martina is the proprietor of the Westway Cinema in Frome and has fought a long-standing battle to keep the cinema open in the town.

The family-run cinema was facing closure as the 35mm film they had been using since the 1980s when Dennis and Dolores O’ Connor bought the cinema became obsolete. However, Martina with the help of the community raised the £10,000 to make the cinema go digital and save an important community asset.

She is also involved in charitable fundraising events with the cinema being used to raise money for the Frome-based charity Positive Action on Cancer.

Martina said, “I am absolutely gobsmacked and overwhelmed to have won the award as I feel others are more deserving.

“I enjoy what I do and others play such a big role in the cinema and the way the community helped save it was heart-warming.

“It does mean a lot to have won the Frome Person of the Year award and I am grateful that people took the time to nominate me in the first place and then people followed it up by taking the time to vote. It really does mean so much, so thank you to everyone.

“Many people do great things in Frome and it really is a great town where the people make it special. Looking at the other nominees I just think wow, as they all do such amazing things. But I think it’s a sign of how people love the cinema and the part it plays in the life of the town.

“Thank you again to everyone that nominated and voted – it means a lot and I am honoured to win the award.”

Ian Drew, editor of the Frome Times, presented the winner’s shield last week. Ian said, “I’d like to congratulate Martina on being this year’s winner of the ‘Person of the Year’ competition. To have contributed as much as Martina has over so many years, is amazing and she deserve the award.

“The way the community rallied around to support the saving of the cinema shows its importance in the town.

“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 Tabitha Clayson, co-director of Foreground and organiser of the Frome Independent market; Martin Dimery, Frome Festival creative director; Peter Macfadyen, Frome’s mayor; Jane Norris, chair of Frome’s branch of the Royal British Legion and organiser of the town’s Remembrance parade; Terry Stewart, from Frome FM who helps many local groups and Emma Warren, the organiser of Frome’s Big Christmas Get-Together.