Calstock Parish Council has honoured community stalwarts in the parish in its second year of running Citizen of the Year awards.
At a special ceremony last Tuesday evening at the Tamar Valley Centre, followed by a Cornish spread, council chair Jim Wakem presented 91-year-old Gunnislake resident Agnes Thomas with the Citizen of the Year award for 2023 and also gave the Tamar Valley Community Bus Association committee a special award in recognition of the services they run and a donation of £10,000, which will be put towards a new bus to allow them to continue operating, in turn serving members of the community.
Agnes was given the award in recognition of the countless number of initiatives she has run or been involved with to help the community, including red cross training, hosting coffee mornings and lunches and flower arranging for local churches.
Deputy clerk for the parish council Clare Bullimore said: ‘Agnes is an extremely popular and well-known lady and we thank her very much for all her work and everything she has done for our community. She was nominated by several people; we had a council meeting where chair Cllr Wakem proposed her to win and it was completely unanimous in favour.’
Upon receipt of the award, Agnes: ‘I’ve always enjoyed what I’ve done and am continuing to do. I’m really happy to have won this.’
The Tamar Valley Community Bus provides a door-to-door transport service for those in the parish not on public transport routes, particularly the elderly who would otherwise be housebound. The bus provides for the parish’s ageing population who use the service to complete grocery shops, visit the Post Office and attend medical appointments and social events on a regular basis, relying solely on volunteers to operate.
Labelling the community bus ‘a major lifeline’, the council awarded the association £10,000 in community infrastructure levy to be put towards a new bus and thanked those who make up the association for everything they have done for the people of the parish, highlighting how their services have been invaluable in preventing isolation and loneliness.
Chair of the association committee Carol Green said: ‘What a huge difference this money will make in getting us towards the replacement bus which we desperately need. It helps us to get other grants too, as when we show that the parish council has given us this amount, it spurs other people to give us money as well.
‘It’s not only that, it’s the recognition that people appreciate the community bus for what it is. We go around the country a lot and it appears there isn’t a similar provision to the extent we have in these different areas so we’re very lucky to have it.
‘Our fear is that if the siuation arises in which we lose it because we can’t replace it, we won’t get it back again. This donation is taking us so much closer to getting a new bus.
‘I think it shows how highly regarded the bus is within the community. It’s not always an easy task to keep it going, so it’s lovely to hear how people appreciate it.’