The nominees for Westbury’s Person of the Year 2010 competition have been compiled, and now White Horse News readers are being asked to cast their vote on who they think should be crowned the winner.
Last month, White Horse News 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.
We have drawn up a shortlist of deserving finalists, who will now go head to head for the title of Westbury’s Person of the Year 2010. The easiest way to vote for your person of the year is online at www. whitehorsenews.co.uk. Alternatively, you can fill out the form on page 19 and drop it into Westbury Heritage Centre on the High Street.
The deadline for voting is Wednesday 9th February. Here are the nominations:
Stephen Cox has lived in Westbury for over 30 years, and is a well known figure to many in the town. He runs the White Horse Karate Club and has been doing so for around 20 years. For many members, the club is not just a place to learn the sport but also to pick up many life skills such as self-confidence, discipline, working together, and achieving success. It is also known as a friendly, sociable club.
The White Horse Karate Club currently has around 45 members, both children aged 6+ and adults.
Stephen said, “It’s excellent to be nominated – obviously people like the club!
“I try and run it as a family club. We do family memberships, we try to keep the costs down. We often do a lot of fete demonstrations and charity things.
“I try to do it not to make money, but to put something back into the community.”
One of his nominators said, “Karate itself teaches so many life skills such as discipline, etiquette, manners, confidence and achievement and I personally feel that Steve has bought these attributes to so many young and old members of the local community.”
9-year-old Jamie Harper has an unusual and community minded hobby – litter picking. The Westbury schoolboy collects rubbish on his way to or from school every day, as well as while out on walks in his free time.
Jamie said, “I just really wanted to. Normally the school walk takes 20 minutes but it now takes 35-40 minutes. People always stop and say what a good job you’re doing.”
Jamie likes to be kind to the environment and also encourages his friends and family to recycle.
Jamie has been collecting regularly and enthusiastically since 2009 and, equipped with his grabber, he is adamant he will continue his efforts in the future. Now, on some occasions, others have even started to help him out!
One of his nominators said, “People are always stopping him and commenting that he is doing a great job keeping Westbury clean and tidy,” while another described him as “an asset to the town.”
Arthur Mays has been a funeral director in Westbury for some 60 years, and has been nominated for his kindness, thoughtfulness and help towards clients who are going through a difficult time.
Arthur Mays grew up in Heywood and then moved to Westbury when he married. He continues to run his own business, Arthur W. Mays, in Warminster Road. One of Arthur’s nominators described him as “a very honest outstanding man, his job to him isn’t a job. He always takes pride in everything he does, and always has your feelings at heart. He has more than helped so many people through their loss, one amazing remarkable gentleman.”
Arthur said, “You meet people when they’re at their very lowest ebb and so long as you say something kind and truthful that is right. It’s nothing special, the good Lord picks people for different jobs and it’s not everybody’s cup of tea. But that’s what I’ve done all my life, and it’s been a lovely life.”
Keith Miller is a well known figure to many in the town, having dedicated his time to a variety of causes and organisations.
Firstly, Keith was nominated for his help tutoring people with dyslexia, a skill he started to develop when he realised his own children were dyslexic. He explained, “When I began, the facilities they were given in the 1980s were more negative than positive, and I was very concerned about what was going on with their educational input.” With a background in teaching and youth work, Keith continues to offer support to dyslexic learners in the area. “All I do is help them achieve their potential and sort out the difficulties they experience.” he said.
Keith also has a passion for local history and is heavily involved with the Heritage Society. He is also a school governor at Westbury Leigh Primary School, sits on Bratton Parish Council, and previously spent 12 years as a town councillor. He continues to run the annual Transport Extravaganza, which he set up 16 years ago.
Keith said, “I’m just interested in what goes on in the town. I think Westbury – the heritage particularly – has been very much neglected and I’d like to see it cared for and promoted.”
Neil Tribick has been nominated for his strong support of the youth of Westbury, most notably for his work with Westbury Amateur Swimming Club.
Around two years ago the club was struggling for membership and the finances of the club were in a very parlous state. Neil offered to use his experience in promotion and marketing to get the club back into a healthy state, targeting how to increase membership and obtain money through grants.
Over the next 12 months the club increased its membership by about 50%, replenished its reserves and most importantly now has a stronger squad of swimmers, with plenty of younger members coming through. The club was awarded £10,000 from the Lottery for equipment, as well as a further £2,000 from the area board in two separate grants. Neil is now secretary for the club.
Now, Neil believes that it is not only the club but the town’s historic pool that depends on the club’s success. Following Wiltshire Council’s leisure reforms, Neil got involved in the campaign to Save Westbury Pool last year and is now a key member of the Westbury Leisure Alliance.
He also spent 10 years as a football coach with Westbury Youth.
Neil said, “It’s not as if I did it on my own; I organised, and other people helped.
“I think swimming is a fantastic starting point for children to get fit at a young age. The town has very little to offer the youth – there are very few places you can walk to to get healthy. I think the other thing is it’s indoors and you can go down in any weather to a controlled safe environment and we don’t have anything like that where young people – and indeed the older generation – can go. There are 80 year-olds in there and 4 year- olds learning to swim.”